In her extraordinary book, Encouragement: How to Be and Find the Best, author Cathy Burnham Martin exudes an enthusiasm for life unmatched in other self-help books that claim to boost your spirit and world view.
This articulate narrative examines expertly the reasons why we should surround ourselves with cheerleaders — people who either “call out from the sidelines, ‘You can do it!’” Or those that “may stand quietly in front of us and look us in the eyes, as they calmly infirm, ‘You’ve got this.’”
Burnham goes on to provide a wealth of lists, tips and inspirational quotes to bolster her assertions that anyone can attain — and keep — a winning attitude.
On the flip side, she also warns against extensive association with negative individuals whom she calls “Discouragers,” who carry with them each day an abundance of negativity which they bestow freely upon anyone who is finally getting the upper hand on things.
“Discouragers see the gloom in every room, the cloud on every silver lining, and the problem in front of every solution,” Burnham reports.
Next, she marches confidently through the book, touching briefly on such vital topics as how to deal effectively with despair by quoting a no less venerable source than the Bible: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” — Proverbs 17:22
And then she follows that helpful admonition by citing the profound observation of a man who truly outlasted more opportunities for despair than most of us will ever know: Nelson Mandela, who said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
Really, the book is one remarkable observation after another — many of them Burnham’s own, bubbling up from her deep well of sincere belief that every day and every hour gives us a chance to excel, and to be, as the old advertisement used to say, “All that (we) can be.”
“Sometimes the brightest lights come out of the darkest corners,” she intones during a brief discussion on the value of not giving up.
Space limitations on this review require us to fall back on the timeworn saying that you’re just going to have to get this incredible new book and read it cover to cover in order to get the maximum impact from it.
Five-plus stars to Encouragement: How to Be and Find the Best. Get it for yourself or as a special gift to anyone who has issues with self-esteem or is dealing with hard times. It might not cure their lifelong feelings of inadequacy, or be a cure-all for their current circumstances, but it could definitely provide lifesaving inspiration and a firm footstep toward a more meaningful tomorrow.
We’ll close with this inspirational advice from someone who left a legacy befitting her quiet dedication to excellence. Marie Curie, first woman to win the Nobel Prize, said, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”