7 Reminders for Being a Better Person
In this fast-paced world of social media, 24-hour news cycles, and streaming media, we’re constantly bombarded with information—relevant and often irrelevant—that pulls us in a million different directions. Add on top of all the deadlines, and mounting expectations and pressures from everyone around us, it can be easy to lose ourselves in the blur.
It’s up to us to cut through all the noise and make sure we hold tight to the things that set us up for success. Here are seven reminders to help anyone be a better person today.
1. Let go of stress and anger.
From a demanding boss or investor, to a nagging spouse, to the never-ending stream of political commentary, there’s a growing list of stressors that cause people to harbor some level of anger throughout the day. While anger can be a natural response to people or situations that don’t go the way you want, holding onto your anger over long periods of time can be detrimental to your performance, your interaction with others, and to your health.
Learn to let go of your anger and of what you can’t control. Be mindful of the things that upset you, then reduce your exposure to them. For instance, spend less time watching TV and on social media if politics constantly has you fuming.
Related: Easy Ways to Go on a Digital Diet
You can’t flip a switch on a person, so if someone you care about is the stressor, try to find the reason and address it. If the person is someone you work with—say a co-worker or a boss—just remember that you can go home and detach from it. Calming relaxation techniques like meditation, controlled breathing, and periods where you’re quiet and disconnected from devices can help.
2. Go deep, go light.
Your time and attention are valuable. As such, aim to spend that time in a meaningful way that makes you think and expands your horizons. Whether it’s traveling, visiting with loved ones, consuming media—books, movies, podcasts, etc.—seek out experiences and information that benefit you.
That said, it’s important keep it light sometimes, too. You don’t want to let random, meaningless information overtake you, but it’s OK to spend time unwinding with a TV show or checking in over social media. Strike a balance. Mix it up.
3. Listen more.
Business owners often like to talk. And they should; they have a product/service that they’re passionate about and they want the world to know. But constant broadcasting doesn’t build relationships—whether personal or professional. Entrepreneurs should remember to listen more.
Listen to everyone; your customers, employees, competitors, friends, family, and new acquaintances. And don’t simply listen passively—actively ask people what they think. Seeking input from others makes them feel valued and can provide you with information you never knew you needed.
4. Practice empathy.
Knowing that listening to others makes them feel valued is an example of empathy—the understanding of how others think and feel. After all, not everyone and everything on this planet revolves around you and your needs.
In the workplace, a leader who lacks empathy will seem out of touch to their employees. To customers and clients, empathy helps communicate that you care and that their business is valued. In personal relationships, practicing empathy helps tighten bonds with people who matter most to you—which goes a long way to keeping you happy and motivated professionally.
5. Apologize when needed.
Entrepreneurs aren’t superhuman. Just like everyone else, they have faults and weaknesses, and make mistakes. But sometimes when you’re the person in charge, and it’s your vision on the line, admitting when you’re wrong isn’t easy.
Apologizing is humbling and takes courage. To deliver an authentic apology, start by looking the other person(s) in the eye, say why you’re sorry, and explain the “because” behind your remorse. You might be surprised how grateful people will be after.
6. Be genuine.
This goes for more than just apologies. Being authentic in business can be what sets you apart from the competition. Being genuine as a person means acting the same on the outside, toward others, as you perceive yourself on the inside.
No one wants to do business or be in a relationship with someone who is phony and untrustworthy. Don’t be the person you wouldn’t want to be around or partner with.
7. Give back.
Whether its lending a hand on a tough project at the office, making a financial donation, or volunteering your time and skills to a charitable organization, giving to others feels good and spreads positivity where its often needed most.
As Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”