Encouragement has to do with creating positive expectations. When someone receives encouragement it comes in the form of feelings that say,
You will succeed and it will be because the strength that leads to success is inside you.
Encouragement is not just making everything rosy. It is specifically directed at an individual and attributing the future success to qualities inherent in the person. It is,
I know you will succeed because you have the qualities of success.
It is not just,
You will succeed because the task is easy or because everyone succeeds.
Encouragement throws down a challenge and names the winner. This kind of personal attribution, the power of encouragement has enormous personal consequences for motivation. When it is most effective, it implies a personal pact between the encourager and the recipient of the encouragement. It forms an alliance that empowers.
Not only will it be safe, you are behind me and I am assured I have what is needed to make you proud.
The word “encouragement” (the implanting of courage), according to some scholars, comes from the Greek term that translates as “one who comes alongside us to help.” The word has something to do with the giving of hope. But it is not simply passive hope. It is hope that comes from one’s personal capacity to succeed.
Encouragement enlarges “egos.” In cultures that discourage individuality and don’t like people to stand out for individual deeds, places like China, for instance, encouragement is rare. In western cultures, people find that praise (an important element of encouragement) produces better–more motivated children. This is especially true when the praise is attached not to a limited behavior but to the personality of the child himself. Encouragement makes the world seem friendly and safe. With encouragement, people can take more risks with the expectation of success.