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Positive Reinforcement: How to Make a Difference in Someone Else’s Life

Encouragement makes a world of difference in people’s everyday lives. If you want to know how to make a difference in someone else’s life, look within and treat others the way you want to be treated.

Make Someone Smile Today with Positive Reinforcement

Have you ever gone an entire day with nothing but criticism and negative feedback, taking away from your hard work? It’s not a good feeling. At least for me, I like my effort to be acknowledged and appreciated. Most, if not all people like this feeling. It boosts their morale for the rest of the day.

thumbs up girl

If you want to know how to make a difference in someone else’s life, consider using more positive reinforcement in your interactions. In my opinion, it’s the easiest and most effective way to contribute something positive in the world. A little bit of encouragement goes a long way.

Instead of Taking Away from People, Decide Now to Start Giving Something Positive and Make a Lasting Change in the World Around You

Positive reinforcement is simply encouragement. You are reinforcing their positive behavior, thus encouraging them to continue that behavior.

How to Make a Difference Using Positivity

Encouraging others not only benefits their self-esteem, but validates their correct behavior and also modifies their incorrect behavior. Positive reinforcement is a beautiful concept. It’s something I wish society would incorporate more of in their daily lives. It’s especially motivating when someone is looking stressed or is having a bad day.
Put a smile on your face and say a few words of encouragement to get them through the day. That’s how to make a difference in someone’s life in a big way.

flying girl
Examples of Positive Reinforcement

Here is a little something to attain a working grasp of what positive reinforcement is by example.


Sally is struggling with her homework. She is stressed about tomorrow’s big exam and says she’s not prepared. You tell her, “Hang in there! You can do it!”


Your boss tells you that you did a good job on your report last week. He sees you have been working hard recently and appreciates your effort.


Your dog has learned a new trick. You toss him a treat.

Rewards are More Effective than Punishments

Instead of using encouragement only to reward positive behavior, consider also using it when someone is behaving negatively. I remember reading an interesting article a while ago. It was about an African tribe. When a member of their tribe was caught in acts such as stealing or physical violence, the tribe gathered together.

dog high five

They did not punish the perpetrator. Instead they placed that person in the center of the circle and they all talked to each other about all the good things he/she has done for the tribe. Often the person in the center breaks down in tears, vowing to never make that mistake again. I believe the rest of the world could learn from this tribe’s example on how to make a difference by using love instead of negativity.

Timing is Everything

Don’t wait to tell someone something they have done well. Tell them while they are doing it, or the moment you notice. If you want them to keep doing a good job, you must let them know as soon as possible.

Make Rewards Modest and Infrequent

Instead of getting the whole Barbie set for your little sister, get her one doll or accessory. Keep her motivated to continue her good behavior by leaving her wanting more. And instead of rewarding regularly, make it unpredictable. Of course, buy a present for someone on their birthday, but also give them other small rewards throughout the year randomly just to show them that you appreciate them.

How to Make a Difference at Work, at Home, with Friends, and in Your Relationship

What separates a good leader from an average one? What keeps the foundation of any team strong? What keeps friends loyal and relationships worthwhile?

working girl at desk

People require validation of their positive behavior to know that what they are doing is the right thing. Positive reinforcement is a simple social skill that should never be taken for granted.

Effective Leadership Qualities

Whether you want to be a teacher, mentor, or a leader of some sort, you must learn to use positive reinforcement effectively to get people to listen to you. Even something as simple as an occasional “good job”, or a “that’s right!” will keep them motivated to learn from you. Leading with compassion and understanding is more effective than leading with fear and control. The best leaders in the world were the ones that were loved.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Working together is how things get done. Those that can effectively work in groups are more attractive prospects for jobs and relationships. Compromise and encouragement are the keys to working alongside other people. You must always place yourself and your productivity as the top priority. However, remember to keep others working just as hard as you with some well-placed words of encouragement.

Be a Fierce Friend and Lover

Keep your friends at your side by telling them they made the right decision, or that they are right about something, or that they can do anything they set their mind to. In your relationship, offer words of encouragement every day to let him know that you care.
Essential relationship rules dictate that positive reinforcement is not a requirement for a successful couple, but it sure doesn’t hurt to pick him up when he’s down.

Effective Ways to Criticize

If you must criticize someone, use constructive criticism only. Constructive criticism is offering suggestions to help someone improve themselves. Discouraging someone by pointing out their mistakes doesn’t help improve people in the way that positive reinforcement does. People don’t want to hear about their flaws all the time. People don’t want to constantly hear about ways they should change. If they do something right, tell them. Politely offer a suggestion for improvement if they don’t do something right.

girl being criticized

Criticism should be used sparingly. If it doesn’t help anybody in any way, keep it to yourself. Too much negative feedback with no positive feedback will create resentment between people. Eventually they will just start to tune out your advice if a comment coming along with it is always negative. However, if you know how to make a difference in a conversation by incorporating positive feedback, you will get the results you desire. Positive reinforcement is a win-win situation.

By Kacia Nall

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