“Bad company corrupts good character.”

“Bad company corrupts good character.”

—Menander, 2nd Century BC Greek dramatist

Image created in Canva

Who have been the most influential people throughout your life, helping to shape your character?

Examine your most favorable and admirable traits to see when they were developed. What made you decide, intentionally or by default, to adopt your temperament, personality, and general approach to life?

On the flip side, what are some of your bad habits and less desirable character traits? What people or other factors influenced these qualities and behaviors to become your less than optimal self?

EXERCISE:

Take a good long and objective look at the company you keep. Where is it time for an upgrade? Where might you perhaps delete some viruses or other character software running in the background?

No one wants to hear everything that’s in your head

“No one wants to hear everything that’s in your head. They just want you to live up to what comes out of your mouth.”

—Adam Grant, American psychologist and author

Image of a person holding a megaphone

Image from Unsplash by Clem Onojeghuo

Who are the blabbermouths in your life? Who are the people who go on and on about their ideas, beliefs, and opinions, and never seem to take a breath? How do you feel around them?

To what degree might people in your world place you on their list of those who are more focused on being interesting rather than interested?

What makes these individuals even more troublesome is that on many, if not most, occasions, they appear to be all talk and very little action.

EXERCISE:

Who are the people in your life who are impeccable with their words? How would your life be enhanced if you and others lived up to what comes out of your mouth more often?

Consider reading or re-reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz for some added wisdom on this topic.

Virtue is not left to stand alone

“Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practice it will have neighbors.”

—attributed to Confucius

cartoon of a neighborhood party

Image from KC Parent

How do you stack up as a good neighbor or close friend?

Consider rating yourself from one to ten – with one being low and ten being high – regarding the following attributes of the word, virtue:

  • Goodness
  • Morality
  • Integrity
  • Dignity
  • Honor
  • Decency
  • Respectability
  • Honesty
  • Service-Oriented
  • Ethical

EXERCISE:

How can and will you attract more professional and personal friends and neighbors to yourself by living an even more virtuous life?

A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

—Charles Spurgeon, 19th Century English Preacher

Image of a hand holding a pair of shoes

Image from Unsplash by Kristian Egelund

Over the past year or so, most of us have become aware of the dramatic increase in “Fake News.” During the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, various news outlets went to considerable lengths to disentangle the outright lies and half truths, and get to the facts.

Unfortunately, on many occasions, the truth seems far less interesting than the fake news. Since all media outlets seek greater attention and higher ratings, the path to the truth can be slow and laborious.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what matters can and will you “lace up” the truth in your personal or professional communities, to bring far greater integrity to the world?

The Town Gossip

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

—Will Rogers, 20th Century American Cowboy Humorist

Image of a parrot

Image from Flickr by Martin Pettitt

Did you know that parrots experience peer pressure? Just like humans, they desire to fit in with others in their group. This is one reason they learn to copy the sounds and language of the people around them.

This morning at the gym one of the other regulars was talking with a trainer. I was shocked by the level of vulgarity, back-stabbing, and general gossip in their conversation, especially being in a public place.

EXERCISE:

How do your actions and use of language stand up to the parrot test? What adjustments might you make to have the town gossip say only good things, or at the very least, say nothing about you?

Don’t stray from yourself

“Don’t ever stray away from yourself to get closer to someone else.”

—Author Unknown

Image from www.scribendi.com

Image from www.scribendi.com

Imagine you are shopping for a new pair of shoes, a suit, or an outfit. In the process, you consider color, style, price, and of course, the fit of each item. When all the factors are optimized, we usually make the purchase. If the factors don’t fit, we usually save our money and keep looking.

What does it mean to stray away from yourself? Who are the people that best fit with your most authentic self? How often do you experience relationships with others that, on a gut level, seem to miss that genuine connection?

EXERCISE:

Where, currently or in the past, have you strayed from your values, beliefs, and priorities to get closer to others, even when your gut raises a red flag?

How can you use the same values, beliefs, and priorities to attract and engage the people who are the best “fit” in your personal and professional lives?

“The first impression may be…”

“The first impression may be the only impression.”

—Author Unknown

image from jimmycasas.blogspot.com

image from jimmycasas.blogspot.com

In our fast-paced world, we generate first impressions in a matter of seconds—sometimes nano-seconds.

What impression do people have of you through your appearance, your spoken words, and even your letters, emails, texts, or social media posts?

EXERCISE:

What efforts can you make today to assure that people get the very best impression of you?  As today’s quote suggests, it may be the only one they have.