Why not you? I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday along with over 100 million other people. This is not an analysis of the game, an explanation for the unlikely winner or review of the commercials. It is about something I heard during an interview of Russell Wilson. His father used to encourage Russell to dream big! If you are waiting for something to happen magically, you will wait a long time.
Hope needs to be encouraged otherwise we do stupid things! Hope is the state which promotes the desire of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or in the world at large. If you do not have hope why would you try to do things? Can you imagine whether you endured an illness or personal pain, you expect to get over it? What if it was chronic and there were no hope? There are people who have these conditions and they can be positive.
What if your hope was to play in the NFL, NBA or MLB? You may not have the skills and talent to make that happen, but it should not prevent you from trying. I remember someone in high school who played basketball who was only 5 ft. 7 ins. who could dunk the ball. He knew he was short, but he kept working on his jumpshot until he made it. I wonder if anyone encouraged him or was it all from within. Maybe he said to himself, why not me!
There are lots of people who go against the odds every day, but never even mention it. They just find their particular passion, interest or hobby and work at it. Golf may be one of those kinds of games, which will frustrate you until you spend the time to practice it. Russell Wilson went against the odds and won big! He did not fit the typical NFL quarterback image. Why stereotype an athlete anyway? We all have the potential to be what we want to be, but many rarely make it.
I am sure there are people who may say “why not me” when they gamble in Las Vegas or play the lottery, but this not one of those instances. I remember working summers at terrible jobs that would lead nowhere. Those jobs provided spending money in college and helped me learn how to budget. It gave me much more regarding understanding people and how to motivate or encourage them. Too many people are happy with their miserable lives simply because no one encouraged them to do more.
Why it works!
I remember a student in one of my classes that responded to a little encouragement. I told him I thought he could do better and three weeks later he did. When I noticed the change, I asked him what he did. He told me I was the first person who encouraged and believed in him. It hit me like a ton of bricks! A little encouragement goes a long way to change people’s lives. I was always positive around my students, but this experience made me do more.
Success breeds more success! This small instance encouraged me to do more with my students. As a teacher, it is not enough to just present a great lesson, work hard or be available for my students. I am a substitute parent for some of my students, a role model for others and a good listener for still others. The most important role I think I play is to encourage learning by encouraging success. My students are no different than employees, children or people in general. Everyone needs encouragement so they can thrive.
Which comes first?
Can you succeed without encouragement? Of course you can! I think some people need it more than others. People who have not experienced success probably need it more than others. Remember, when you were a young child and did something funny or well, your parents said something complimentary. It was a form of encouragement. Believe it or not, there are people, who never receive that encouragement. As a parent, we use encouragement to develop good behavior or develop good habits.
3 Steps to success
- Rewards and consequences – Both children and adults react positively to rewards. It may be grades, behavior or something else. A little encouragement goes a long way to change habits or help us achieve more in our lives. If you were trying to lose weight, weight loss would encourage you to continue. Weight loss is difficult because it requires a change of habits and group encouragement like a WeightWatchers group help you succeed. Bad habits or behavior are consequences in itself. There are always negatives to continue bad behavior or habits.
- You are in charge of your future – I often hear people talk about obstacles in life that prevent them from success. Things like gender, ethnicity or poverty prevents me from success. Yet I hear and see other people who managed to overcome those things. I am not dismissing those obstacles and they may really slow down your progress, but it should not stop you. You are in charge of your future and you should do your best and see where you can achieve.
- Keep trying even when you fail – Many of my students have stopped trying because they failed so many times. Failure is devastating and you generally need some encouragement to keep trying unless you are self motivated. If you try to do something and fail, you need to try a new way and see if that works. You may even need some help along the way. Bottom line, get help and keep trying.
What keeps you motivated? Do you have your own private cheering section that gives you encouragement when you need it. Wouldn’t be nice if we all had that cheering section? Many adults never realize that it is up to them to make the kind of life worth living. Which camp are you in? Are you in the why me or why not me camp? You get to make the choice! Why not you or why not us?
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