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Friday, November 22, 2013

Charles Dickens and The Power of Encouragement

Charles Dickens
I've always been impressed by the power of encouragement—by using our words to inspire someone to believe in themselves.

About a year ago, while driving from San Francisco to Utah, I finished listening to How to Win Friends and Influence People. In that book, Dale Carnegie shares this touching story:
"In the early nineteenth century, a young man in London aspired to be a writer. But everything seemed to be against him. He had never been able to attend school more than four years. His father had been flung in jail because he couldn't pay his debts, and this young man often knew the pangs of hunger. Finally, he got a job pasting labels on bottles of blacking in a rat-infested warehouse, and he slept at night in a dismal attic room with two other boys - guttersnipes from the slums of London. He had so little confidence in his ability to write that he sneaked out and mailed his first manuscript in the dead of night so nobody would laugh at him. Story after story was refused. Finally the great day came when one was accepted. True, he wasn't paid a shilling for it, but one editor had praised him. One editor had given him recognition. He was so thrilled that he wandered aimlessly around the streets with tears rolling down his cheeks. 
"The praise, the recognition, that he received through getting one story in print, changed his whole life, for if it hadn't been for that encouragement, he might have spent his entire life working in rat-infested factories. You may have heard of that boy. His name was Charles Dickens."  
Think of how many millions of people have been inspired by Charles Dickens....but also think about the one person who inspired Charles Dickens.