Very recently, I had an email exchange with Richard Whittaker, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine, works & conversations. I had reached out to him to seek feedback and guidance on Joylogues and also to understand if we can somehow collaborate.
Surprisingly, Richard responded. It was probably my years of struggle in Sales that made a warm response seem unexpected. But unexpected it was. His words were not just polite, they were sincere and heartfelt. This man who was under no obligation to reply to me, didn’t just reply but encouraged me to believe even more in what I have set out to do.
He wrote in one of his mails:
“The most important thing, I would think, is to continue following the path you’ve begun. Maybe at times, it’s not clear what following would mean. This, I would imagine, is a matter of your own intuition, patience and perseverance. It’s possible that new things will open up that could take you in directions you had not thought of before. I think that once one takes one step and another and another, before long things appear that one could not have thought of at the beginning. My sense is that you have begun in a very right way and to me, that’s auspicious.”
How beautiful is it that a stranger, who is not connected to me howsoever, made an effort to encourage me, and strengthened my belief in my own dreams. As I thought more about Richard’s words, I realised how important it is to speak to encourage!
Most of my life, I dwindled away this gift of words in meaningless conversations that didn’t create any real change. Conversations meant gossip, vainly discussing other people, lamenting over how tough life is and then, more of the same.
But words have the power to move mountains. Words of genuine encouragement can drive someone to change the course of history!
And that is why, we need to make a conscious effort to speak to encourage. And to me, it has two very simple parts.
- Help people DREAM. In our crazy, non-stop lives where we don’t seem to have time for anything and anyone, the biggest casualty has been our dreams. Yes, we aspire for a higher salary, better workplace, larger house and longer holidays but are those the only dreams we’re left with? Everyone and I mean everyone had dreams when we were children that might seem outrageous today when we’re in our 30s. But as children, we didn’t create boundaries for ourselves. We didn’t think that anything was out of reach and no wonder, we didn’t know depression or this spiritual black hole that we find ourselves in today! The greatest form of encouragement you can provide to someone (and yourself) is to help them dream again.
- Help people BELIEVE. Oprah says in her book, What I Know For Sure, “I mean, how amazing is it that I, a woman born and raised in Mississippi when it was an apartheid state, who grew up having to go into town even to watch TV – we certainly didn’t have one at home – am where I am today?” Our dreams don’t get killed on the battlefield. They get killed in our hearts. No external situation can take away our dream, but our own lack of self-belief always will. We stop believing in ourselves. We accept failure, learn to live with it and train our minds to perceive it as reality of life.
Let us help each other to believe again. I am telling you, going back to the tattered forgotten dreams of your childhood and picking up the pieces will be the biggest favour that you will do to yourself.
As for me, I wanted to be a superhero. And I’m still working on it 😀