Monday, March 28, 2011

Some Good Advice

So my dad is kind of like me in the sense that we like to take inspiration from other people's words & initial thoughts. I'm not sure you could say that we are the most creative of people, and that's ok, but I think that's why we rely on other people's words to help us out with our own. 

Anyways - he sends me these articles/blurbs that I find to be very interesting so I thought I'd share these with you. It comes from the  Napoleon Hill Foundation website. It's called Napoleon Hill's Thought of the Day (clever huh?). If you go to the website you can find on the home page at the bottom right a place to sign up to receive these little thoughts everyday. I wanted to share the last two because 1) they are interesting,  2) they are the most recent so it's probably better I still with the newer is better rule, and 3) it's some good advice.

Some people resemble a cheap watch. They are not dependable.
It would be unrealistic to expect an inexpensive, mass-produced watch to perform with the same degree of accuracy as a finely crafted Rolex. They are not made with the same quality of materials or with the same craftsmanship. Yet we somehow think that we do not need to give the same attention to our most important asset: ourselves. Don't leave something as important as your character to chance. Choose the character traits you admire, and work to develop them. Don't be discouraged when you stumble. Building character is a process that takes a lifetime to complete. Fortunately, like anything else, the more you work at character building, the better you become at it. 

This one stuck out to me because it's true. Alot of the time I kind of just let my character traits build themselves. Not all mind you, but there are some character traits you know you have to work on developing from day one while others we just seem to sit to the side & let them go. As you get older you realize that nothing in life is just present at one point and many things require work on your end. Character is seems is really no different - it's a constant work effort to become that person you want to be. Sometimes I think that the character of a person can get overlooked completely which isn't good. I keep thinking about this and there aren't many people I know that aren't good people by character but I do know those few people who may be awesome at their job, or awesome to a few people but awful to others - how to judge their character. For example - I have a friend who is friends with another person (let's just call him Bob) who really is not a very great person overall but my friend doesn't seem to understand why I feel the way I do about Bob. I've known Bob for awhile to, just like my friend. Bob is nice to my friend - they aren't best friends by any means - but it's the normal friend relationship. Now Bob on the other hand tends to get my friends (yes more than one) into not so great situations and treats some other people (including some of our other friends) quite poorly.  To me Bob isn't a very good person based on his actions towards everyone. Yes, he's nice to my friend, but he's awful to everyone else. Does that make Bob is a bad person like I tend to lean towards or does that he's a good person that just doesn't know how to handle other people? Someones character isn't always clear and sometimes it's hard to know what character trait you are slacking on, but there is at least one. Based on this article I've done a little self reflection and I know what I'm going to be working on...forever. 


The person who is honest only for a “price” should be rated as dishonest.
There are no degrees of honesty. There are only absolutes. Either you are honest or you are not. Honesty does not come for a price; honesty is its own reward. It's also the most efficient form of human behavior. Honest persons never have to worry about which lie they have told to whom, and they never have to worry about getting caught. Thus, they are free to focus all their energies on more productive things. Make it a habit to be honest in all your dealings. If you can't be truthful in what you say, don't say anything at all. Remember, small lies start out innocently enough but soon assume lives of their own. A small lie requires a larger one to conceal it, and soon more, even larger lies are required. Don't tell that first lie or take a single thing that doesn't belong to you, and you'll never have to worry.

Now this one I found to be a little more interesting. More so because it really got me thinking about how I feel about honesty. Some of you are probably like "What don't you want honesty all the time?".  Well yes, I do, but I'm not sure I can agree with the comment from Napoleon. I appreciate and hold it to be true for many things but "there are no degrees of lying"? Really? So you are telling me a white lie is a lie that makes me a completely dishonest person - untrue.  Nor am I going to pretend that I never have and never will lie or that anyone else in the world hasn't lied either.  I've lied - you've lied, most people have lied at least once in their lifetime (if not several several times more).  However, I believe that I have and will take this piece of advice to heart. As I've gotten older I've begun to really appreciate honesty. Weird thing to say right?  When you are young you don't always understand what a lie means or does when you tell it. And when you are young it's easier to lie to spare people's feelings - esp in middle school & high school - helps you to avoid the drama (at least in my school it did). Now that I'm older I appreciate and respect the amount of damage or good a lie could do. I've never really come across a situation where even a lie (even white lie) is "good" but I know there are situations where a fib is just the best thing to say. I think most of my friends can attest to the fact that I'm not a liar and nor will I tell you something that is a lie if you ask for my opinion. Maybe it's because I'm more comfortable with myself as a person, maybe it's because of my age, maybe it's because of the company I keep but I've really come to the conclusion that lying only wastes peoples time - including your own. And lies aren't something I'm really willing to waste time  on (unless it's laying on a beach - haha get it!?). Lies waste time because they tend to make people run in circles - a lot of the time the subject gets brought back up because you've been busted and then you have to spend all that time apologizing or whatever. When if you told the truth from the beginning it'd be out there & the forgiving process can begin. Really it can waste money too -  if you tell a friend she looks good in something & she doesn't she's going to realize it on her own anyways & then have it just hanging in the closet with the tags still on! This all being said I've also gotten very good at holding my tongue. Sometimes I know that my honesty is NOT the best policy and is not going to help the situation at all. So then like in the article I just try to keep my mouth shut. I warn all people that ask my opinion that I'm going to tell them the truth so if they don't want to hear what I may have to say please don't ask me and really I have no desire to change this self policy.

Honest & character - go hand in hand. Maybe your honesty is that first character trait that you can really work on developing and continue throughout your life. I hope you guys sign up for these emails and even if you don't read them everyday that you get a chance to read a few and end up with plain old good advice. 

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