Encouragement is. . .The Glad Game?

Who's YOUR mentor?

Who will you affirm today?

Encouragement is affirming another . . .

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Prov.25:11)

How do we affirm another?  In my last post I mentioned five key ways one can use to convey and release confidence in others. Affirmation was the first key. It is so important, I wanted to spend some time sharing a bit more about it.

Affirmation says, “I believe in you!”

To some, these four words, ‘I believe in you,’ have the power to turn their lives around. To others—they scare the bajeebies out of us! (“What if I can’t meet up to your expectations!”) Wherever you turn today, you will find men and women, girls and boys starving to hear these words expressed in one way or other! Who will say it to them?

We live in a segmented, broken world; a world where the negativity surrounds us on all sides. Broken relationships; single parent families; juvenile crime; unemployment, disease, drug and alcohol addiction. Five minutes watching your local news  will confirm this!

How can we jump out of this slush pile of negativity and into a positive mindset when it comes to others?

Without sounding Pollyannaishhow about training our minds to see life around us from a different perspective?  A perspective that focuses on: whatever is true; whatever is noble; whatever is right; whatever is pure; whatever is lovely; whatever is admirable“. . .If anything is excellent or praise worthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Affirmation is speaking these truths about someone–to their face!

“THAT is a pretty tall order, Linda,” you may be thinking! Before you run away or exit this page, I want you to know that I am not necessarily recommending that you have to play the “Glad Game” in order to shift your mindset.  But then, it might not be a bad place to begin.  Especially when it comes to looking for positive virtues mentioned above, in others. I know that this is not an easy thing to do.

What is the Glad Game?

 The Glad Game was a board game,  made popular in America during the early part of the 1900’s  by the enthusiastic readers of Eleanor Hodgeman Porter’s best-seller, “Pollyanna.” Later, the book was made in to several movies–the most famous, by the Disney filmmakers.

The Glad Game emphasized a method for coping with the vicissitudes of life such as loss, disappointment, and distress. It also proposed that one ‘look for the ‘good in people’ as versus seeing only their flaws. One famous quotation, from the book, was popularized even more coming from Pollyanna. “When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will find it.” (Abraham Lincoln)

The result of this simple little game, was a lifting of spirit, and an optimistic outlook both in the person voicing this truth, and in the one hearing it.

Such is the power of affirmation!

The power of affirmation is amazing! Studies show that affirming the good qualities of others actually increases the success rate in people. Teachers recognize that affirming children positively when they are doing something good and noble actually decreases negative behavior and causes onlookers to emulate the good commended, rather than the negative.

If this is so, then why is it so easy for most of us to focus on the negative? How hard is it to say something like,  “James, I noticed you being kind to Jeremy just now. That was really nice of you.” Rather than, “Tanner, Sit down and quit being mean to Daren! Why can’t you ever be good? ”

Affirmation infuses the recipient with courage and inspiration, and incites something in them to move toward positive action.

The truth is, it costs the giver of affirmation very little to do so. It’s simply a matter of training our minds to be attentive to the good things in another, and then to say it to them! This is a conscious decision to look for in another qualities that are wholesome, and  admirable-even if these are concealed to the average on-looker–and speaking that truth to them in an affirming manner.  Doing so releases confidence and encouragement in that one!

Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on one good compliment.” That is the value of affirmation!

In his excellent little book, The Friendship Factor, Alan Loy McGinnis has much to say about this. He tells a story about a certain man, a Mr. Charles Schwab.  Schwab was one of the first men in America to earn a million dollars a year. Apparently Mr. Schwab was a man who had learned the art of complimenting others.

As a wealthy leader in the steel industry, he was paid over $3000 a day by Mr. Dale Carnegie to run his businesses. What made him a man of such demand? It was his ability to deal with people. He had learned the fine art of encouragement through praise and affirmation. McGinnis quotes Schwab:

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among the men the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of man as criticisms from his superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a man 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.” [2]

I join Mr. Schwab in his commitment to speak words of praise and affirmation. I urge you to do so also.  Be “lavish” in your praise and affirmation  and ‘loath to find fault’  in those around you. Words have the power to bring life or death, joy or sorrow, hope or dread. What ever they are, your words have a “cumulative” effect, and if on the positive side–the benefits are long lasting.

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Prov.25:11)
Go out and speak a word of affirmation to someone today!

Thank you for taking time to read this post today. If you were blessed, share it, ‘like’ it on Facebook, or email it to a friend. If you would like to read more–click “Follow” and you will be notified each time I post another article. Take a moment and send me a comment–I’d like to know what you liked most about this post.

All God’s best to you,




[1] one who finds cause for gladness in the most difficult situations,” 1921, in allusion to Pollyanna Whittier, child heroine of U.S. novelist Eleanor Hodgman Porter’s “Pollyanna” (1913) and “Pollyanna Grows Up” (1915), noted for keeping her chin up during disasters

[2] Mr. Charles Schwab from The Friendship Factor, p.96


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