October 24
  Creativity is so delicate a flower that
praise tends to make it bloom, while
discouragement often nips it in the bud.
Any of us will put out more and better
ideas if our efforts are appreciated.

Alex F. Osborn


Today's Meditation:

While Alex's words are very true, they can't help us much if we're waiting for others to praise our creativity.  If we wait for someone else to compliment us or encourage us, we could end up waiting a very, very long time and becoming very discouraged.  That's why when I look at words like these, I think about the other people in my life and the positive effects that I can have on them.

Sometimes I find it especially difficult to be encouraging about creativity because I simply don't like something creative that someone else has done.  It may be aesthetically unpleasing to me, it may offend me, it may make be feel nauseous--whatever the reason, there are simply some creative things that I don't like, just as I don't like sushi or coconut or any number of foods.  In that case, though, it's important that I put my likes and dislikes aside and try to focus on the fact that someone has spent time and effort creating something, and I now have the choice between encouraging or discouraging.  After all, just because I don't like something doesn't mean that it isn't good.  As long as I'm aware of the choice, it becomes much, much easier.

The up side to me being encouraging is that my encouragement may contribute directly to there being more creative material in this world of ours.  Any time that someone reaches inside and takes the risk necessary to create, the world becomes richer and there is more potential in it, simply as a result of the creative work of individuals.  And I can be a part of that when I give kind words of praise for someone's creative efforts.

Questions to consider:

How do we tend to respond when we don't like something, even if we recognize the creativity and talent behind it? 

Why is praise so important for so many of us? 

What kinds of praise do you most like to hear?  Do you give that same kind of praise to others?

For further thought:

Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the
world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise
or encouragement--and we will make the goal.

Jerome P. Fleishman

More on encouragement.


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