The moment you are certain that you know the one and only way…

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One’s perception of the world is a reflection of one’s beliefs. What what believes to be true is sometimes discovered not to be.

Harboring the belief “I could be wrong” is not only the sign of an open mind, it’s far more conducive to triggering personal growth than “I’m right.” or “This is the one and only way.”

Rather than close the door to additional information, it keeps one’s mind open to additional knowledge and experiences that could impact one’s belief system.

One’s mind is rarely receptive to things it thinks it already knows the answer to.

“I could be wrong” is far more beneficial to one’s belief system than “I’m absolutely right without question.”

Remaining open to new information, new experiences, and new beliefs is essential to personal growth.

You don’t grow in response to what you already know.

The moment you are certain that you know the one and only way is the moment you leave no room to learn that you’re wrong (even if you’re right).

Keep an open mind.

“It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning.” — Claude Bernard

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Thematically based on a phrase originally published on: Nov 1, 2013 @ 21:05

Love. Not fear.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Refuse to let a non-stop cycle of negativity and bad news divert your attention from all the good in the world.

Remember your friends. Your family. And the kindness of strangers.

Make note of those doing good, acting selflessly, or going out of their way to make a positive difference in other people’s lives.

The world is not just war, hate, and conflict. It’s not just people only looking out for their own best interest at the expense of anyone who crosses their paths.

Refuse to be manipulated into thinking the world is mostly made up of people seeking conflict. Because it’s not.

The answer to the world’s problems is not less love. It’s more.

Look for and be the good in the world.

Spread light, not darkness.

Love. Not fear.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” — Lao Tzu

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We’re in this together

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“I don’t know how to save the world. I don’t have the answers or The Answer. I hold no secret knowledge as to how to fix the mistakes of generations past and present. I only know that without compassion and respect for all of Earth’s inhabitants, none of us will survive—nor will we deserve to.” — Leonard Peltier

The world’s problems will not be solved by building walls, discriminating against anyone who isn’t like “us”, or harming innocent people.

Hate, violence, shutting people out, and turning a blind eye to the needs of others never solved anything for long.

Want to make enemies? That’s how you do it.

The world’s problems will not be solved without taking steps to work together for the common good of the inhabitants of this planet.

You can help by acting with kindness, showing tolerance, and being the kind of person you wish there were more of.

Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” — Kurt Vonnegut

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Afterword:

“How do we stop those who are hell bent on the death & destruction of anything they oppose?” is beyond the scope of any single individual to answer. And is certainly beyond the scope of this post.

That said, we should not allow the extreme minority to dictate the actions, attitudes & behaviors of the overwhelming majority in a way that makes the world a more violent, hostile, and unfriendly place to live.

“Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

We should not allow the disruptive actions of a few cause us to turn against each other or act in a way that is contrary to how we would wish to be treated.

It’s one thing to deal with these kinds of people directly. It’s another thing entirely to discriminate against and turn our backs to those who have nothing to do with the negative actions of those causing problems.

The world is a dog park

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People who don’t mingle with other people outside of their social, ethnic, religious, economic, political, or peer groups are like dogs that grow up without ever having been socialized with other dogs (they tend to be skittish around the unfamiliar and react to other dogs with hesitation, suspicion, and barking).

Socializing dogs is recommended for good reasons. Not least of which is that they exist more harmoniously with other dogs.

This doesn’t just apply to dogs. The world is a dog park.

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Originally published on: Dec 2, 2014 @ 10:44

Normal may be normal, but it doesn’t mean good.

Always remember that what you may consider totally weird, someone else may consider perfectly normal. And vice-versa.

Reminding yourself that what is weird and what is normal is subjective is a major step towards living in harmony with people.

Yes, every society has its standards, but every society’s standards for what is considered normal are not only subject to change, what is considered normal at any given time isn’t necessarily good for the people who contribute to making it normal.

For example, if enough people in a given area act out a bad habit consistently that bad habit becomes normal and accepted. Smoking comes to mind.

So remember, before you judge someone for not being normal, remember that normal is not only subjective, normal is not synonymous for good.

And normal certainly isn’t good if it means judging others unfavorably for exerting their individuality and not simply conforming to the crowd.

“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” — Charles Addams

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The strength in tolerance and kindness

Excerpt from: my book series

There’s nothing wimpy or weak about being kind or tolerant of others.

Quite the opposite, really.

Patience and tolerance are often indicative of self-control.

Reflexive anger, hate, and aggression — on the other hand — represent a lack of self-control and often lead one to undesirable consequences.

In the hands of someone with mental discipline, the unrestrained anger and aggression of others can often be used against them.

If you can’t control yourself — the one and only person you truly have any control over — you may appear strong in the moment, but it isn’t real power, it’s weakness.

Self-discipline is a key to many doors. Not least of which is one that leads to a better, stronger, and healthier version of yourself.

If the results of your habits don’t make you a better, stronger, or healthier person, it’s time to consider new habits that do.

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Dealing with mean people

Excerpt from: One less rhinoceros (intentions vs actions & dealing with mean people)

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One of the reasons that being mean to mean people isn’t terribly effective is that people learn most through personal experience or by observation of others.

Giving someone a taste of their own medicine is very unlikely to teach them anything new or show them that there’s a better way.

By being mean to a mean person, you’re simply showing them a behavior they’re already familiar with. All your negative actions do is demonstrate that you can stoop to their level. And now instead of just one person acting badly, there are two. And rather than solve the problem, it makes things worse.

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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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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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Wide mouths, narrow minds

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” — Aristotle

If you don’t ever read, watch, or do anything that challenges you or makes you uncomfortable, you aren’t growing, you’re simply maintaining the status quo.

If all you do is surround yourself with people that think, look, and act exactly like you do, you’re willfully putting limits on what you are capable of learning, experiencing, and seeing in the world.

If you live in such a way that it inconveniences others who cross your path or condemns those who think or act differently than you do, this isn’t “living life to the fullest”, meeting one’s fullest potential, or adding value to the world.

Quite the contrary. It’s exemplifying ignorance & intolerance and stunting one’s growth.

Minds are like parachutes. They serve their purpose best when they’re open and being used.

“The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind.” — E.B. White

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