It must be ok.

You saw someone standing up for something you believe in. And you didn’t like how they did it, but you saw other people cheer. So it must be OK.

So one day, while standing up for something you believe in, you go against your values by acting badly when you do it. But as badly as you act, those who agree with you still cheer. So it must be OK.

And while you were basking in the glow of being approved of by people willing to overlook your bad behavior because they agree with your message, someone else was watching and thinking, “It must be OK.”

The messenger matters

If the person representing your opinion or desired way of life is exhibiting signs of bad behavior when they do it, you can be certain that the majority of people the message is intended for will focus on the bad behavior and ignore the message.

You can cheer on the champions of your cause all you want, but if they’re not setting a good example when they represent your ideas, they’re doing more to ensure that your cause or organization will be perceived badly than they are in changing anyone’s mind.

Those who represent you aren’t doing you any favors if they’re not setting a good example when they do it. And if they’re communicating your ideas in a way that your opposition isn’t receptive to, you can be almost certain that the bad behavior is what they see, not the ideas.

Just because you agree with the message being shared doesn’t mean you should tolerate or ignore the bad behavior of the person conveying it.

More hate is not the answer

Just a reminder that not everyone you connect with is working with the same level of awareness or maturity or mindset. And certainly, no two people are working from the same set of life experiences.

Some people you encounter online seem to have such high standards that it would be nearly impossible to meet them, and yet their own personal standards are so low that the only enjoyment they get is in trying to exert their dominance over others or make other people feel bad. Some of the people you encounter beat their wives or their children. Some of them solicit prostitutes in their private life while preaching the sanctity of marriage in their public one. Some of them have weapons caches and manifestos. And some of those same people are planning what will become the next mass shooting.

Some of the people you encounter put themselves to sleep with alcohol every night. And some of them want to preach to you about how to live your life and tell you why your ideas about anything they disagree with are wrong. Some of the people you encounter will tell you who or what you should respect while simultaneously having no respect for themselves or others. Some of the people you encounter believe that the world would be better off if anyone with an opposing opinion, different skin color, or different religion didn’t exist. And even some who claim to worship a loving God are the same people who don’t hesitate to wish death upon those who don’t live their lives the same way they do.

Some of these people demand that you respect their opinion or their way of life while at no time showing any respect for your own. They will hurl insults, make threats, and say derogatory things while extolling upon the reasons why their desired way of life is better than yours.

And as much as all of these things may want you to return hate with hate, it isn’t the answer. Because hate isn’t going to solve our problems. And we can all find far better ways to deal with life’s issues than attempting to use hate as a means to fix problems and get what we want.

It should go without saying, but there are alternatives to getting angry, being hateful, and wanting to see other people suffer because they don’t believe the same things that you do. And those alternatives are likely are a far better reflection of the person you truly want to be than the person you are when you are trying to hurt people.

Your insults, no matter how witty, aren’t doing anything to advance your cause. And your nasty remarks aren’t doing you any favors either.

Your hate isn’t helping.

You can be almost certain that the path to a better future doesn’t involve saying things to other people that if other people said them to you, you’d accuse them of behaving badly.

We can do better. More hate is not the answer.

My first one star review (and a lesson on criticism)

If you’ve read Lessons Learned from The Path Less Traveled, you’ll know there’s a whole chapter devoted to dealing with criticism. It’s impossible to get through life without doing or creating something that gets criticized. That’s life. Some of the feedback you receive on your journey will be fair & given with good intentions. And some of it won’t be. That’s life, too. You can’t control what people do, but you can control how you respond to it. This includes criticism.

Learning to deal with criticism in a positive & productive way has many benefits, not least of which is it allows you to grow from it if you find truth in it or move beyond it if you don’t. Either way, it doesn’t have to have any impact on your well-being or sense of self-worth unless you choose to let it.

This 1-star review could be 100% true. In which case, my book missed its mark with this person. And there’s nothing wrong with that nor does it subtract from the value that other people find in it. Depending on the person, my book may not be worth the pages it’s printed on. And to someone else, invaluable. In writing anything, all I can do is focus on the potential value my work provides. How people respond to it is up to them.

In closing, everyone gets criticized at one time or another. If it holds truth, learn from it. If it doesn’t, it probably has more to do with the other person than it does with you. Either way, it’s a learning experience and life goes on.

Everyone wants a better future except…

Everyone wants a better future except for anyone who stands to lose something if things change. And so those who profit from the status quo will do everything in their power to resist progress and keep things as they are. This includes spending vast amounts of money to convince people that the progress they seek is impossible. Or if it is possible, it’s undesirable for some reason. Neither of which is true.

The fact is, these people & companies are only looking out for their own self-interest and bottom line and care very little about yours. They don’t want you to benefit from anything if it means that they stand to lose money, power, or influence. And so they use each of these things to fight change & progress in every way possible. Because if you win, they lose.

Thank you.

If you go out of your way to be friendly and nice to people, for no reason other than it just feels good or like the right thing to do, THANK YOU.

Even if (and when) it means people don’t always see or appreciate it, THANK YOU.

Even if your desire to help others or make them more comfortable sometimes gets you into trouble, THANK YOU.

Even if what you did was “no trouble” or “the easiest thing to do” or “any decent human being would have done it”, THANK YOU.

Even if you do these things without the need for acknowledgment, THANK YOU.

Because if you’ve done these things, you’ve touched many lives, including my own — directly or indirectly — and you deserve to be thanked whether you think you do or not.


And please carry on doing what you do, like I know you will, whether you read this or not.

You rock. THANK YOU.

How you carry on makes a difference.

If the current state of the world makes you angry, upset, fearful, or depressed, you are not alone. There are legitimately scary things happening. And while you may feel overwhelmed and like there’s nothing that you as an individual can do, understand that how you carry on makes a difference. Refuse to let others or the state of the world turn you into someone you don’t want to be.

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