Life can be a lonely journey at times, and especially a life aimed at success. I’ve found through talking with others, and through my own experiences, that the default reaction of most people is to ignore you when you show them that you’re moving toward your goals. Yep. Flat out ignore.
But as soon as you’ve been in a car accident or dumped at the altar, BAM! People are quick to console.
On the surface it seems like a nice thing to do although my take is slightly different. I think it’s easier to encourage someone who has stumbled, because deep down we’re probably thinking, “Man, I’m glad it happened to that guy and not me!”
With that frame of reference, it’s quite easy to be supportive. It takes a hell of a lot more energy to cheer on someone who wants more out of life than it does to pat a fallen comrade on the back and say, “You’ll get ‘em next time buddy” while secretly wearing a grin of devious delight.
I mean, look at the effort it takes. It takes acknowledging what that person is striving for, such as “I’m writing a book!”, “I’m starting a blog!”, or “I’m joining CrossFit to lose 30 pounds!” It takes fighting our own thoughts of envy or resentment (for whatever reason these come to us). And finally, it takes the time to respond with something as simple as “You rock!”
How can such a small gesture actually make a difference?
Here are 6 “selfish” reasons to encourage people who are striving for success:
1. You can make others feel good
How do you feel when someone gives you a compliment or acknowledges one of your achievements? Even if you humbly sidestep the compliment, inside you’re loving every darn minute of it. You better believe they’ll feel the same way.
And let’s face it, we also benefit from that warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that we did a good deed. You can stuff your soul with that feeling all day long. The opportunities are out there.
“The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.” – Charles Bukowski
2. You can keep their fire lit
Maybe they’ve been doing some hardcore hustlin’ over the past several months but haven’t been getting the results they had hoped for. And not only that, they’re about to call it quits! Your encouragement can be the match that keeps their fire blazing.
Sure, it’s not our job to motivate people or to hold them above water. I get that. Yet, we shouldn’t want to see people fail. You never know, you might need your candle re-lit one day.
3. You’ll make true friends that will never forget you
I recently wrote a book and during the process I came across crates of reasons to quit. Part of what got me through the low points was encouragement from others, and strangely from people I hardly knew.
I now consider them true friends and it’s because they encouraged me when I needed it most. They had no reason to. I didn’t ask, they just did it. That meant a lot to me and I’ll never forget it.
If you do the same, you won’t be forgotten either.
4. You can gain an ally that will bring you opportunities in the future
The person you help might end up being an important business ally. Who do you think they’ll recommend when someone comes to them looking for what you got? Or who might they introduce you to? You never know. It’s best just to litter the world with praise.
5. It keeps you motivated
How hard is it to stay motivated on those days when you’re asking yourself if the building floor you’re standing on is high enough to end it all? Very.
The good news is that it’s usually easier to encourage someone else on those days than it is ourselves. But by encouraging someone else, you are inadvertently bringing positive energy to yourself. Be it karma or whatever you want to call it. It lives.
Take for example a smile. Have you ever seen a baby smile? It would take a soulless sociopath to resist smiling back. That same thing can happen when a full-grown stranger shoots you a sincere smile—right after you offer them some support, that is. It’s hard to be upset when you’re smiling.
6. You create ripples in the world
The movie Pay It Forward, starring Kevin Spacey, is not so far-fetched. That person you encourage can change the world by following your lead.
Maybe you’ve seen that Liberty Mutual commercial (similar premise) where one act of kindness is witnessed by an uninvolved 3rd party. That witness later becomes the distributor, and on and on it goes. This shows us that not only does the person you encourage get inspired to help, but you also plant seeds in those who witness your actions as well.
One simple compliment can change the course of history and make the world a better place. I’m not kidding. In Kevin Spacey I trust.
“Sail beyond the horizon; fly higher than you ever thought possible; magnify your existence by helping others; be kind to people and animals of all shapes and sizes; be true to what you value most; shine your light on the world; and be the person you were born to be.” – Blake Beattie
No matter what, encourage people who are striving for success.
If you see a friend starting to go to the gym, encourage them. Are they struggling through college finals? Encourage them. Anything you say can and will be helpful in a court of life.
Perhaps in the form of a Facebook comment (this doesn’t mean just hit the lazy like button!), a text message, a phone call, an email, a handwritten letter, heck, even the prehistoric face-to-face! It can be as simple as “Good job!” It only takes you a couple of seconds, but it’s worth so much more.