How Good is Encouragement?

December 26, 2009 by
Filed under: Mentoring, Positive Attitude 

encouragement1 How Good is Encouragement?

A while ago I read a story about an elderly man who approached the famous nineteenth-century poet and artist, Dante Gabriel Ros­setti. The old fel­low had some sketches and draw­ings that he wanted Ros­setti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed poten­tial talent.

After look­ing over the first few care­fully, he knew that they were worth­less and showed no sign of artis­tic tal­ent. But Ros­setti was a kind man, and he told the elderly man as gen­tly as pos­si­ble that the pic­tures were with­out much value and showed lit­tle tal­ent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man.

The vis­i­tor was dis­ap­pointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti’s judg­ment. He then apol­o­gized for tak­ing up Rossetti’s time, but would he just look at a few more draw­ings — these done by a young art student?

Ros­setti looked over the sec­ond batch of sketches and imme­di­ately became enthu­si­as­tic over the tal­ent they revealed. “These,” he said, ” these are good. This young stu­dent has great tal­ent. He should be given every help and encour­age­ment in his career as an artist. He has a great future if he will work hard and stick to it.”

Ros­setti could see that the old fel­low was deeply moved and asked, “Who is this fine young artist?” he asked, “Your son?”

“No,” said the old man sadly. “It is me — forty years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got dis­cour­aged and gave up — too soon.”

The author of the above story is unknown, and this story has been men­tioned in many books, blogs and sem­i­nars. For me it’s a per­fect exam­ple of how much some encour­age­ment can mean to a per­son who may need it in their life. We may not always know when a per­son needs the encour­age­ment or we may not see the result of it, but giv­ing encour­age­ment may be one of the most pow­er­ful tools each of us has in pos­i­tively chang­ing our world.

A Per­son with a Gift that Was Never Opened

The above story always reminds me of some­thing that hap­pened to one of my uncles. He always wanted to learn how to play the piano. Now in his early six­ties, he noticed me play­ing piano and then gui­tar one day. He looked at me with a strange and at the same time proud look. After I was fin­ished play­ing he came over to the piano and started play­ing a lit­tle bit. His level of play­ing was more by ear and at a begin­ner level of play­ing. I asked him what was on his mind when he was watch­ing me play. His response was, “I wished I learned how to play an instru­ment at your age.”

When I saw how quickly my uncle picked up a melody and how easy it seemed to him, as a musi­cian myself I real­ized he had a nat­ural gift for play­ing music. I asked him why he never started learn­ing an instru­ment ear­lier in his life. He told me that while he was in his pre-teens and then his teens, his mother would always be telling him that he didn’t have a musi­cal ear and couldn’t pos­si­bly learn how to play an instru­ment. This dis­cour­aged my uncle so much that he accepted what he called his per­sonal “lot in life”. No one ever told him he had a nat­ural tal­ent for music. Peo­ple would see him in musi­cal instru­ment stores and in school (play­ing on the piano) and never say any­thing to him about it. At the time he was a lit­tle too shy to ask another person’s opin­ion about his musi­cal ability.

Who Would Ben­e­fit from Encouragement?

What would have hap­pened to him had some­one given him a lit­tle encouragement?

Would he have cre­ated some of the world’s favorite music? Would the elderly man in the first story have gone on to paint some of the most beau­ti­ful images peo­ple would ever see? We’ll never really know will we.

Have you ever noticed some­thing in some­one else that you believed deserved some praise?

Have you ever seen a per­son dis­cour­aged at some­thing good they are attempt­ing to accom­plished? What remarks could we share to uplift that person’s spirits?

Those who are lift­ing the world upward

and onward are those who encourage

more than crit­i­cize.” – Eliz­a­beth Harrison

We never know how much the encour­age­ment may mean to some­one else until we give it. That some­one else may be you in the future. Hey…you never know 😉 .

 How Good is Encouragement?


8 Intelligent Opinions, Leave Yours on How Good is Encouragement?

  1. Don F Perkins on Wed, 30th Dec 2009 4:41 pm
  2. Gil

    Great post. I espe­cially like how you ask ques­tions at the end to solicit more reflec­tion in your read­ers. Well done!

    Encour­age­ment is a tremen­dous pos­i­tive force and much needed today. As I am so fond of say­ing: man can live for 3 weeks with­out food, 3 days with­out water, three min­utes with­out air and 3 sec­onds with­out hope.

    May we all step up to the plate of invest­ing in oth­ers by find­ing a way to encour­age some­one today.

    Don F Perkins
    .-= Don F Perkins´s last blog ..Enhanc­ing Inter­com­mu­ni­ca­tion by Prac­tic­ing Empa­thy =-.

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. Gil Pizano on Wed, 30th Dec 2009 10:26 pm
  4. Thanks Don for the feed­back on the arti­cle! I love the sen­tence you men­tioned, “man can live for 3 weeks with­out food, 3 days with­out water, three min­utes with­out air and 3 sec­onds with­out hope.” That is a great point. It’s amaz­ing how the human mind and heart can have an affect.

    Also, glad you have a blog. I’ll be check­ing it out soon!

    Best Regards and Have a Great 2010!


    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. uberVU - social comments on Thu, 31st Dec 2009 7:07 am
  6. Social com­ments and ana­lyt­ics for this post…

    This post was men­tioned on Twit­ter by IdeatoEm­pire: How Good is Encour­age­ment?

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. Stacey K. on Sat, 27th Feb 2010 9:08 pm
  8. This is pretty cool stuff. I’m look­ing for­ward to future posts. You may want to take a look at a cou­ple of other encour­age­ment links on YouTube. There are lots of them there that you’d be inter­ested in.

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Acoustic Guitar Strap on Thu, 27th May 2010 3:45 am
  10. What I love about blogs is that they spark an idea in my brain. When that hap­pens, I really feel as I require to com­ment with the hope it may be inter­est­ing to some peo­ple. Because there are plenty of blogs and forums with many points of view, they ques­tion your com­pre­hen­sion. It is at these moments when you’ve impor­tant insignt other peo­ple may not have had, together with the blog­ger him/herself. I find myself com­ing back to to your writ­ings only because you have a num­ber of really good insights and also you have been at this a really long time, that is very inspir­ing and tells me you know your stuff. Main­tain trig­ger­ing imag­i­na­tion in other people!

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  11. zaklady bukmacherskie on Sat, 29th May 2010 7:08 am
  12. Great info, thanks for use­ful arti­cle. I’m wait­ing for more

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  13. Pamela Thestine on Wed, 22nd Sep 2010 11:21 pm
  14. Inter­est­ing point you make here. You made me think of a recent time when one of my friends could’ve used encour­age­ment like this but I didn’t real­ize it then. Now I’ll be more understanding.

    Thank you Gil for the article!

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. Aurelia Shaffer on Thu, 23rd Jun 2011 8:13 pm
  16. Great stuff! Thank you so much for shar­ing this!!!

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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