More than a Game - July 20, 2021

racquet-ballThe next sports virtue that I would like to focus on is encouragement. Encouragement is to inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; to lend support to people and hearten them in their endeavors. The purpose is to stimulate a person to do specific deeds or exhibit certain behavior. To discourage is to oppose, dampen and depress. When things are not going well, a little discouragement goes a long way toward destroying us. On the other hand, encouragement empowers us. It is from encouragement that we build support to cultivate more patience.

Encouragement is very crucial during times of trial. It is during these times that you are most likely to become unsure of yourself, down and depressed. Encouragement builds you up. It is a source of energy and fuel to power us up. Coaches use encouragement during games, parents use it to motivate their kids and bosses use it to inspire their employees. A good encourager can get people to do many things and be excited about it in the process.

The goal of encouragement is to get the person to not focus on the trial or situation no matter how difficult it is. It seeks to get them to keep fighting and to never surrender or quit. Encouragement is motivation, stimulation and inspiration.

Encouragement always focuses on the positive. Discouragement always focuses on the negative. Discouraged individuals can’t see the good in situations and constantly find the bad. They will search and search until they find something bad to focus on. They become a self-fulfilling prophecy of defeat. When the inevitable happens, they say, “See I told you so.” They almost hope something bad happens so they can say those favorite words, “I knew it wouldn’t work.” Negative people lack determination and creativity.

Encouragement says the best is yet to come. It inspires us. Encouragement produces hope that becomes a shelter in times of trial. It lets you to see the opportunity in the trial. To a positive person, problems are not threats, but rather, opportunities. They see the potential in the situation and want others to see it, too.

One of the keys to being a good encourager is this little rule: “Give four positive comments to every one criticism we tell.” Encouragers grab the energy from the good and focus on it. To be an encourager you must have a short memory. You must determine to forget the bad of the past while focusing on the potential good in the future. Discouragers, on the other hand, deplete energy and focus on the bad. They key on this bad and the harm it has done or could do. Encouragers choose to focus on the good and learn from the bad.

We can be a good encourager of others, but this doesn’t make us a good encourager to ourselves. Good encouragers practice what they preach. We must be an encourager to ourselves as well as others.

Once we exhibit encouragement, others will soon follow suit. This world needs more encouragers. The power of encouragement can’t be overestimated.