Helper or hinderer? Which are you?

We’ve all run across people who seem to take pleasure in finding flaws in others’ work. And then they seem genuinely surprised when the recipient isn’t overjoyed at their feedback.

But this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Finding faults, picking things apart or complaining about things — even if one attempts to do it in a funny way (which most often comes off as mocking) — is one of the easiest things to do.

Some people seem to make a sport of it…

“I found a problem with that quote you shared. It doesn’t apply to every.situation.ever!”

Really? A person’s words taken out of context of the larger whole — and shared for the wisdom or implied lesson within — don’t apply to every conceivable situation? What a surprise.

So rather than acknowledge or consider any inherent wisdom — or the general essence of what is being expressed — you would rather point out or make a joke about how something doesn’t apply to every situation?

People who do this are missing (or ignoring) the point in order to give themselves the false impression that they are being clever or adding something of value. But where is the value in that?

Problem finding generally takes very little creativity, cleverness, originality, effort, or risk.

Other the hand, it is much more difficult to create something new or to improve upon an existing idea. It is much more difficult and courageous to be a creator.

Creativity takes courage.” — Henri Matisse

The next time you or someone you’re with thinks they’re adding something of value or being clever by poking holes in something, ask this question:

“How can I make this better?”

Answers to that question are helpful.

Finding a way in which an established quote doesn’t make sense in every case, isn’t particularly helpful. Drawing attention to the fact that a quote is wrongly attributed to someone, is.

If you can find a way to improve upon an existing idea or creation, it’s not only clever, it will likely be much more well received than criticism and feedback that is often made at someone else’s expense.

We’ve all seen how sides of the government will find flaws in the opposing side’s proposals, but then fail to come up with any real solutions of their own. This doesn’t help anyone.

Want to be helpful and add value, find ways to make something better by asking yourself how that would be possible.


Your voice is a choice. Always.

It is sometimes important to remember that we are not only responsible for what we say when we speak, we are also responsible for how we say it.

The volume at which one says things and the tone in which they say them are always controlled by the individual.

Your voice is always a choice.



When you truly want to get to know someone better

“What do you do?” is a dull question that often leads to a dull “I’m a [job title]” response.

No one is ever just a [job title].

When you TRULY want to get to know someone better, try:

  • “What’s your idea of a dream job?”
  • “What are you passionate about?”
  • “What did you want to be when you grew up?”
  • “What would you try if you knew you would not fail?”
  • “What sets your soul on fire?”
  • “What’s something you would love to do, but haven’t yet?” and “Why haven’t you?”

No is ever just a job title. - Zero Dean

Appreciation and Gift Giving

Global manufacturers would like us to believe that holidays are the best time to show appreciation by buying more “stuff” for the people we care about.

And every holiday we do it with cards, flowers, chocolate & confectionaries, and a million cheap trinkets of all kinds made by overworked & underpaid employees in foreign lands.

And we buy into this idea — holiday after holiday — because we like LOVE to be appreciated.

In fact, feeling appreciated is one of our greatest emotional needs. So we don’t tend to mind so much that the primary reason people show us appreciation on holidays is because they are expressly being reminded told to through advertising.

While there is certainly something to be said about being appreciated & showing appreciation on mutually agreed upon and culturally convenient dates, one could make an argument that the most sincere times to show appreciation are those times when a person you care about was simply on your mind and you thought enough of them to take the time to say so. Not because it was a holiday. Not because it was convenient. But just because it felt right and you truly wanted to do it.

I think most people would agree that any time is a good time to be appreciated. But by that same token, any time is a good time to SHOW appreciation, but if you truly want to maximize the experience, the BEST times to show gratitude for those you care about might just be the times when it isn’t a common cultural phenomenon.

(* within obvious social norms)

So if today isn’t one of those holidays — or even if it is! — is there someone you could show appreciation to right now?

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” — Leo F. Buscaglia


Appreciation and gift giving

An honest enemy is better than a false friend

An honest enemy is better than a false friend. When in doubt, pay more attention to what people do and less to what they say. Actions not only speak louder than words, they are more difficult to fake.

An honest enemy is better than a false friend. When in doubt, pay more attention to what people do and less to what they say. Actions not only speak louder than words, they are more difficult to fake.

“Lieber ein ehrlicher Feind, als ein falscher Freund”

“Better an honest enemy than a false friend” — German Proverb


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