Personal. Illustration of man and woman fighting.

Don’t take It Personally—Even When It’s Personal

It can be hard not to take things personally.

There are many situations in which we feel insulted, belittled, or attacked. People act in ways that don’t align with our most deeply held values or strongest beliefs and we feel it’s an affront to us personally. It doesn’t even have to be part of an interaction with us. We might see someone on TV or read about them spouting ideas that insult or offend us. Social media is another culprit. We see things all the time that make us incredulous. We can’t help but to leave a scathing comment in reply. Finally, we will invariably run across people who just don’t like us. So what can we do? How can we respond or react to these people appropriately? How can we not take it personally?

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Personal ledger. Two volunteers give each other a hug.

Your Impact on the World—Creating a Positive Personal Ledger

What’s your overall impression when you think about your impact on the world?

Most people would probably say that it’s positive but that they could probably do more. But many are not really aware of the range of impacts they have and are not intentional about understanding or targeting their impacts. Many impacts you have on the world, both positive and negative, are subtle. You might give someone a genuine smile and change the course of their day. You might unknowingly use a product with palm oil, not realizing that it’s leading to the extinction of species. When we think of our impacts, many of us only think about those impacts about which we’ve made choices, like giving money to a charity, when the bulk of our impacts do not rise to

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Align. Getting work done when she can get it done best.

Time and Energy — Aligning What You Do with How You Feel

How much of your daily schedule is out of your control?

Many of us may feel that our time is not really our own, that we have responsibilities that drive what we do on a day-to-day basis. But if we take a closer look, we’ll likely find that we have considerably more control over our schedules than we realize. At first glance, our schedules may be a densely populated mish-mash of work-related appointments (meetings, calls, travels), family commitments (doctor appointments, sports and school events), and, if we can fit them in, personal activities (hobbies, exercise, time with friends). If we prioritize them at all, it may be based on who is yelling the loudest or what the crisis is at the moment. However, it is possible to be intentional about our time, even for (especially for) the busiest of people, and if we are intentional, we may be able to cut back on some of the activities we feel we must do and schedule our activities for when we will be able to perform at our best.

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Escape. Woman in the woods moving toward the sun.

Living a Life from Which We Don’t Need Escape

Do you feel good about your life?

Are you generally excited about your days (or at least something about your days)? Do you feel the activities that make up your days have elements that are meaningful, fulfilling, and fun? When many consider their day-to-day lives, they may think about them as something to get through—something to endure until they can get on with the fun or meaningful part of their lives. Something they have to do until they can escape.

But it’s possible to build a life from which we don’t need to escape—a life that gives us what we need. But it takes some effort, and it requires us to be intentional, open-minded, and creative.

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Blank Slate. From nothing, a new image of a butterfly emerges.

Assume Nothing—The Benefits of a Blank Slate

All of us see and use patterns.

It’s how we get through life. If we didn’t assume people would behave a certain way or that the world wouldfollow physical laws or that our cars would work the same way, we would never get through the day. We would spend all our time experimenting—figuring out how things worked and how they responded to our interaction.

On the other hand, our assumptions about how things work can impede our ability to discover new things. Our need to see patterns can lead to a habit of seeing them where they may not exist. Patterns can be very helpful, but we should avoid assuming a pattern or some other condition if the potential for learning something new or different exists. Things aren’t always as they seem.

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