Speaking at Catalyst One Day recently Andy Stanley introduced a great axiom that says,



“whatever gets celebrated, gets repeated”


And then he added something along the lines of “think potty training . . .” to which the audience burst out laughing. But bathroom humor aside, to me this is a truly brilliant statement, because of the great lifestyle wisdom it contains in a few words.  And here’s why: in our lives as people we can never grow if we do not change.  Which means that in order for us to grow in any area of our lives we need to change.  And there in lies the dark and dreaded challenge. Why?  Because as people we hate change – and we’ll often go to great lengths to resist it or put it off.  But it gets even more challenging than that (and here’s the real kicker): sometimes as people whether in marriage, parenting, friendship, as co-workers and even as leaders, we are often called upon to be an important part of helping those around us change and grow.  And so then the next big question becomes, “how can I as a spouse, father/mother, friend, co-worker, or leader help or inspire those around me to change when I know they hate change and resist it at every turn?” And it’s here that Andy’s statement offers us hope :



“whatever gets celebrated, gets repeated”


In other words, one of the best and non-pushy ways we can encourage and even assist people in changing is to celebrate the things we want them to continue doing or the areas we want them to keep growing in.  This seemly simple axiom can spare us hours of awkward confrontations and conversations.  So that instead of awkward direct talk moments you just celebrate the little things those people are doing in the direction that they need to keep growing in.

Now back to the potty training analogy for a second, imagine a mom standing over her little toddler telling her what to do and how to do it and getting frustrated, and then compare that with a couple who gently shows their toddler how to use the potty and then erupting in celebration and adulation when their baby angel gets it even partially right.  Who would you want as a parent ? In the same way we can assist those around us to change and grow if we just celebrated their little improvements and attempts. Because not only is it true that ‘what gets celebrated, gets repeated,’ but the converse is also true: what gets ignored, does not get repeated. And your response will determine which one they choose to do.




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