Don’t leave your sense of worth and well-being in the hands of others.

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Excerpt from: Likability. Being liked and unliked.

If you want to reach your full potential, then you must learn to accept yourself for who you are & who you want to be and take personal responsibility for your life and how you feel.

And along the way to self-actualization, you must be prepared to be unpopular. Don’t leave your sense of worth and well-being in the hands of others.

Those who achieve greatness in life don’t let others dictate how they feel about themselves — and neither should you.

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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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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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Be an encourager

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It is far more effective to be a person who encourages others than it is to spend one’s time finding faults, criticizing, or judging people.

Not only will you feel better about yourself as a result of being a force for good, you’ll be making a positive difference in people’s lives.

Refuse to put people down. Refuse to judge those who aren’t exactly like you. Refuse to do to others what you wouldn’t like done to you.

Remember that everyone lives their lives in a way that reflects what they’ve learned from life experience.

Not everyone thinks the same. Not everyone knows what you know. Not everyone has the same level of awareness.

Help people live their lives in a positive way by encouraging more of what you’d like to see in the world.

Lift people up. Raise people’s spirits. Make friends, not enemies.

Help educate people by being a good example.

Be kind. Be encouraging. Be honest. Be tolerant.

Inspire others to live with integrity.

Lead by example.

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Taking things for granted

From your relationships with people to the environment to modern day conveniences, the things that are most often taken for granted in the world require effort and energy to simply maintain them, let alone improve them.

Take the time to think about what it would be like if the things you appreciate most in the world became scarce or went missing.

Take the time to think about what you might be taking for granted.

And then take the time to express your gratitude for these things.

Not only will it give you a greater appreciation for the things you take for granted, it’ll remind you that there are people and places in the world where those things no longer exist or never did.

And as a result, not only increase your appreciation for what you have, increase your desire to maintain or improve upon it.

There’s a saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”

Be sure you take inventory.

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Relationships 101

Excerpt from: my book series

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Never stop doing the kinds of things that made you and your partner fall in love with each other in the first place.

Many people make the mistake of no longer furthering their efforts once they achieve what they want. Only to then wonder why they lost what they had.

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Yes, learn from your mistakes, but don’t penalize your current partner for past partners offenses.

Every person you meet has different habits and a different history. The past is not the present.

Give people you meet a chance to demonstrate the type of person they are through their actions not someone else’s.

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Matters of miscommunication

Many miscommunications are perpetuated by people who fail to check that they are either being understood correctly or correctly understanding someone.

One effective means to overcome misunderstandings is to repeat back to the person what you think they said.

“If I’m understanding you correctly, what you’re saying is…”

In that way, you can make sure you’re on the same page and not wasting unnecessary time & energy — or potentially making things worse.

Many misunderstandings also happen because, rather than listen closely to what others are saying, people often use the time that others spend speaking to plan what they’re going to say next. They listen to reply, rather than listen to understand.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” — Stephen R. Covey

This is often evidenced by how often people interrupt each other.

Unless it is for the purpose of clarification, interrupting someone to steer a conversation in a different direction is not only an indication that you aren’t listening closely, it’s a sign that you think what you have to say is more important than what the speaker is saying.

While interrupting someone can be acceptable in fun and playful conversations between friends, it can be disrespectful and potentially hazardous in any exchange meant to be taken seriously.

While it’s important to be able to express yourself clearly, it’s equally, if not more important to be able to listen effectively.

There is truth in this ancient wisdom from Epictetus, the Greek Sage and Stoic philosopher:

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

We learn much more through listening carefully than we do by thinking about what we’re going to say when the person speaking stops talking.

There is great power in being a person who can listen effectively.

There’s a lot of difference between listening and hearing.” — G.K. Chesterton

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Emotional reasoning

“Emotional reasoning is a cognitive process that occurs when a person believes that what he or she is feeling is true regardless of a presented evidence.” — Wikipedia

Believe it or not, direct communication, and not making guesses or assumptions — no matter how right you think you are — is still the most reliable way to get accurate information on why someone has chosen to act (or not act) a certain way.

Leaps of logic with regard to others’ motivation are often prone to being inaccurate when one is working with only personal experience or a limited amount of information.

If you want to know the when, what, or why behind something someone did or is doing, many times all you have to do is ask.

Never underestimate the power of clear, open, honest, and direct communication as a means to establish or perpetuate long-lasting and rewarding relationships.

As it is often a lack of these things that ultimately cause relationships to fail.

Don’t fill in the blanks for things you don’t know the true answers to with negative things that you convince yourself are the truth.

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