How to Be Great and Encourage Others to Find their True Potential, Too

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” – Dale Carnegie

Sigmund Freud said that everything we do springs from two motives: the sex urge and the desire to be great. John Dewey, one of America’s most profound philosophers, phrased it a bit differently: the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important.”

I think they all have a point – most of our lives are spent trying to make a difference – whether it be impacting a child’s future (possibly our own child or maybe it’s another’s) or coming up with the latest scientific finding that can cure diseases or volunteering our time to help those less fortunate. We are all motivated by what we can bring to the table – leaving a piece of our lasting legacy so that we can ensure that we made some sort of impact during the time we had in this world.

And if we understand that – that the true motivation of almost anyone – is that they want to be great, then it’s easier to determine what others need to help them be recognized.

Successful businessperson and financier Charles Schwab once said: "I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise." So, that is what Schwab did.

But what do most average people do? The exact opposite! If they don’t like something, they’re quick to bawl out their subordinates; they love to exert their “power” to let them know you’ve screwed something up. On the other hand, if they do like something you have done, they say nothing. No praise, no compliments. Not one peep of how you have done a fantastic job, or even if you look beautiful that day. So weak!

And isn’t that sad? And de-motivating! It’s the kind of thing that will quickly send someone out the door. Why? Because this kind of behavior doesn’t feed our light or our ego. Nope – it does the exact opposite – it diminishes our talent, and frankly, who would want to provide our God-given talent to someone who doesn’t recognize it, encourage it, and feed it even more. I wouldn’t. In fact, I am quick enough to recognize that being in that kind of situation isn’t good for me, and so I have no problem walking away.

Buh-bye – you do not deserve me.

Maybe it’s ego-centric, but personally, I make it a priority to protect my ego and self-worth. There are so many wonderful people who will help you become the best version of yourself. But, in order to do that, you cannot surround yourself with those that are not strong enough to give you the recognition and the compliments you deserve.

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