I could blindfold myself and throw a veggie dog into a group of strangers, and I know that the person it would hit would be guilty of at least one of the repulsive yet often observed human flaws listed below.
While we aren’t ever going to sprout wings and be puritanical saints all the time, it’s absolutely imperative that when we notice hideous character flaws in ourselves, we set a goal to change them. I have to set these goals on a daily basis, and though it pains me greatly to stop myself from being shallow, scared or loudmouthed, the effort is changing me as a human. That ability to trump my instincts is like tasting raw power. I feel like it might make me a good grandma, scratch that, aunt who tells it like it is, but with a bit of heart and a heap of learning.
In 2017, I propose that every human on the planet attempt to kick the next 10 behaviours out of their lives so they can move on to greener, better pastures.
1 – Stop doing things to put yourself above others. No matter what car you drive, how much money is in your bank account, or how ridiculously overpriced your underwear is, you are going to be buried under the same dirt or tossed over the same cliff as the rest of us eventually. You can’t take these things with you, and besides, have you ever stopped to ask yourself where they all came from? “Things” can make us all feel good from time to time. However, rubbing those things in someone’s face or using those things to measure your greatness or someone else’s lack thereof is pretty lame. Fine, tote the LV handbag, but maybe tilt your nose a little further south if you can at all help it.
2 – Stop giving hard times out like candy. Negative energy sucks for everyone it flows through. Running people through hell becomes a hobby for some people who are bored. They create a world of brimstone in which to live. Why get other people involved in your misery by criticizing, abusing, nagging, and making life difficult? If you’re the guy who steals ideas at work, the girl who keeps her kid from seeing his father, the neighbor who leaves trash on his lawn, or the man at the gym who sneezes into the water fountain and doesn’t re-rack weights, stop. Think about your actions and how they impact others. Be mindful, and spend more time spreading light than covering your world in a cloak of darkness and phlegm.
3 – Remember that you only live once. Acting like you have nine lives doesn’t necessarily turn out in the wash. Take time each day to remember that you only live once, and you’ll find that small things will bother you less and happiness will be your priority. Regardless of your weight, bank account or address, there is beauty in being alive that we should be paying very close attention to. This is pretty hard to do when you’re stressed, drunk, hung-over, anxious or just a career jerk. In short, remove the obstacles that blind you and limit your realization of the short precious time we have on earth and you’ll find that your attitude shifts with very little effort.
4 – Stop being a human slug and take some pride in your appearance. Basic self-care includes showers, exercise, nutritionally balanced meals and adequate sleep. These measures will make you a person everyone can stand being around. Make sure your contribution to the world is not your stink, overtired yawns or dirty fingernails, but your fresh face, twinkling eyes and meaningful presence. These will be a perpetual wellspring of happiness for you and a serious attractant to those you meet.
5 – Evolve. Coaches need coaches. Teachers need teachers. The learned need educating. Outright refusal to learn and grow is vomitesque. Humans are born curious and able to see the other side of each coin if they try. Ditch the selfish attitude and the jealousy, and learn to be happy for other people. Good people try their best to understand where others come from in terms of geography, religion, and personality which in turn helps them to undergo their own process of evolution and personal growth. Always remember that your ride is not the ride of others, and trying to force someone onto your bus of black and white living is annoying, petty and common.
6 – Pinkies turned up, elbows off the table! Rules, regulations, prim and proper manners…do they all really matter that much in the end? You don’t need to be in a race to be the mature, level headed one at every turn. The Debbie Downer that constantly brings the “that’s dangerous” to every adventurous dreamer in the room sucks. There’s nothing worse than hearing why we should be scared of every activity on the planet. Sameness and consistency shouldn’t always win. Being the pusher of “grow up” steals childhood from kids and playfulness away from life. You might not believe in the magic of Santa, but you’re a real jerk if you’re telling small children that he doesn’t exist! Be playful, believe in magic, and enjoy rubbing spaghetti in someone’s face once in a while.
7 – Your pants have been on fire for your entire life. I’m not sure how you’re still alive. Sure, everybody has a few white lies they tell to get by, but when you’ve crafted a foundation of lies as the basis for who you are as a human, it gets old and gross. Lies become unmanageable, and your tall tales get in everyone’s way, including your own. Telling the ugly truth takes far less work than carrying a bag full of fully leaded BS.
8 – Why pretend to be nice, giving or happy if that’s not who you are? If your mission in life is to channel Bela Lugosi, own it so that the rest of us can stay away from you. It’s really a great thing to see someone own who they are, warts and all. Maybe you’re always going to be the villain. Heck, we need ‘em, so go out and get an Oscar doing it. Just drop the sheep’s robe at the door.
9 – Stop blaming everyone else for your shortcomings. I’m not the only person on earth who should be admitting on a weekly basis that I’ve screwed up. Owning bad behaviour is part of coming into ourselves, trusting the path we are on and being gracious humans. Having to watch someone squirm through excuses not only takes away their credibility as a full-fledged adult, it also causes serious eye damage to anyone in the room who is trapped rolling theirs backward. Here’s a crafty mantra to battle this problem in 2017: It’s not you, it’s me.
10 – This last one is for my doppelgangers and me. Stop reacting in anger and fear to things you don’t understand. You need to take the time to digest where a person is coming from or what their true intentions are before you vow to murder them in a violent fit of anger. Sometimes reading an email thrice works, sometimes asking for clarification works even better. The best you can hope for is to engage in intelligent conversation about the matter, understand, appreciate and let go. Harboring ill will is a bad form of self-poisoning that will stop your heart. Since you only have one of those, I’d suggest making the most of it every single day.