November 16
Those who are lifting the world
upward and onward are those who
encourage more than criticize.

Elizabeth Harrison


Today's Meditation:

The world goes on, and life goes on.  The question is, in what direction is it going?  Is it going in a way that promises a better life for those who come after us, or is it going in a negative direction?  And what is our contribution to its direction?  Our contributions, as much as we may tell ourselves they don't matter, actually are real contributions to the way the world goes, and if we want to provide a better and kinder world for our descendents, then doesn't it make sense that we should be contributing good and kind acts and words?

It's easy to see fault and to criticize.  After all, it seems to be in our nature, but my hunch is that it results more from nurture.  We learn that to make things better, the quickest and easiest route is to criticize, to shame someone else into improving what they've done.  And that type of action may have what we see as a positive short-term result, but it most certainly isn't something that works towards making our world a better place.

What do you give to those around you?  Are you a person that people tend to avoid because they know that you're going to criticize what they do, or are you a person that people look forward to seeing because they like the way you make them feel with your kind and loving words?  It is possible to get things changed using encouragement--it just takes more expertise in order to learn how to do it well.  We can't look at an awful job and compliment it, but we can look at the person who did that job and encourage him or her to do better next time.

There are people who are contributing to making this world a kinder and more caring place by sharing kind words and encouragement.  It isn't always easy to do so, of course, but when we think about the bigger picture and the type of world we hope to leave for our children, then it seems obvious that we should be doing our best to lift the world upward instead of helping to drag it down.

Questions to consider:

What kind of encouragement can you share with others today?

Why is it so much easier to criticize and point out faults?  Why do we sometimes even feel a need to do so?

Which people have helped you to advance the most--those who have focused on criticism, or those who have focused on encouragement?

For further thought:

Tell your child, your spouse, or your employee that he or she is stupid or dumb at a certain thing, has no gift for it, and is doing it all wrong, and you have destroyed almost all incentive to try to improve.  But use the opposite technique--be liberal with your encouragement, make the thing seem easy to do, let the other person know that you have faith in his or her ability to do it, that the person has an undeveloped flair for it--and that person will practice until the dawn comes in the window in order to excel.

Dale Carnegie

More on encouragement.


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