Three years ago, I decided to undertake a project just to prove that getting funding for such an endeavor is possible. That despite the growing cynicism of humanity, being recognized (be it for a small act of showing respect for another person, an interesting idea, or a new creation) is one of the best things you can give to another person.
Though the goal (10,000 Notes of Encouragement), has not changed. I did find myself turning to the notes as a way to re-channel my frustration (since I do have a part of me out in public with my writing). I couldn’t stomach the notion of allowing a cycle to perpetuate (slinging back a mean comment after being on the receiving end). So if I couldn’t be curious towards the person who dished out the negativity, at least I could be to someone else.
Here are some observations so far:
1. Not All People Want To Be Encouraged
You know how there’s this reminder about giving gifts? How you should make sure that the person on the receiving end would want such a gift?
The thing is: it’s a risk with all gifts. No matter how much you’ve researched. There is no assurance that the recipient would appreciate it.
2. Most Of The Time What People Say Reflects Who They Are
There have been instances that I haven’t been sure if I should send someone a note based on their history. I remember that sinking feeling when I came across tweets from an actor who I was impressed by (I think it would be only a matter of time before he finds the right film that would get him an Oscar nomination) that were really rude.
Usually though…I’ve noticed that if most of a person’s online content is positive…they would also respond favorably after receiving an encouraging note.
If someone came up to me and asked if they should start a project that mostly relied on finding the good in others, what would I tell them? I’m going to go with: focus on what brings you energy. Try it out for a certain amount of time, and if you find that there are people who respond as you would have hoped (or sometimes more than you dreamed) — keep going.
Because that’s what I’ve learned: it is important to keep going. Throwing those starfish back to sea. In whatever way or capacity I can.