I don’t really like the world we live in. I find it increasingly violent, selfish, angry and intolerant. It’s a product, of course, of how people behave and interact with each other. The answer clearly is to not be those things and hopefully people around will emulate that behavior. Here are the 5 changes I will be trying to make in order to be a better person:
1) Be Honest In Communication: A lot of people just can’t do this. Honesty isn’t just about not stealing, or not killing someone or sticking to a strict moral code. Honesty in communication goes deeper. Really letting someone know what you think about a situation or a person or a feeling that you have is so critical and I see so little of it. Everyone believes that being honest and open about oneself leaves one open to attack or vulnerable to being manipulated and that’s just not the case. The main problem with not being honest is it then becomes very easy to mislead yourself, too!
2) Be Consistent: If you’re not sure of something, be silent. If you take a position, be prepared to defend it. Having taken a position once, don’t act contrary to that position or make a later statement that contradicts it. And if you do, make sure you have good reasons for it and be prepared to explain them.
3) Think Long Term: This is so easy to miss because people are hard-wired to think in the short term. We worry more about today and now and ignore problems which could come up later – even though solving the future problems is as easy as making small changes today. This happens everywhere, from combating global climate change to relationships, from business planning to running a home on a tight budget. A small shift in perspective will often result in great benefits, but our monkey hind brains prevent that from happening. Evolve.
4) Forgive: This is truly the second-hardest thing to do, but it needs to be done if you really want to improve the world. Genuinely, truly, earnestly, forgive people who’ve done you wrong. And start with yourself. (Also don’t get so caught up in forgiveness that you become a holier-than-thou prat!)
5) Forget: Forgiveness is the second hardest thing to do – forgetting is the hardest. I don’t mean forget as in put something out of your mind forever. That’s too close to repressing it. Here’s a good definition – to forget means to not be emotionally swayed by past information that’s in your consideration set when you’re making a decision. If you’re truly committed to forgiving and forgetting, someone’s past actions shouldn’t be considered in an emotional state, when planning for the future.
So there you have it. What do you think? Too idealistic? Not idealistic enough? Let me know.