Legend tells us that behind Lincoln’s life there were three dynamic words of inspiration.
Those three words were spoken to the young Lincoln as his mother was dying. Calling the boy to her, and tenderly stroking his face with her fingers, Lincoln’s mother said: “Be somebody, Abel” The inspiration of those words lifted Lincoln from a log cabin to the White House. They inspired him to think, study, grow. Years later the great man said, “All that I am or ever hope to be I owe to my angel mother!”
Three words spoken by a poor pioneer woman worked a miracle.
Each of us has the power to inspire or depress, to lift others or to push them down. We should look well to our words.
When you inspire someone you become a mental chemist.
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If you have a container of water you can change the color of the water by dropping a dye into it. At first there is no noticeable change, but as the dye in the water is increased, drop by drop, the color of the water gradually changes.
The thought-life of a person may be changed in the same way. The inspirational chemistry that we may use consists of our acts, our spoken words, our written words.
What are some of the inspirational chemical elements that we can use to inspire others?
Appreciation. Pass the praise along. Praise stimulates and results in improved work, for it increases people’s confidence. They feel that they belong, that they are on the team. Praise a child’s good marks or good behavior and watch that child improve.
Vision. Often people quit because the future is clouded. They feel there is no hope. It is as though they are trying to look in to the future through a soot-covered window. Wash the window so that they can see through its gleaming surface into the months and years ahead. Many a young person has been helped and inspired to carry on because someone has shown him or her the possibilities of the future.
Faith. Most of all we need someone to have faith in us, especially when we meet with failures and reverses. Faith is a steadying quality. When someone believes in us and in the work we are doing we are greatly strengthened. Edison was sent home from school because the teacher said he was hopeless. Years later Edison said, “I won out because my mother never for a single moment lost faith in me.”
Courage. Someone has said that beaten paths are for beaten people. People with new ideas, big plans, great ambitions, noble dreams, need someone to lift them up, cheer them on, stimulate them to dare, to wrestle with so-called impossibilities, and to win. Every new idea, from steamboats to airplanes, has met with ridicule and opposition. But someone believed in those ideas enough to urge the inventors on.
Imagination. Arousing the imagination arouses the creative powers of people. Help people to see themselves as they wish to be. Help them to visualize themselves succeeding. Help them to dream great dreams.
Patience. People need to be taught the wisdom of working and waiting. Many a person has left the dock just before his or her ship came in. Time has great power to solve problems. Counsel patience.
Love. The most wonderful inspirational chemistry we can use on another is the gift of our love and acceptance. Devoted and unquestioned love has a magic creative power. The consciousness of being loved is an uplifting, saving, healing force that causes one to go on when otherwise it would be impossible to do so. “Love,” said Emerson, “is the affirmative of affirmatives.”