Picture credit: Bibimorvarid
For the rest of our lives, we're going to have to deal with folk who show one or more of the following characteristics.
We can spot them, the people, and their traits. (Hey, I'm not bein' a whingin' git, stick with me!)
Can we see them in ourselves? That's tougher.
Be we can see them if we want to. And we can realise they'll make people so much less likely to want to hang out with us, give us their business, or come near us at all.
If we want to spot them, and then kick their fat unproductive asses out of our face, that's even better!
* I could only write three in one sitting, for two reasons:
1) They were making me feel fed-up, 2) We should only bitch a tiny bit each day, and then only in special circumstances, right?
Oh yea, these three traits create problems in our relationships, at work and at home. But their impact goes much further.
On a macro scale, multiplied by a factor of millions, they're causing massive damage. Our thoughts, attitudes, behaviours (good and bad) add up to produce huge impacts on others, and on our planet. (The best thing is we can do a shed load of good stuff together and keep growing in momentum.)
So, how to make ourselves unwelcome almost anywhere:
Picture credit: Albany Tim
1) Have a crappy attitude.
Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air!
Some days I want to say to some people "You know your crappy attitude? Well it is so UN-original! I mean, there's nothing unique or interesting about it. I've seen ten people with exactly the same milk curdling mind-set already this morning and it's not yet 10 am".
I bet there are days when people are quietly thinking the same about me (the b*******!, he he).
Our C.A. comes in all shapes and sizes. One example might be that useless (mostly!) thing called blame. Blaming others, the economy, our great grandparents, our neighbour's pigeons, for our problems. Then, we moan and moan, and consistently fail to take action to make things better, while continuing our downward cycle of passing the buck.
Oh yes, attitude is the massive flashing sign and public address system that tells the world what we're really like. We can say what we want, try and use words to convince people we are A, B, C, but there's no need. They are not daft. They've to spend only a little time with us to see what we're really about. Sure, we may be good actors, but it's difficult to keep up for long.
That means even folk with only very small B.S. detectors will suss us out.
Question: What can we do today to feed, boost, bolster, expand, and light a fire under our great attitude and start riding it to where we want to be?
Reallygood thinking: A crappy attitude is for people with no sense of a bigger purpose for their lives. If every day we're moving toward something that really matters, we won't let the small stuff drag us down.
But what I'm loving most about all the fantastic people I'm getting to know is they have a great attitude! There are so many people making a difference in our world, it's my ambition to meet each and every one personally and learn all I can!
Picture credit: pepe
2) Be completely unaware.
To get anywhere (well, we can get nowhere, that's somewhere!) we need to work on our awareness.
We've got to wake up and see how our presence affects the mix, how we impact others, and what what we choose to think, say, and do DOES in any situation. Then ask ourselves "Is this the effect I wanted? Does it help create the kind of outcome I'm looking for?". If stuff's happening to us and we wonder where the hell it came from, maybe the clues where there from the start, it's just we were unaware of them.
There's a friend who phones our home and starts talking immediately about the job she hates (but not enough to find another after ten years of misery and complaining, the lazy, miserable cow!). This woman goes on and on about the minutiae of what's happened that day, of how hard done-by she thinks she is. Sounds the same as the last time she called, and the fifty times before that.
She's completely unaware that we might have people coming round, perhaps we have to rush off somewhere, maybe one of our kids isn't feeling well, or we've had a bad time in our business, at work, a family problem. No, she doesn't even think. She just starts talking. (Not to me you understand, as soon as I hear her voice I mimic the sound of a fax machine and put the phone down).
I know it's hard to believe but sometimes other people have big, important, happy, painful, worrying, amazing things going on in their lives too.
Questions: What can we do to become more aware?
I reckon a good place to start is to find examples where the outcomes were what we wanted, and some where they were not so hot (i.e. friends stop answering their phone, and their door!), and compare. What can we notice about what we did or didn't notice at the time? Once we've figured out how our awareness, or lack of, affected the end results, we'll be better able to ask sharper questions, get ourselves focused on what's really going on, and increase the chance of getting the outcomes we want.
Reallygood thinking: Those who are clear about what they're doing with this life, will want to be wide awake to every person and every possibility that'll help them on their way.
Every day, we can connect with outstanding people who are aware of so many good things we wouldn't have discovered or thought of on our own! It's a fantastic time to be alive. We've potentially more opportunities than ever before, so let's keep on discovering!
Picture credit: Adrants
3) Make little or no contribution. Just take, take , take, and keep on taking.
I had a colleague who used to come for dinner at my place three or four times a week, when we were working on various time intensive projects. And even when things cooled down, he'd still be round a couple of times a week or more. This went on for a few years. He never brought a bottle, or as much as a mince pie! (Another friend is a single mum with hardly any money and she always brings something. It's definitely not expected, it's just she's generous, kind, and thoughtful, and she won't stop! Back to the guy....).
My missus and I went to his place once. For a barbecue. After two sausages and a cold chicken wing each, the food and booze ran out. We went home and ordered pizza.
I'd driven this guy hundreds of miles, usually out of my way, loads of times, given him stuff, paid him well for his work, and helped him out whenever possible. So when I asked him to do a small, simple thing for me when I'd to go away at short notice, you can imagine how annoyed I was when he let me down at the last minute after agreeing to help!
I don't need to tell you his selfishness eventually cost our friendship, cos I don't care what anyone says, in my book, friendship is always a two-way street. Both parties must give a crap about each other, or it isn't really friendship, and giving a crap means helping each other when we can.
Anyway, he's worn out his welcome at my place. Perhaps I shouldn't be too tough on the little sponger, perhaps no one ever told him that thing about "it's better to give than to receive".
Questions: Are people starting to ignore us, leave us out of things, avoiding us, because we mostly take more than we give? Let's ask ourselves honestly, "do we care?" If not, carry on as usual and we'll see our friends become rarer than sensible shoes at a pole dancing convention.
Reallygood thinking: People who are smart, at least those with the normal compassion mechanisms, will soon work out that giving, and caring, without expectation of something in return, will naturally lift them far above their selfish friends in all the ways that really matter.
I can't believe the extraordinary level of love, giving, and caring we can find when we open up to new people and ideas. These digital technologies really do offer us such wonderful platforms to make a bigger impact than we ever dreamed possible. Bring it on!
So, let's make sure we avoid these troublesome traits, and we'll find warmer welcomes wherever we go. Oh yea, and the knock-on effects might be huge.
If you enjoyed this, you'll like this too; I'm well glad I found Gladwell. Or, How to turn frustration into action.
I'd love to know if you find these ideas helpful, and if you have particular things that help you move out of a crappy attitude, raise your awareness, and make you less selfish. Would be great to see you in the comments. Much love, Ian.
Thanks for the post, Ian. Ever since we met on twitter, I've been impressed with your capacity to learn and share. How you (and I mean you - Ian) conduct yourself on social networks is a great example of paying it forward. Your actions (you again Ian) are an inspiration.
My recipe for building a happier life is to pass joy on to other people and helping them grow. "Pay it Forward" is great concept and I encourage my helpees to do the same for others. It builds a strong social network of people that care for others, and find new friends as they grow them in turn.
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