There’s too much negative stuff happening right now. People are frustrated from being limited for the past few months, and there isn’t an end in sight. Times like these can bring out the absolute worst in a person. Or we can choose to rise higher. You can do better. Start with being better.
My friend, Ronda Conger, wrote an amazing book a few years ago, and the title is absolutely spot on: “Better Human: It’s A Full-Time Job”. I picked it up again recently and flipped through this handbook, which is filled with eye-catching graphics, so you actually CAN flip through it. She has assembled the wit and wisdom of people who are making choices to be good humans.
And it’s inspiring.
I’m not going to spoon-feed you the tasty nuggets from “Better Human”. You really owe it to yourself to do that on your own.
But, inspired by Ronda’s incredible energy and positive thinking, I do want to share some observations, life lessons, and coping tips of my own that have stuck with me over the years.
- Living is a team sport. We’re all dealing with challenges right now, both personal and business. Some have more bumps in the road than others, but we’re currently sharing one massive one with this pandemic. It’s not a competition where the victor emerges with a year’s supply of toilet paper. We’re not foes here. Live like a teammate. Pitch in for the good of the many. If you live your life so short-sighted that you believe only your needs matter, then I’m sorry, but we’ll have to bench you.
- Your phone is not your best friend. Get your head out of your phone periodically and look around. What do you see? What’s happening while you’re absorbed in your technology? Your phone is a distraction. Instead of spending hours looking at Tik Tok videos and pinning recipes you’re probably never going to make, take a walk, read a book, play with your dog, paint something—a wall, a canvas, a chair. Get your hands dirty. Purge your garage. Send letters to people in nursing homes. Live in the three-dimensional world for a while. Commit time each day to being offline. You might like it.
- Start up a conversation with a stranger. It could be a cashier or server, another customer at the deli counter, or someone standing behind you in a line (at least six feet behind). Commiserate with them. Encourage them. Be pleasant—we can all use some of that. If nothing else, wish them a safe day. Every time I have the opportunity to speak with another human being, I take it. I particularly like strangers because they can bring a new perspective or idea. And just because our mouths are covered (or should be) doesn’t mean we have to be silent.
- Pay someone a compliment every day. Have you ever just walked up to someone and complimented their appearance? If so, you’ve probably seen the big grin on their face. I can tell you from experience that a compliment from a stranger is very uplifting. You stand a little taller, walk with more confidence, and maybe even strut a little. When you notice someone doing something special—assisting another person, picking up litter, or even just showing a positive attitude—reward them by acknowledging their action. You’ll make their day and, surprisingly, will boost your own positive mindset.
- Be thankful. This one is so easy but seems to be so hard to remember. There are plenty of people who have it a lot worse than you. Count your blessings. Repeat.
None of these suggestions takes much time. But the after-effects are lasting.