Show Off. Young Man Pointing to himself.

Show Off

Do you feel the need to make sure people are aware of your successes and triumphs?

I mean, what good is success if no one knows about it, right? Seems simple enough, but being a braggart or a show-off is never very attractive in a person. It really depends on the way we reveal what we’ve accomplished.

From a very young age, people have an innate urge to show off. From doing something to impress our parents (“Dad, look at me!”), to trying to impress a coach or a teacher, to trying to win over that first crush, exhibiting ourselves to impress others is very much part of the human condition.

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Outlook

If you had to characterize yourself one way or the other, would you say that you’re an optimist or a pessimist?

There is a lot of territory in between, and there are other qualities that can affect our overall outlook: being realistic, for example.

Although I would generally consider myself an optimist, I aspire to be a “positive realist” (copyright pending). Having a positive attitude should not involve the denial of undesirable truths.

It’s easy to be optimistic when things are going well. On days when the sun is shining and things are going according to plan, it seems like everyone’s an optimist. It’s when things start to go off track that you discover what people’s real outlooks are.

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Surprise. A young man surprised at the wonder of the world.

Surprise

Surprise!!!

Some people love surprises. The rush that comes with something startling or unexpected can be a welcome and sometimes dramatic alternative to our routine existence.

Others hate them. They might dislike deviating from their carefully crafted schedules. They may feel uncomfortable with anything that alters their perspective or opinions. They may not like the feeling of being startled.

Whether we like surprises depends on what we focus on when we think about surprise. There’s the “surprise party” kind of surprise, which involves both being startled and an unexpected event and people. There’s also the kind of surprise that involves an unexpected realization and the impact of knowledge or information that is significantly different from what we previously thought. Which we focus on makes a big difference to our comfort level.

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Trust. Three rock climbers helping one from falling.

Trust

How many people in the world do you trust completely?

People you trust not to lie to you, cheat you, or steal from you—this is garden-variety trust.

How many people do you trust enough for you to share who you really are? How many people do you know in your heart have your back? How many people could you trust with your life?

Try to list those people.

For many of us, the number of people like that in our lives can be counted on one hand, and the truth is we are lucky if we have one or two. But before we start weeping silently into our oatmeal, let’s think about the dynamics of what it takes to be trustworthy.

Each of us has to trust ourselves first. If we don’t, we lack the fundamental basis for trust. We have to trust ourselves that we will act in our own best interest. We have to trust that we will create a life for ourselves that we can use as a foundation to do great things. We have to trust that we will give ourselves a stable emotional base.

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You. Blue Panoramic Butterflies with Golden one at center.

You

Make your life about you.

On the surface, this may sound selfish or self-centered, but if you dig deeper into what this means, it should mean just the opposite. Putting a mark on the world that is uniquely yours. Making your life about you means bringing your own special set of talents, passions, and your own energy to everything that you do. By doing this, you will be giving the best of yourself to the world.

Be generous, but bring your generosity to bear in ways that are important and meaningful to you. You might say, “We should be generous to all those in need, not only those people and causes that we care about.” But if you think about it, it is not possible to be generous to everyone who needs it. We all have to make choices, and if our generosity is targeted and focused, it will be much more effective, and we will be more motivated to be generous.

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