Encouragement is the Key

By Zig Ziglar

March 30, 2008 5 min read

Mary Kay Ash once said that thousands of people have gone further than they thought they could because somebody else thought they could. What that someone else did was to offer encouragement, which is the "fuel" of hope.

The question is: How often do you give someone a word of encouragement, a verbal thank you or a simple little note that says, "I genuinely appreciate your efforts — you're doing a beautiful job"?

This little story told by Herm Albright adds this thought: "After watching a middle-aged waitress going about her business efficiently but with a smile for everyone, I decided to compliment her on her good humor. 'Well,' she said, continuing her work, 'it's like this. If you see the twinkles, you won't notice the wrinkles.'" She's right. A simple word of encouragement or a pleasant smile does inspire people to do better. Interestingly enough, however, the person doing the encouraging, whether it's in the form of a simple smile, a little note or a verbal "you're doing well," automatically feels better about life and, more importantly, about himself or herself.

The Boy Scouts teach that everyone should do a good deed every day because there is a long-term benefit that comes from being other-people oriented. One marvelous resolution all of us need to make is simply to be kind and to say or do something nice for someone every day. It could be your mate, parents, children, employees, employer or the people with whom you have any kind of interchange each day.

You will find that the more you become other-people conscious, the happier and more effective you will be. So, make it a way of life, do something nice for somebody every day, and I really will see you at the top!


Chess Might Be the Answer


Bill Hall teaches English in Harlem as a second language to kids who arrive directly from Puerto Rico, Central and South America, and Asia. These kids are faced with a new culture and a tough neighborhood, as well as parents who are as lost as they are. Bill sought an interest to bind the group together and came up with chess as a means to do this.

At the first turnout, a dozen kids ignored their friends and parents' derision and named themselves "The Royal Knights." At their first venture to the state junior high school finals in Syracuse, they placed third. Bill raised money for them to attend a national competition in California, where they finished 17th out of 109 teams.

They attracted international attention and were invited to participate in the Scholastic Chess Friendship Games in the Soviet Union. When they arrived in Moscow, their growing confidence was quickly eroded by the experience and deliberate style of their Soviet opponents, which was something they had never previously encountered. Their confidence was restored when one of the Knights broke the Soviets' spell by playing a Soviet Grand Master in his 30s to a draw in a simulation match. After that, the Knights won about half their matches. When the team members got to Leningrad for the toughest competition, they had completely regained their confidence and won one match and achieved a draw in another.

Question: What were these kids doing before Bill Hall and chess playing came into their lives? "Hanging out in the streets," said one boy who now wants to go to law school. "Taking lunch money from younger kids and a few drugs now and then," admitted another. Was there anything in their schoolbooks that made a difference? "No. Not until Mr. Hall thought we were smart," explained one to the nods of the others, "and then, we were."

The message is clear. A vote of confidence and a word of encouragement can make a difference in anyone's life. Use that approach on your kids, employees and friends, and I'll see you at the top!

To find out more about Zig Ziglar and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. Subscribe to Zig Ziglar's free e-mail newsletter through [email protected]

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