A few apt words of praise, said at the right time, certainly helped me to understand and appreciate - yes, and motivate - me throughout my life. I recall an old, retired English Teacher saying to me when I was in my early thirties,
"You've got the gift, son." referring to my writing skills or, rather, my way of putting things, even though I was yet to work on my craftsmanship.
Same thing happened with my public speaking. An elderly lady running an evening class in which I was attending, praised my particular use of words in presenting, saying that "They painted pictures in the minds of your listeners," or words to that effect. That greatly encouraged my desire to excell at public speaking and storytelling.
Yes, the fire of desire needs to be there in the first place, but the little flame needs to be fanned by the winds of others in motivational praise. There is nothing like it for getting that little fire to become a roaring forest fire!