We can’t make other people be more considerate, helpful, honest, etc., in our personal and business lives, but consider this: If everyone were to work on himself or herself and develop these attributes, our world would be a better place.

Make the changes to yourself that you want to see in the world around you. Here are some guidelines to make it happen.

Don’t be judgmental.Being judgmental wastes time and cuts you off from opportunities and meaningful relationships. You are not perfect either, and your judgment might be worse than the person’s you are judging.

Look for and recognize the good in yourself and in others. We are all capable of so-called good and bad behaviors and we all have our good and off days. We are each unique and it is wonderful that we are different - in our appearances, thoughts, opinions, likes, and dislikes.

Being different is not bad. It is just different. Embrace the differences and be happy for the variety. Likewise, forget your concepts of right and wrong. People are not good or bad, right or wrong; they just are. If you were in their shoes maybe you would act differently, or maybe not.


Respect others.Don’t make the mistake of thinking your rights are the only ones that count. Don’t ignore other people’s rights.

Respect is not about material issues or where a person sits on the social ladder. Respect is acknowledging another human being’s dignity and treating him or her the way you wish to be treated. Being wealthy does not make a person more deserving of respect; neither does a high-flying career with a fancy title.

We all came into this world equal and we’re all checking out as equals. What happens in between is a series of different life experiences. The poor man who lives in a slum, who cares for strangers, volunteers assistance without expecting anything in return, and lives a clean, honest life is more deserving of respect than a wealthy businessman who dresses in fine clothes, lives in a huge mansion, treats everyone like pond amoeba, cheats on his wife, swindles his shareholders, and has forgotten how to tell the truth.

Be a good listener. Part of showing respect is really listening to people to help them solve their problems. How often do you really listen to other people? How often do you plan what you are going to say next while they are talking, or allow your mind to drift off to something else?

It takes practice to be a good listener, but in being one, you are showing respect and are also in a position to better comprehend the real message being given to you. You can avoid misunderstandings and missed instructions. Furthermore, the other person will appreciate your attention and is more likely to return the courtesy.


Be interested, not interesting.This goes hand in hand with being a good listener. Most people love to talk about themselves and delight in the opportunity to do so. Ask questions and take an interest in what they are telling you.

Don’t worry about them hogging the limelight; you can have your turn during the conversation.

Have you ever met someone who only talks about themselves? Are you one of them? Count the number of times you use “I” in your conversations. Judging, arguing points, interrupting the conversation, and using I a lot are sure signs you need to review your communication skills.

Respond from your heart.We tend to respond to others using our heads, not our hearts. We formulate stories about ourselves, defend our egos, or judge other people or what they have said.

If we respond from our hearts, we can respond with kindness, understanding, and a sense of connection. Find something good to say about people and to people. Build people up - don’t knock them down. Go with your gut instincts.

Be truthful.If you make a mistake, welcome to the human race! You don’t have to lie to cover it up. You don’t have to tell the truth brutally; there are gentle and tactful ways of delivering truths and you should think carefully before you speak. But don’t try to be deceitful because it has a way of coming back to haunt you, and in those situations you are worse off than if you had just come clean in the first place, as uncomfortable as that may seem at the time.

Nothing good comes from lies. There is a difference between being diplomatic and telling an outright lie.

Be helpful.When you need a helping hand, don’t you just love the person who comes up and offers that to you? Wouldn’t you love the opportunity to repay them? You can be the person others look to respectfully with gratitude in their hearts, who will, one day, repay the gesture.

What goes around, comes around. If you want people to be helpful to you, you must be helpful to others. It doesn’t matter whether this is assisting your boss with a special project you can see he needs help with, a coworker who is struggling with a large workload, or an elderly neighbor struggling up the stairs with her arms full. People do remember kindnesses.


Maintain your integrity and dignity.People who keep their integrity intact are easier to deal with in work or personal situations. They know where they stand and you know where you stand with them.

You will feel better about yourself when you set your standards and stand by them. You will attract those who respect your standards and who have standards of their own.

Remember that you do not need aggression to be assertive. In fact, you are better off without the aggression! Being assertive and being aggressive are two entirely different things.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.Neither be evasive nor make promises you can’t keep. If you say you are going to do something, do it. Be known as a reliable person. Honor your promises and agreements wherever possible - this stems back to integrity. Prepare to be flexible if need be, but know that you don’t have to bend over so far backwards that your back snaps.

If you are wishy-washy and allow people or circumstances to be unconcerned for your position, you will develop that reputation and find more and more people walk all over you. Being like this does not prove you are valuable to anybody. It just means you are a pushover.

Go the extra mile.I mean this in a couple of ways. First, whether you are either asked to do something or you are offering to do something, remember that if something is worth doing in the first place, it is worth doing well. While you are at it, what little touches can you offer to improve it?

For example, who would you rather go to for your shoeshine: Mr. A does a wonderful buff and polish, is timely, and not too expensive. Mr. B also does a wonderful buff and polish, he is also timely and not expensive, but he is also cheerful and interested in you and whistles while he works; after your polish, you go on your way feeling on top of the world! Mr. B just went the extra mile for you. He didn’t just polish your shoes, he lifted your spirits.

Going the extra mile need not involve a large expense of time, energy, or money, but its value to the recipient is often priceless - and one day, it will be reciprocated.

Publication date:06/09/2008