Encourage proactive creative effort
Don't encourage excellence, it might be an outcome. And don't encourage plain effort, it just might not be enough.
I took this photo in May of last year (2020) in one of my springtime walks. At that time, I was planning to write a post “Do not praise excellence, praise the effort” but had not got to the rhythm of writing as I have now got into.
I have been against encouraging excellence of any kind. Excellence seems to be an outcome of “something” rather than directly achieved. At that time, my belief was that excellence came from hard work. But, thankfully, I have moved on from it. And I am glad I did not write that post. But now, I feel that “blind” effort is just not enough. And it might not lead to excellence and it might actually even be detrimental.
Most humans actions I believe are like this - reacting, reacting, reacting, reacting, reacting, reacting… the reaction triggered both from the conscious and the unconscious. I am not saying that there is no change at all, but at a macro level, it seems like static repetition.
To constantly improve, one needs to introspect and change. If so, our potential sequence of actions could be: act, introspect, change something, act, introspect, change something… and so forth.
But, if only we can bake in introspection and change before we react or act, then the sequence of our efforts could be: proact, proact, proact, proact, proact, proact, proact…
To be proactive, one needs to have a great imagination (coupled with continuous learning and practice). And imagination is one major contributor that leads to creativity. Therefore, I believe the best we could do while encouraging someone is to “Encourage the proactive creative effort” - which might lead to a positive spiral of pro-action and creativity of thriving humans. And baked into such effort is continuously learning something new and practice of such learning.
How would you go about encouraging someone? And what would you encourage one about? Keep in mind that the “someone” could be might well be you!
My past related posts:
Deming’s quote: “It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.”
Dave Snowden: “We have to both act and critically think in different ways.”