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10 Steps to Erasing a Tarnished Reputation

10 Steps to Erasing a Tarnished Reputation
    Change is an uphill battle you should be ready to fight.

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Sasha Williams

    Plant Powered Lifestyle Designer

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    Last Updated on August 6, 2020

    6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

    6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

    We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

    “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

    Are we speaking the same language?

    My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

    When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

    Am I being lazy?

    When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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    Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

    Early in the relationship:

    “Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

    When the relationship is established:

    “Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

    It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

    Have I actually got anything to say?

    When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

    A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

    When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

    Am I painting an accurate picture?

    One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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    How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

    Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

    What words am I using?

    It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

    Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

    Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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    Is the map really the territory?

    Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

    A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

    I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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