The struggle to achieve

Anyone who has ever struggled to achieve something great knows that the journey to accomplish worthy goals is often fraught with hardship. They know that great tasks may sometimes appear improbable — or even impossible — before completed.

And, finally, they know that there is far more value in attempting great things — and learning from the experience — than there is in never trying.

“Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr

Listening to sage advice from experienced individuals who wish to help you is one thing, entertaining criticism and fear mongering from people who have little understanding of what you want to do is another.

Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.”

Refuse to engage with those who try to scare you from going after what you want in life by pointing out all of the things that could go wrong or how weird what you want to do is.

“Freedom lies in being bold.” — Robert Frost

Know that, more often than not, the people who try to deter others from going after their dreams are those who fail to have what it takes to go after their own.

If you truly believe in what you’re trying to accomplish in life, don’t be overly concerned with those who don’t.

Anyone can take the easy path, follow the crowd, or do nothing. Refuse to entertain criticism from those who do.

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Crossing paths with an idiot is not an excuse to also act like an idiot.

Excerpt from:

Crossing paths with an idiot is not an excuse to also act an idiot.

Crossing paths with an idiot is not an excuse to also act like an idiot.

How you handle yourself is your responsibility. The less you let others control your emotions, the happier you will be.

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Friends and enemies

Working through a problem with a 3rd party is one thing. Speaking badly about another person simply because you don’t like them is something else entirely.

If you wouldn’t say it to the person you’re speaking about, then perhaps it’s not the sort of thing you should be saying to someone else in their absence.

And if you’re not the kind of person who would stick up for a friend being spoken poorly of when they’re not present, then perhaps it’s time to consider what it means to be a friend.

Real friends may give each other shit — and often do — but they also don’t let others speak poorly of their friends in their absence.

Having integrity means sticking up for what you believe in even when it isn’t easy. And sometimes this means refusing to take part in conversations aimed at putting people down.

Learn to let people make up their own minds about others without trying to bond by creating a common enemy.

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A magical question

Excerpt from: Is there anything I can do to help?

"Is there anything I can do to help?" is a magical question.

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“Is there anything I can do to help?” is a magical question.

(Use it often to show you care.)

See also: Is there anything I can do to help (if so, contact me)

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Don’t attribute to intentional rudeness…

Excerpt from: The good, the bad, and the rude

dont-attribute-to-intentional-rudeness-zero-dean

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Don’t attribute to intentional rudeness what can easily be explained by a lack of self-awareness and social skills.

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Relationships & teamwork

Excerpt from: my book series

From acquaintances to best friends to married couples, all great friendships involve teamwork.

Teamwork sits alongside trust, communication, and tolerance as a building block of the best relationships.

Teamwork is not “What can I get out of this relationship?”, it’s “What can I bring to this relationship to make it better?”

Teamwork is the combined commitment to overcome obstacles. It’s support. It’s encouragement. It’s working together.

It’s rising to the challenge of bettering yourself for the benefit of the whole. It’s providing the support & encouragement necessary to help others better themselves and succeed in their endeavors.

Whether it’s providing a kind word, sincere appreciation, a listening ear, or something else entirely, never stop trying to add value to your relationships.

Never underestimate the power of teamwork.

Never stop asking, “What can I do to make this relationship better?”

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“They suck.”

Think of a group of people you don’t like.

Now realize there are people in the world who don’t like a group of people that you fall within.

Whether it’s because of your profession, the color of your skin, your cultural background or something else entirely, you are disliked by people who don’t even know you simply because you fall within a stereotype.

Think it’s fair? Probably not. They don’t know you or what motivates you, how could it be fair?

If you’ve ever been stereotyped and didn’t like it, then refuse to stereotype others no matter how accurate you think the stereotype is.

It should go without saying, but no two people are exactly alike.

Every person on the planet draws upon a unique history of life experiences that shape who they are, how they see the world, and how they act.

Refuse to rely on a generalization or oversimplification from which to judge a group of people.

Resist disrespecting and speaking badly about others just because family, friends, the media, or society considers it acceptable to paint an entire race, culture, or group of people in a negative light.

Whatever your lifestyle preferences may be, respect people enough to give others a chance to show who they are by how they act.

Some of the best friendships in the world are between people who don’t necessarily agree on everything. It is our differences from one another that help us grow and push us to see the world from a perspective other than the one we’ve grown most comfortable with.

ster·e·o·type
noun
1. a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

[This is not to say throw caution to the wind when you are in unfamiliar territory. Be cautious, be aware of your environment, and understand & respect cultural differences. This is simply to say that if you don’t like being stereotyped, don’t stereotype others.]

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“Fair and balanced”

If you have to repeatedly remind people that you’re “fair & balanced”, you probably aren’t.

Telling people of your positive attributes is far less effective than having people do the talking for you.

If you’re great at something, people will see it by what you do and the reputation you establish as a result.

Showing is far more effective than telling.

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What’s your message?

Catching people’s attention, getting exposure, or having an audience is a wasted opportunity if what one has to offer is rarely engaging, meaningful, or thought-provoking.

Don’t just say or share something because you can, have something to say and express yourself with intention.

When you communicate with a purpose other than simply filling space, your message becomes much more effective and your life more meaningful.

Whether you have an audience of one or one million, remember that how you act and what you say is your message to the world.

Be a voice. Live with intention. Lead by example.

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Losing your shit

“I get so annoyed when people…”

“If this person [performs annoying action], I’m going to respond by [acting badly]….”

Often, when we think things like this, we’re not only setting ourselves up to harbor negativity and carry unnecessary stress, we create triggers for future negative thoughts & feelings.

“I get so annoyed when people…” not only creates the expectation that we will feel annoyed when something we expect to annoy us happens, we essentially give ourselves permission — in advance — to be annoyed when it happens.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And in the worst cases, we take it a step further and use our annoyance as an excuse to behave badly.

“If customer service doesn’t give me the answer I want, I’m going to lose my shit.”

Remember, crossing paths with an idiot is not an excuse to also act like an idiot.

We often deal with situations on automatic pilot and forget that getting annoyed — or at least staying annoyed — is a choice. We don’t have to let the bad behavior of others affect us as much as we often do.

How much more effective it would be if, instead of creating a negative expectation, we created a positive one:

“The next time I encounter something that annoys me, I’m going to handle it in a positive way.”

It’s much easier to handle the negative situations we encounter in life when we expect — or better yet, train ourselves — to deal with them productively.

We certainly don’t have to let the bad behavior of others cause us to act badly or lose our shit in response.

“That guy cut me off, so I’m going to do the same to him. That’ll teach him!”

The “lessons” we often try to teach people by acting badly are often lost on them. Rarely does the recipient of bad behavior respond with, “Wow, you’re right.”

On the contrary, it often provokes more bad behavior and more negativity.

If you want to teach someone a “lesson”, be a role model and set a good example.

Don’t let the bad behavior of others be an excuse to also act badly.

You’ll know you’re on the right track when, if everyone imitated your actions, the world would be a nicer place.

Lead by example.

“Inner Peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”

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