Giving and Receiving Advice

It’s easy to tell someone else how to live their life, but difficult to apply the same advice to our lives. This normally happens because we’re too close to the situation. It’s also easy to get opinions from others who tell us what they think we want to hear, but such advice is not beneficial in the long run.

The value of advice cannot be judged by the number of people for or against it. A lot of poor advice is worse than a little good advice. It is better to seek the guidance of those who are wiser and more experienced, while using discernment to evaluate whether the advice they’re giving is useable, workable, and realistic.

Remember that good advice comes from those who speak the truth even with the truth hurts; good advice will be fair; and good advice will improve a situation while providing a positive solution or direction.

Practice Makes Perfect

Deliberate practice is a necessary ingredient to performing at your best. The more you do something the greater you become at it. We are quick to give up on our relationships, professions, and personal growth because we can’t see beyond instant gratification. 

Many professions enforce continuing education for this reason, and some professions require continuing education even if you aren’t actively practicing in that field. Consider the athletes who must fully participate at team practice even when they’re not on the starting lineup. Remember that practice prepares us for opportunity. Those who perform at their best, work relentlessly hard and take responsibility for their errors and mistakes.

Be observant of what you are doing, how you are doing it, and whether it can be done differently to produce better results. You have to continue getting better in order for greater outcomes to manifest itself. Whatever skills you lack, enhance them through training and consistent practice. Recognize where a problem may exist, refine your skills, then try again.

Keeping Up with the Joneses

While it’s normal to desire something better, nicer or more exciting, don’t let your desire for what someone else has, cause you to become discontented with what you already possess. Trying to keep up with the Joneses is a never ending chase. 

When we are not secure with who we are and what we have, we psyche ourselves into believing that acquiring certain material goods will bring us greater acceptance. In reality, we end up spending money we don’t necessarily have, to please people that really are not impressed.

Putting up a false facade based on what we think others want to see reveals the insecurities within us. It’s your perception of you that matters most. Trying to see yourself through the eyes of others is wasted energy. When you start to accept who you are, you’ll attract others that reinforce your empowering beliefs.

Give Back

Our blessings are intended to overflow to others. Therefore, those who are blessed with material goods should be generous with those in need. Some conclude that people are needy through some fault of their own, but this kind of reasoning makes it easy to close our hearts and hands to those who are in real need of help. 

Let us not forget that some of those in need are often victims of an unjust society. We are not to invent reasons for ignoring people in need, instead we are to respond to their needs in the best way we can. We should help others because it is right, not because we’ll benefit from it personally.

Be Thankful

Ungratefulness is a common human fault. When we feel passed by, overlooked or forgotten, it comes as no surprise that we appear ungrateful. Refusing to see how fortunate you are and taking your blessings for granted, lends itself to self-centeredness. Even the homeless man has it better than someone else in this world.

We run into trouble when we become so consumed with what we don’t have and fail to open our eyes to all that we do. In order to receive more of what pleases you, be thankful for what you already have. Every day that you awaken, be thankful for that day and let others know how much you appreciate them. When you become truly thankful, your life will show it.

Never Give Up

People often give up after a few half-hearted efforts and conclude a solution cannot be found. Don’t forsake future rewards because of present pain. It’s easy to throw your hands up in despair when faced with difficult situations, but pursuing anything in life that’s important to you takes faith, focus and follow-through. We are often tempted to give up on people or situations that haven’t changed for many years, but what seems unchangeable can occur when given new purpose and direction.

Going through a Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis is an attitude of mind that transforms you from the inside out. It is non-judgmental, respectful of where you are today, and continues to move at your own pace. It is no surprise that a metamorphosis comes when we meet our greatest challenges. Each day, every encounter, situation and circumstance, is used to morph you into something greater. When you become transformed in spirit, you reveal the beauty within you and are strengthened to soar to new heights.

Facing Reality

You can view life for what it really is or what you pretend it to be, but reality keeps going no matter what you do. In our everyday practice of conscious living we continuously alternate between at least two realities: material/spiritual, subjective/objective, seen/unseen, and inner/outer. 

In order to mature in your perception of reality, you must be open to change, understand your limitations, embrace otherness, and be willing to encounter the unknown. If you are satisfied with what you have and like in your reality, then strive to maintain it. Otherwise, take action and change the reality of the situations that don’t appease you.

There’s a Manual to Life

An instruction manual is provided for most things on the market today. However, the majority of us never take the time to read it. We look at the illustrations or specific items of concern then set it aside. How many times have you driven your car and had no idea what all the buttons operated? Or, put an item together that had pieces left over and differed from the finished product on the box?

The same applies to our lives. Most of us want to know how our lives are going to play out, but we fail to take the time to read life’s manual and apply what it says. Admittedly, the manual may not be the easiest book to read, but it offers real help for those who have been unable to identify their purpose, and need something to help guide them along the way.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking your direction is going to appear out of thin air. Searching for something more mystical distracts us from what we should be doing in our lives. Use the teachings from the manual of life to help guide your conduct.

Failure is Success in Disguise

It is very rare for us to fail. We only choose to stop trying.  Failure is not always defined by losing everything you have. Failure exists when you are not performing at your best, which in turn, produces undesired results. True success comes from knowing you had to go through something to get where you are, and who you are, is revealed by what you do on subsequent attempts.

All success comes at a price. There is no success without risk of failure, no reward without effort, and no opportunity without criticism. Those that succeed never stop trying until they reach their goal. Failure is not something to fear or worry about, because everything we do has a lesson behind it. The real failure is not missing the mark, but in missing the lesson along the way.

Being Humble

A humble person is more secure than a proud person because humility gives a more accurate perspective of oneself and the world. Some people think that humility means putting oneself down, but humility is not self degradation. It is a realistic assessment of who you are and what you represent. 
Don’t write off someone who challenges you. There may be truth in what is being conveyed. Receive the message with humility while carefully thinking it over. If you discover there’s room for improvement, take the necessary steps to correct the behavior. The truly humble, understand their limitations. 

Understanding Your Purpose

A person without purpose will keep changing direction and traveling in circles without ever getting anywhere. Without direction, an empty life is unstable and vulnerable to temptation. Don’t be misguided by your purpose. Your greatest accomplishment may be helping people accomplish great things. Similarly, your greatest failure may be preventing others from achieving greatness. When you understand your purpose, you will attract others who want to know how they too can find meaning in their lives.

Common Distractions

Things that make you go hmmmm…….
  1. Talking to a person with bad breath.
  2. Wearing loud perfume or cologne.
  3. Doing multiple things while driving.
  4. Uncontrollable children.
  5. Use of cell phones in the wrong environment.
  6. Public intoxication.
  7. Stepping on gum or animal excrement.
  8. Spitting in front of someone.
  9. Littering.
  10. Failure to give someone your full attention.
  11. Foul mouths and inappropriate references.
  12. Choice of attire.
  13. Personal hygiene.
  14. Rudeness.
  15. Bad manners.
  16. Bad drivers and rubbernecking.
  17. Smoking in closed confinements.
  18. Chewing with your mouth open.
  19. Talking with your hands.
  20. Nosiness.
  21. Gossip.
  22. Spilling something on your clothing.
  23. Inconsiderate comments.
  24. Broken promises.
  25. Social media.

Know Your Worth

Oftentimes we rely on the approval of others to establish our value. Whether in a relationship, friendship or employee capacity, we tend to gauge our worth on words and responses that feed the ego.

When you operate from the heart and know that what you do is done with pure intentions, you limit the control a person has over you through their words and actions. We all fall short in various areas of our lives and it is tempting to try and change who we are for the satisfaction of another. Doing so creates a false sense of contentment.

Understanding that worth is not based on our earthly possessions, achievements, physical attractiveness or public opinion, we can rest in the fact that our internal makeup speaks volumes in relation to our worth.

Maturity Isn’t Defined By Age

Society has come up with its idea of a maturity timeline such as: sixteen (16) to obtain a driver’s license, eighteen (18) to leave the nest and be considered an “adult”, twenty one (21) to purchase alcohol, and twenty five (25) to rent a car, but in reality does this really define maturity?

Age doesn’t always correlate with maturity. Life’s experiences can boost one’s maturity level at a rate of increase that is normally dictated by social influences, family upbringing, personal desires and a host of other factors.

The fundamentals of maturity involve; the ability to deal with problems immediately, the ability to learn and grow from past experiences, the ability to accept fault for one’s actions, the ability to maintain a level head, the ability to maintain a positive attitude and the fortitude to grow in wisdom.

The Scale Is Not Always Balanced In Relationships

It is rare to find a relationship that is equally balanced at all times. Yet, if each partner is committed to making a one hundred percent investment, a happy median will eventually be found. Since men and women have different needs when it comes to giving and receiving, communication is vital in gaining an understanding of those needs.

There are times when we give a lot and receive little or nothing in return, and there are times we receive more than what we are putting into the relationship. As long as reciprocity outweighs sacrifice, the relationship maintains a balance.

Many conflicts in relationships have something to do with power and control. We all desire to have some control over our lives and the direction it will go, but this often lingers over to us trying to control others, in an effort to keep our lives flowing the way we see fit. Respect between men and women come from mutual regard and appreciation for each other, not by forced obedience.

Know How to Pick Your Battles

Life involves a series of changes and choices so it only makes sense to choose your battles wisely. We often get hung up disputing insignificant things when there are more important matters that beg for our attention. No matter how well-meaning you are in fighting the battles you think are of paramount importance, sometimes the battle is won when you back up and let situations run its course. By doing so, you will be far more effective in getting your point across.

Fighting battles out of mere challenge is wasted time and energy. If the world came to an end today, would those battles have the same significance? If the battle is not beneficial in some way and the stakes are high pending the outcome, use good judgment and avoid the conflict altogether.

Life rarely goes the exact way we may have in mind and there will always be people who disagree with you or do things differently. Therefore, reevaluate your priorities and understand there will be battles not worth arguing over, battles you can’t do anything about, and battles that are frankly none of your business.

Honesty is the Best Practice

In our quest to be accepted by others, we are often tempted to abandon what we know is right. There is no amount of rationalizing that can justify dishonest practices. Entering into any type of engagement under false pretenses will only lead to a bigger problem in the end.

You can navigate through life either impressing people with lies or influencing people with truth. Seeking truth transforms us. Yet, there are those who think they’ll get what they want through dishonest practices so they’ll flatter, deceive, and lie to the point of affecting their very core. This type of behavior can cause you to lose sight of who you are and your ability to relate to others. Dealing in lies, is dealing in fear. Allowing fear to rule you, makes fear way more powerful than it should be.

Check Your Attitude

A quick temper spreads fast and can easily be triggered by petty annoyances such as road rage, someone racing to be first in line or encountering disgruntled people throughout your day.  Although these types of situations can make your blood pressure rise, you must remember that your inner attitude doesn’t have to reflect your outward circumstance.  It’s easy to take unimportant events too seriously. We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control our attitude towards it. It’s the attitude you choose to display that shapes your personality.

Practice What You Preach

We lead by example. If you preach it, make sure you live it! When you take it upon yourself to share a message or give advice, those who receive it will look for its effectiveness in your life. Unless it has changed you, your message will carry less value in changing them. 

As you think of others who need to apply what you are hearing or reading, check to see if the same application fits you. Apply the lessons to your own life first because our own faults are the very first ones we often see in others.