Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else.
My six-year-old grandson was throwing a fit.
He was also throwing a few other things.
I told him to stop.
“That’s what I do when I’m angry. I throw things.”
“Not at Grampa’s house you don’t.”
We had a brief conversation about expressing emotions appropriately, and his behavior quickly improved.
Adults use a similar lie: “That’s just the way I am.”
Imagine being pulled over on the road and saying, “Sorry, officer, but that’s just the way I drive.”
With that attitude, the way you drive will soon be not at all.
If we are fortunate, the adults in our lives taught us that certain behaviors will interfere with our dream of being an astronaut, an actor, or an athlete.
If we are unfortunate, the adults in our lives emphasized our mistakes and misbehaviors.
And so, we start to think that we cannot trust our impulses.
This leads to the notion that we should be more like other people.
If we have good models of appropriate behavior, this can be helpful.
But then we take it too far and try to take on the personality of others, so we can conform to expectations.
This feels fake to us and to the rest of the world.
How, then, can we be true to who we are and yet avoid using that as an excuse for bad behavior?
We know that we need some refinement.
But we have strengths as well as weaknesses.
Improving our strengths gives us the greatest benefit. Most of our effort should be used here.
However, weaknesses cannot be left unattended.
Some will prevent us from using our strengths effectively.
The best strategy is, first, to identify and develop our strengths.
We also want to be aware of behaviors and attitudes that keep us from using our strengths effectively.
We cannot ignore those flaws, but the bulk of our energy should be directed at employing our strengths for the benefit of our families, our communities, and our world.
Then we can get closer and closer to the person we were meant to be.
Today’s empowering question: Which of your predominant strengths will you look for opportunities to use today?
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