|By John Ryan||
|July 31, 2009 01:22 PM EDT||
Every Friday, I’m going to try to find time to write about more universal themes. There are many ways to change your life of course, but I try to practice the following with sincerity.
1. Be forgiving. You’re going to fall down and you’re going to make mistakes. Allow the same for others. Life can really feel like a playground and we’re going to run into each other every now and then. Forgiving will lower your stress and keep your heart open.
2. Be compassionate. “But for the grace of God go I” is a good thing to repeat to yourself. Maybe you received a break others didn’t. Don’t measure someone by their status in life; instead imagine how far they might have come. Most of the time, you have no idea of the mountains they had to climb.
3. Be open to new things. Life is going to happen a lot faster than we thought as kids. The thing about being a kid was that everything felt new and there was so much life to live. You get older and the ordinary starts to take over. You have a choice to slip into the habitual or look for new areas of growth and entertainment. Choose the latter often and just wait for the goodies because they will show up.
4. Be joyful. There’s an old Sanskrit saying that God likes to play hide and seek. When you are laughing at life, it feels as though you are here with everyone one else enjoying a moment of universal understanding. Voltaire once said that God is a comic playing to an audience that is afraid to laugh. Laughter saves lives. Be careful though, laughter at the expense of others is not good for the soul.
5. Be a learner. I never go anywhere without a book. Usually, I have two just in case. One of the few regrets I will have is that I can’t consume all of the books at the library in my lifetime. When you learn, you have more to share with others and you always have a door to step out of a stressful situation like long lines at the airport. Also, pay attention when someone is trying to tell you something. Learning comes in all forms. Instead of seeing something as it went wrong or went right, ask yourself, "what was the universe trying to teach me just then?"
6. Be part of something bigger than yourself. I find myself boring as a topic. It’s not that I’m boring (at least I hope not), it’s just that it feels so childish to talk about oneself. Find something that makes you part of a team or a cause and give yourself to that. Your behavior and values while you are doing that will tell others all they need to know about how great you really are.
7. Be responsive to friends. You’re not going to have that many really great friends. I’m not talking about acquaintances or people you met while boating. I’m talking about people who would jump in front of a car for you. I have a few of those and I would jump in front of a car for them – see how that works? When they call, it means something important is happening simply because they are your friend.
8. Be a patient teacher. Share information and experiences. Look into the eyes of the person you are teaching, let them know you are there with them. Let the student know that learning something new rarely comes easy for anyone and even if it does, it doesn’t mean they will be the best at doing it. Make sure the student is focused on the long term gain and doesn’t let their own impatience get in the way of learning.
9. Be reflective. Don’t let the monkey-mind rule your life. Take the time to be thoughtful and don’t build your life around snap judgments. You will end up being wrong far too often and you will overrate your ability to be right. Also, as a bonus, being reflective will make you a much better companion.
10. Be without ego. This is tough but it can be done. The ego is a terrible thing and I’ve seen it destroy people. It’s the monster in the closet and for many will be their greatest challenge. Our fears are driven by the ego which can turn into anger when threatened. When people love to tell me of their accomplishments and their possessions, I pity them because I realize that their fears are front and center. The ego is going through a comparison cycle and there was never anything to be afraid of in the first place. The universe has already decided they belong. There is no need to ask for more validation than that.
11. Be passionate. Human beings are not machines and to be one dilutes the human experience. Find something or someone that makes you walk on air. Find your passion.
12. Be balanced in all things. Avoid excess in everything including conversations and opinions. People that are out of balance tend to burn themselves out of something or those around them.
I hope you have a great weekend.
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