Being Proactive

Do you ever notice in life, there are people who make things happen, people who watch what happened and people who wonder what happened? The population of people who make things happen is entirely too small. That might be you. On the other hand, you may be a person who waits too often; you are more reactive. My experience is that people who are reactive on a chronic basis are generally depressed and unhappy. Why? It’s because they are always waiting for something to happen. Therefore, they are hostage to the next move. So instead, make the first move; ask the person to dance, pick up the phone, and get the results you are looking for. When you take the initiative, you are more in control and when that happens, you are a happier camper.

Resolving Conflict

A lot of people believe that success equals victory. So, if I believe that success equals victory, then for me to prevail means that I have to beat somebody else, which means that I have an adversarial thought process. This is counter-productive to resolving conflict. So what do you do? You change your mind so that success equals advancement; success equals inclusion as opposed to beating somebody else. Think in terms of people working with you as opposed to people as your adversary. When you think in those terms, you are going to resolve conflict faster and frankly, be happier.

Acceptance is Different from Approval

You can really disapprove or feel uncomfortable with or disagree with something and yet you still have to accept it. Lots of us have trouble with that. We say things like, “You know, that is completely unacceptable.” What we are really saying is, “I dislike it, therefore, I refuse to accept it.” And yet, the way life works is you can disapprove and you can find trouble with all kinds of things and you still have to accept it. Let’s suppose you disapprove of the sub-terranean that’s marrying your daughter, and yet you still have to accept that person. So think about that. Acceptance is quite different from approval. You will feel better about life.


Some of us have naturally smiling faces, others of us when we are having a good time we forget to notify our face. Research shows that if you smile it is pretty hard to feel bad, so force yourself to smile. The same research also shows that there is an endocrinological change that happens in your body when you smile that actually makes you feel better, so get in the habit of smiling. Even if you feel bad, the more you smile it’s hard to stay feeling bad. The whole notion is when you smile, the whole world smiles with you. And that’s absolutely true. So, show your pearly whites and brighten everybody’s day.

Common Courtesy – Thank you

Common courtesy is very uncommon. Do you ever notice that when somebody thanks you, you actually feel good? And yet it is so rare that people actually do it, particularly from the heart. It is even rarer when you get a “thank you” note in the mail. And if you get a “thank you” note in the mail it makes your day. You save it and read it again and again. Why, because “thank you’s” touch people’s lives. So my recommendation is to listen to what your mother told you when you were little and write a “thank you note.” Make somebody’s day and show that you care. That small bit of effort will brighten their day, bring a smile to their face and you will be differentiated in their minds at which point the whole world gets more special. So, remember, thank you very much!

Getting Your Day Made

Do you ever notice when somebody does something to you that really touches your heart, you say, “That really made my day.”  Well, very often you can get your day made by making somebody else’s day.  We read the newspaper and we listen to news all the time about random acts of violence, when people are upset and all we do is feel afraid, unhappy, and angry.  On the other hand, every once in a while, somebody will do something that will make your day.  What are your thoughts about making somebody else’s day?  How about a random act of kindness?  How about you call somebody?   How about you do something sweet to somebody you barely know, something thoughtful, some generosity of spirit?  When you take the initiative to make somebody else’s day, you’re going to make your day and that makes the whole day better.  

The Principle of Resistance

People will resist when they are forced or when they feel forced. Do you ever notice that when you try influence somebody or you try to get them to do something and you have zero intention to try to force them to anything and yet they still resist? Why? Because they feel forced; this means that you unintentionally approach them in such a way that they actually resist even more. They get defensive. So what do you do? You think through about how they might resist and try to position it differently. One of the things I always say is “you reduce resistance by letting people have your way.” If you think about it in that context, you package how you want to approach somebody in anticipation of resistance and then change the approach in such a way that you are going to get less of it.

The Rule of Familiarity

People will keep doing what they are familiar with doing simply because they are familiar with doing it or, people are creatures of habit.  If you run across someone who is continually critical, all they ever do is judge, they are critical and have a pejorative nature, and you ask yourself, “Why is that person so critical?” Well, the answer is, they are good at it.  They have been practicing for a long time.  Let’s suppose that that person is you and you want to change your behavior, you replace the ongoing criticism with ongoing reinforcement.  You have to do it long enough so that the reinforcement is more frequent than the criticism.  The whole idea is that if people are creatures of habit, you have to get the new habit to stick long enough so that it becomes routine.  So, practice!  

Life is Fair and it is Unfair

When you are listening to children, they often will say things like, “That’s just not fair.” And if you are their parent, you will hear yourself saying “that’s right that is unfair.” On the other hand, if you’re a grown-up, you will notice that you spend a lot of time listening to yourself or other people say, “That’s just not fair.” What they do is they spend more time describing the problem rather than solving it. Well, if you really want to think about it, life is unfair, and life is fair and life is both. So, if you think about it in that context, you are much more likely to want to solve the problem, capitalize on the fair parts and figure out a way to overcome the unfair parts. Life is fair. Life is unfair and Life is both. Play those cards and you will get better results

Taking Responsibility for Yourself

Do you know what drives me nuts?  It’s that so many people in this country somehow feel entitled.  Somehow they have this notion that the world owes them a living; poor me, somebody else is responsible for my problems.  I’m not responsible; somebody owes me money.  You know that whole notion that somehow somebody else ought to be responsible for you?  It drives me crazy and it lowers standards in this country.  So what do we do about this?  Well, if you’re a grown-up, decide that you are responsible for your behavior you’re responsible for your actions, your feelings and for your outcomes.  When you’re more responsible you behave more like a grown-up and moreover, you really are setting a much better example for your kids and for people in the community.  So, take more responsibility for yourself.  Do it now!