Posted by: George E Burney | May 10, 2013

As You Make Progress, Commend Yourself!

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As you make progress as a speaker, take time to commend yourself for every improvement, regardless of how small. You’ll find this to be a satisfying way to grow as a speaker. You’ll also progress faster.

Look  At What You’ve Accomplished

Developing the ability to speak well is not very difficult. Even so, it requires sustained effort for a period of time. How can you motivate yourself sufficiently to persevere until you reach your goal? Regular recognition of what you’ve already accomplished will fuel your efforts and encourage you to continue.

Determined to succeed, we get into the habit of looking only ahead. As we do so, we see a mountain of obstacles before us. Put differently, we see the long and apparently endless road we must travel to reach our destination. That can be discouraging. What we forget to do is this: We don’t look back to see how far we’re already traveled.

How To Conquer a Mountain

I once read an article discussing the value of conquering a mountain of challenges by tackling one matter at a time. I read it “back in the day,” so the illustration used is somewhat dated. Back then, before the days of dishwashers, people washed dishes by hand. Still, it made the point very well then and still does, as far as I’m concerned.

It stated that a housewife, by washing a few dishes daily, was likely to wash a mountain of dishes during her life. That was not a huge problem in her mind, since she only washed a few at a time. On the other hand, if on one occasion, she was shown all the dishes she would wash in her entire lifetime, she would be so discouraged that she’d never start on that pile!

Take Pride in Incremental Progress

That illustrates the value of incremental progress. By progressing a little at a time, we make major gains over time. So the key is to persist, to persevere. But how do we keep ourselves going? A little commendation goes a long way!

So every so often, we should briefly glance back to see how much ground we’ve already covered. Don’t compare that to how far we still have to go. Instead, take a moment to enjoy the feeling of having made progress. It follows that if we’ve made progress, we can continue to progress, since that requires only that we continue to do what we’re already doing!

The effect will be that we’ll enjoy the journey. If we enjoy it, we’re more likely to persist. That persistence, in turn, will lead to significant progress over time.

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