The breakfast was made, the table set and the tea was steeped when my wise teacher, The Dharma Frog, hopped onto my lily pad this morning with real gusto. "Good morning, Tadpole. Are you well today?" "Well, Sir," I replied, I'm okay I guess. I want to renovate my lily pad but I'm not much of a handyman. My friends tell me I can't do it alone, that I'll botch the job. But the truth is, I'd really like to do it myself. You, know, for the satisfaction...the feeling of accomplishment." "I get it, Irwin, and I applaud you wanting to tackle such an ambitious project. Perhaps this would make a good lesson for today. Son, be the frog who encourages. The pond already has enough critics. Wouldn't it feel good to know that your friends supported your desire to learn these new home repair skills?" "It would indeed, Sir!" "Well, then, Irwin, remember that the next time someone needs encouragement from you." And so we began my weekly lesson.
Dharma explained that life for a frog and for humans, too, can often be a lonely road. Everyone needs a little encouragement now and then, especially when making the decision to move toward their goals. Encouragement is one way we all can show our friends and loved ones that we support them as they work to better themselves or learn new things. Making decisions never comes easy for most of us. We go back and forth, carefully weighing our options and always wondering if we're doing the right thing. And all it takes from others is a couple of words of encouragement...words as simple as, "You rock!" But does giving encouragement help? Yes. And these simple gestures don't just help others, they'll help you, as well. Here are some selfish reasons for offering encouragement to others.
1. You make others feel good. And, in doing so, you feel a little better yourself. You know how amazing it feels when another human acknowledges your achievements so why not share that experience with someone else? Not only will they feel energized and perhaps empowered, but so will you. You can feel like that all day long because the opportunities to encourage others is endless.
2. You can keep their fire lit. Perhaps you know someone who's been out there shaking the bushes looking for investors or trying to drum up support for their idea and yet haven't had much success. It'd be pretty easy for them to get discouraged and give up, right? A few words of encouragement coming from anyone at that point would be so appreciated. Encouraging friends and family is always good a idea, but offering moral support and encouragement to a stranger, is even better. Those words seem to hold more meaning. True friends will encourage you even when you're at a low point. That's when it's needed most. Offer kind words to others and then watch how you feel, too. It's a pretty amazing feeling!
3. You'll make friends you'll never forget. When someone gives you encouragement when you're at your low point, that's the friend you'll never forget. Whether or not you succeed with your goal, you'll always remember those people you encouraged you to go on; to not give up, and to believe in your yourself and your dream. And who couldn't use a few more true friends? Yet another reason to offer encouragement!
4. These friends will bring you more opportunities. Okay, so you've met a few good friends who encourage you to go on. Let's say you succeed and you've made your dream come true. Who do you think your friends will recommend when someone comes to them looking for exactly what you have to offer? Whether it's a product, service, or just good advice, they'll immediately think of you! So, you not only gain a true friend, but you may also gain a business ally, How cool is that?
5. Offering encouragement keeps you motivated. When you're feeling low yourself, that is often when you can offer the most encouragement to others. it may seem kind of odd, but misery does love company. I can remember several times when I was feeling low. I found that it was easier for me to encourage others who were feeling low, too. And you know what? My words of encouragement to them made me feel better, too! So my offering encouragement to others when you yourself aren't feeling so great, has a way of lifting you both us! Which brings me to Dharma's last point.
6. It creates a ripple effect. When you offer encouragement to others, you feel better and they feel better. They, in turn, offer encouragement to someone else and, BOOM! Before you know it, the little ripple of encouragement has gone from being a ripple to a full-blown tsunami. Everyone starts feeling better and offering encouragement to others. Pretty sound more amazing things are getting accomplished and the world is a better place. And guess what? It all started with you.
So, yes, the swamp does have far too many critics. But it's easy to become the one positive voice. And offering encouragement benefits everybody. Without a few kind words, how many great ideas and innovations would be lost because others simply gave up? Your kind words might just be the catalyst for someone to invent the next Apple or write the next great novel. We all need encouragement from time to time and it's so easy to do.
After Dharma hopped away, I remembered a couple of friends who had recently lamented to me that they were having problems. I don't think I was as encouraging as I might have have been. So after I clean up my kitchen, and before I hop over to the Lily Pad Home Improvement Store, I'm going to stop off and see how my friends are doing. And to offer them the same advice that Dharma gave me. Not only can I help them do better and feel better, I can also give my own self-confidence a boost when it comes to remodeling my home.
Come on back tomorrow for another blog but, until we meet up again, I wish you all