One of the Most Powerful Things You Can Say

Posted by Todd Smith

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One of my favorite quotes comes from the extraordinary public speaker, Robert Cavett.  Robert said, “Three billion people on the face of the earth go to bed hungry every night, but four billion people go to bed every night hungry for a simple word of encouragement and recognition.” My heart goes out to those who are starving to be noticed, valued, and appreciated.

In yesterday’s post, I talked about the importance of recognizing and encouraging yourself because you can’t expect to be recognized or encouraged by others.  Very few people make the effort to say positive and uplifting things to others, but those who do stand out like the light of a freight train in a dark tunnel.

When you encourage others, you lift their spirits, enhance their self-confidence, and add fuel to their motivational fire. Perhaps more than anything, you give them hope and inspiration. Wow, if simple words of encouragement can do so much to enhance someone’s life, why don’t we all do more of it? How long could it take? 10 seconds?

The power of a compliment

I went fishing a couple of weeks ago with an acquaintance of mine. I really don’t know Kevin very well, as he is a friend of one of my friends.  Kevin greeted me with a huge smile and said, “The last time I went fishing with you, you said one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.”  A little surprised, I asked him what he meant.  He explained that I paid him a huge compliment when I told him how well he fought and eventually caught that 55-pound Amberjack.

Wow! I didn’t remember giving him this accolade, but he remembered! Not only did he remember, he remembered it 10 months later.  Who would have thought such a little, unintentional statement would make such a lasting impression?

Recognizing and encouraging others

While I have my theories about why most people find it difficult to pay someone a compliment or take the time to give a person some positive reinforcement, the point is that they don’t. The crazy thing is, it is something we can do in less than 10 seconds, yet has the potential to make a lasting impression.

How about taking the time to make someone’s day? Be intentional about looking for the good in others and telling them what you see. Even the people who you think don’t need to hear an encouraging word need one.  In fact, they may be the people who need to hear it the most.

Do you have a spouse or significant other who needs a few words of encouragement?

Do you have a child who aspires to win a race or be accepted to a certain college?

Perhaps your friend is down in the dumps, and a word of encouragement from you is all they need to change their mood.

Remember, what you give, you get in return.  When you begin to look for the good in others, it’s only natural they will begin to look for the good in you.

My challenge to you

When you see people working hard to reach a goal, take 10 seconds to encourage them.  If you have seen progress in their pursuit, tell them what you have observed.  Your words of encouragement may be just what they need to keep their dreams alive.

Phrases like “You’re doing a great job,” “Keep up the good work,” or “You rock!” will go a long way in making a difference in someone’s outlook.

Make sure your words communicate your genuine feelings.  While the words themselves are powerful, the feelings behind the words are what will be remembered.

Here is my double challenge to you: before going to bed tonight, will you find three people to encourage, recognize, or compliment?  Just three!  Will you do it?

If you want to see how your words can impact others, watch the award-winning film with more than 3.5 million YouTube views called Validation.  It is the BEST short film I have ever seen.  If you can’t watch it now, save this post and return to it when you have 17 minutes.  If you have children, watch it with them.

When you look for the good in others and tell them what you see, you will lift their spirits, enhance their self-image, and make a lasting impression.

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About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.

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