How and Why to Offer Words of Encouragement

You can do it. Really. You can.
Source: Chris Philpot

Encouragement. It sounds like such a small thing. Subtle. Cute. It’s what we do with timid kittens.

But encouragement isn’t cute—it’s fraught and powerful. When you’re encouraging, you’re instilling courage. That’s huge. And that’s hard. And it’s way more compelling than motivation.

Motivation doesn’t depend on circumstances. Motivation is for people who are already inclined to try to succeed.

The commencement addresses that go viral are always more encouraging than they are motivational. The speakers recognize a specific concern—like needing to get a job or facing an uncertain future—and discuss ways it can be overcome. They don’t offer some vague challenge like “surmounting an obstacle” or “seizing upon your dreams” or “surmounting your dreams by seizing upon

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