It’s been a few months since I’ve posted anything on here, but I received an interesting couple of messages over the past week that really got me to thinking, and thus, prompted this post! They were messages from people I know but don’t really have much correspondence with on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis. To me, their messages were completely random and unexpected. To them, they had been thinking about sending me something for months. Their messages were basically sent to thank me for writing these posts and for the things I share on Facebook and Twitter. If you think about it, it almost seems a little silly, but in reality it’s evidence of how profound everything we do can be.
And all I was doing was living my life and being myself. Trying my hardest to make myself better every day. Doing my best to leave everyone’s day I come in contact with better for having me been a part of it.
This reminds me of part of a quote – “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Are you giving the people around you the courage to be their best?
The thing that I think too many people forget is that who you are affects EVERYONE around you. But do you ever stop to reflect on who the hell you actually are? With all your good qualities but also with all your faults? Who are you? How do you impact the people around you? For me, I am constantly evaluating how I treat other people. Could I have said or done something that would have made a more positive impact on the interactions I had with someone? Is there something about me that I need to work on? What are my best qualities? What are my worst qualities?
How can I be better so I can, in turn, make everyone around me better?
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what other people think about you – but what they think can still be used as a point of reflection about yourself. Ultimately the people who recognize you for all the good you bring to their life will appreciate it and thank you for it. For those who just want to point out all your mistakes or short-comings, well, let them suffer in their own world of self-imposed misery. As long as you can say that you did your best today, well, that’s all you can do.
As Christmas (and the holiday season for non-Christmas celebrating people) fast approaches, take a moment to think about the people who make your life better… and thank them.
I recently starting re-reading How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. You may have already noticed, it is the number one book under Recommended Readings. There’s a reason for that. It is single-handedly one of the most powerful books you could read – that is, if you apply the things contained within it.
I decided to start highlighting some of the key excerpts from the chapters. I haven’t really decided if I will continue to do this for multiple installments. If I do this is part one, if I don’t, well, go buy the book and read it yourself.
Please enjoy some thoughts about criticism and how you should handle people…
Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.
Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That is fine. I am all in favor of it. But why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others – yes, and a lot less dangerous. “Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof,” said Confucius, “when your own doorstep is unclean.”
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness. “To know all is to forgive all.”
Hope this helps you make your day great!
Growth and change, often times, doesn’t feel good. It hurts. Nothing fits into place. All the pieces that make up the puzzle of your life are a jumbled mess. You struggle to find your way. But the sooner you get used to this feeling the better because that’s how life works. When your growing and changing your life has to, in a sense, fall apart, so things can rearrange and fall back together. And you have to be willing to lose some things so you can make room to gain others.
This happens a lot in our lives. Most of the time they are small changes and small steps to becoming a better person and improving our lives but every so often there are times when this growth and change is life altering. Times where it redefines and reshapes who you are and where you’re going in life.
Having experienced what I consider two such life changing times I’ve begun to realize some really important things. Probably the most significant is that the fundamentals can make or break you. Just like professional athletes have to master the fundamentals so they have a strong foundation to build higher level skills off of, you too, need to master the fundamentals of life so you can build a solid foundation in order to achieve more or accomplish more.
When I talk about fundamentals I’m talking about low-level basics and about developing consistency in this foundational stuff. I think the basics all starts with having a great attitude. Without that I think everything else is a built on a rocky foundation and is doomed to fail eventually. So get your attitude right before trying to fix anything else in your life. Other foundational stuff includes eating right. Drinking enough water. Getting enough quality sleep. Exercising, or just being active in general, on a daily basis. Spending quality time with friends and loved ones. Being financially organized. Having quality alone time. You get the point? It’s all simple, basic stuff but it’s the stuff we start skimping on as our careers and lives get busier and more demanding. It’s also why we eventually hit a wall and have to take a vacation or why relationships fall apart or why our health deteriorates – because we’ve stopped doing all the little things right and eventually those little things add up.
I think it’s important to take a step back and reevaluate this stuff every so often. Ask yourself if what you’re doing still makes sense. And make sure that your foundation doesn’t have leaks in it.
You may define the fundamentals of your life differently than what I did above but it doesn’t matter. Whatever your fundamentals are make sure you haven’t lost sight of them. They are extremely important. Scratch that, they are beyond important, they are imperative to your long-term happiness and success.
So set aside some time to think about the fundamental pieces of your life. What are you doing great? Where are areas for improvement? Address it sooner than later – in some cases you may not get a second chance. And if you can consistently do all these little things really well you will be on the right track to setting yourself up for long-term success.
Given the recent events of Steve Jobs stepping down as CEO of Apple it would be appropriate if I highlighted one of the best speeches he ever gave – Stanford’s commencement speech in 2005. But I already did that over a year ago, so you can read it HERE. Instead I’m going to talk about the speech Bill Gates gave about 11 rules you will never learn in school.
If you want my honest opinion, Steve Job’s speech is better, so if you haven’t seen it yet you should click the above link and watch it. If you’ve already watched Jobs’ speech then continue on to read Gates’ rules – some good takeaways within.
Rule 1: Life is not fair — get used to it!
Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping — they called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
Every now and again I’ll think about the people who have the biggest impact on my life. I can guarantee that some of them don’t even realize what impact they have on me. I’ve never told them and they would probably never even suspect that I learned the things from them that I have. And that’s what is ironic to me – that often times the people who have significant impacts on our lives never even realize it. But that’s also the beauty of it as well – that the way you are could significantly impact someone’s life. Just by being you and just by living your life. That is why it is so important to always make sure that you’re striving to be your best. You never quite know when or how you are impacting the people around you. Best bet is to always be on top of your game. The way you are could give someone the strength and courage to overcome their own personal struggles.
For me, there have been a number of really important people who have taught me many lessons – from friends to family to significant others. I could share with you probably hundreds of moments that I have filed away in my mind. And while there are many people who, in being in my life, have helped me to become who I am, there are two that have impacted me in ways that words could never describe.
I very often search out the thoughts and opinions and perspectives of experienced people. The ones who have been there and done that. The ones who have been through everything I have ever felt ten times over. But the one thing I’ve learned is that sometimes you don’t need words. You don’t need opinions. You don’t need perspective. You just need a simple connection. A connection that I’ve only ever felt with two people (there really is a third but I digress). If I could explain it, I would. But it’s something you just have to experience. They are moments that make you realize that pretty much nothing you’ve ever worried about matters.
To the two little people who have taught me so much without ever saying a word… thank you.