Last semester at the University of Nevada Reno, I took a capstone course with Donald Winne. This course forced me to consistently write about myself and my values. I enjoyed the freedom given by a professor to write freely and through these exercises I was able to see more clearly who I am.
The first thing that we did in class was write how we could become the best person that we could be. I suggest you try it, it is extremely effective for aligning your goals. Take out a piece of paper and draft ALL and I mean ALL the ways that you can change yourself and affect others in a positive way. Think about how you can gain a competitive advantage over others and what you need to get this advantage; think about how you can treat others to bring out the best in both of you.
I suggest you encourage others more, help them when they falter, set high expectations for yourself and others, and understand when others are not “perfect” in order for you and those whom you surround yourself with to become successful in life.
I can tell you that after I did this exercise myself, I immediately became more aware of how I treated others. I am a very kind-hearted person with very few enemies, if any. I am a loyal friend and I am willing to listen and help in any way that I can as often as I can. This comes partly to me by nature, but also by practice. I think about my actions and how they affect others more than I ever have in the past. I am more eager to help strangers without hesitation in order to spread that sense of kindness throughout the world. I truly believe if you are kind to someone, it will spread like wildfire.
I was at a local fast food restaurant the other day ( I know, shame on me!) and as I was sitting by myself nibbling at my meal, an older gentleman walked in. I looked up and smiled at him, politely acknowledging his presence. A few minutes later he walked over to my table and said, “excuse me Miss, but I just wanted to thank you for smiling at me. Not that many people give a friendly smile to a stranger and I wanted to thank you for your kind gesture.” He explained that he was a married man, not looking for anything but just appreciated my friendliness. My response to the situation should not have been shocking, but it was and I was filled with warmth. It is true that smiles are far and few from strangers these days and I was happy to have influenced another to care and feel a connection as a human being.
Even a small gesture like a smile will bring out the best in others, while bringing out something good in yourself as well. Refer back to your list as often as you can to change behaviors that will ultimately be the best for you, and those you surround yourself with.
Don’t be afraid to set high goals for yourself and work towards obtaining them, but understand your own strengths and weaknesses. I am the kind of person who must set small goals which lead to larger ones. Once I complete my small goals, I am ready to take the next step closer to my large goal. Taking these small steps builds more confidence and assures me that I can take on bigger challenges. Others work best when they set a really LARGE goal and power through to reach it.
Knowing yourself and how you deal with certain situations is half the battle, so don’t get discouraged. Make sure you are reflecting on your past behaviors to figure out who you are and what you should do differently. Always leave room for self-improvement and generosity, and many good things will follow your behavior.