Richard J. Chandler

Composer for Performing Musicians

What is Encouragement? (Hint: It Isn’t Praise) 

Take Two+ Tuesday
A Quote, a Thought + an Enriching Link


“We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.”

– President Calvin Coolidge  More Coolidge quotes here on my website.


Thought: What is Encouragement? (Hint: It Isn’t Praise) 

Encouragement is the skill of intentionally observing the positive actions of others, followed by expressing our appreciation, sharing what we noticed. Our acts of encouragement build others’ confidence in themselves.

As Alfred Adler, the founder of Individual Psychology, pointed out, the word “encouragement” includes the word “courage.” Encouraging others is the act of bestowing courage.  

How May We Best Encourage Others?

Catch Them Doing Something Right: 

  • (Minimize catching people doing something you deem wrong.)
  • Tune in to the subtle, less apparent aspects of what they did.
  • Look for the kinds of things they might have experienced, but few people would notice.

Appreciate the Behavior, Not the Person:

  • Stop praising a person’s identity. Don’t say, “You are really smart.”
  • Instead, appreciate their accomplishment by saying, “I’m impressed with how you figured that out! What did you do to arrive at such an optimal solution?” 
  •  Finish with an expression of confidence in that person, saying, “I’m confident that your ways of figuring things out will serve you well for future problem-solving.”

Be Generous in Encouraging Others:

  • Think of yourself as a wealthy philanthropist who can easily afford to encourage all who need and deserve it.
  • We all need encouragement to feel valued!
  • Notice how good you also feel after encouraging others.

More on courage and other Adlerian ideas in my article, Adler’s & Jung’s Insights for Artistically Creating Your Life: 
More of Adler’s ideas are here on this page on my website.

+ An Artistic Link: 

An astounding arrangement and performance of this Maurice Ravel classic!


I am excited to let you know of the premier of my collection of 3 songs and an instrumental interlude, “Addiction: Songs of Struggle & Victory,” based on the poetry of McKnight artist Lawrence Schug. I will perform the saxophone parts, and Carolyn Finley will sing the songs with her husband, pianist Edward Turley. This post on my music website highlights the work.

It will be part of the Pastiche CSB-SJU faculty concert at 7:30 pm on Friday, April 1st, at the Humphrey Auditorium of St. Johns University. More information on the university website. Concert campus safety requirements here. I would be honored to have you in the audience and visit with you right after the concert.