Thursday, March 4, 2010

Make up your own mind

I remember so often my mother would lecture me about the people I used to associate with and date. To her credit she was right about the people I dated but wrong about the people I associated with and call friends. My mother and Aunt would lecture my late cousin Richard and I about dating beneath us and not being more discriminating about the people around us. However while I love mother there are issues best left unsaid as to why I did not head all of her suggestions. People who know me know I do not use the word love lightly and it is rare I say I love someone and people I respect have earned it over time.

My mother is a brilliant woman. I remember growing up she worked on her MS and though she never has done dissertation she has everything else she needs for a PhD. Watching her I learned you can approach life one of two ways – do what is easiest short term and pay for it long term, or do what is challenging short term to benefit long term.

That aside the benefit of not listening to everything my mother told me is that I have friends and associates ranging from age 15-80 who I respect and admire. My friend and associated bridge every gender, gender preference, ethnic group, profession and country and range from HS dropout to PhD and MDs. I know I can trust them and listen to their advice and believe me most of them will freely share it. I have couples who are now divorced that I am friends with both still because I refused to pick a side.

How did this happen – simple – I make up my own mind. I do not let someone else’s opinion or even my old baggage dictate who I associate with or who is my equal – in fact everyone starts and is spoken to as if there were my equal in all things and they by their words and actions decide if I am a person of value or not. For those who decided I was not of value the lesson learned was a person can hold you in no higher value than they do themselves and if they are not willing to sacrifice for themselves or respect themselves enough to challenge themselves to grow and change or prefer to meet the status quo and be entertained then they will not hold you in any higher value and often discard you as soon as you become inconvenient.

One of the things I do is listen very closely to what is being said and I ask
  • How does what they are saying affect them?
  • Does it make someone else look bad?
  • Does it make someone else look good?
  • Do they have a need to control others and tell them what to do and how best to do it?
  • Do they have a superiority or inferiority complex?
  • Are they telling me about someone to help me or so they do not have to share me?
  • Does what they are saying benefit me or benefit them?
I also watch how they treat animals. children and people who can do nothing for them very closely!

I have learned that my friends were the ones who more often than not
  • Tell/told me about the good things others (not themselves) are doing!
  • Are quick to admit their failing and shortcoming!
  • Do not place blame on others!
  • Will say things that are sometimes upsetting to me!
  • Tell me things for my own good which sometimes are to their own detriment!
  • Are humble and listen!
  • Are secure in who they are and the choices they made in life!
  • Offer suggestions that usually revolve around how I can better respect the thoughts and opinion of others!
  • Do not believe there is the best or only way nor have a great need to control others!
  • Believe they have a full time job working on themselves!
  • Often have experiences great loss or tragedy in their life!
  • Are not vary materialistic (despite some of them being comfortable financially)!

In college I remember a young lady I dated. Her friend told her all kinds of bad things about me and what I was doing – she listened – what she never realized is that her so called friend did that so she would break up with me and once she did that same friend hit on me – so what was her motivation?

Some time more recently I had a good friend who told me you are pissing these people off, while what you are saying may be right and true you need to shut up and stay far away from them. Pissed me off. There was no benefit for his telling me that – I listened – those same people eventually self destructed but they did not take me with them.

Here are the questions for the day to ponder
  • How secure are you with yourself?
  • Are you willing to grow into the person you need to become to progress in life?
  • Do you think for yourself?
  • Do you let fear control you?
  • Do you have an open or closed mind?
  • Do you let the past cloud your present?
  • Do you allow others to dictate your life choices?
  • Do you make excuses to justify your not achieving?
  • Do you rejoice in the achievements of others or do you wish It was you?
  • Do you function within a comfort zone of what is familiar that you feel you can control?
  • Do you look at the facts and make objective observations from which you draw conclusions based what repeated behaviors through first hand experience or do you make up your mind first and then quickly find the circumstance to let you say "see I was right!"

Why do I bring this up – because I have more than one friend/associate who blew me off and later came back to make peace with me because they followed the people who told them what they wanted to hear at the time and they paid a price (my friendship aside).

What I am hoping is that this will cause some of you to think and if nothing else not repeat my mistakes or theirs! Also I share this because if you want to be a business owner (an entrepreneur) you must if nothing else have your own mind and not be afraid to totally abandon your comfort zone!

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