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3 Lies You Were Told As A Child

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3 Lies You Were Told As A Child

“My parents told me I’m special.”

“I got 30 Valentine’s Day cards this year, one from each of my classmates.”

“I have 30 more minutes to play outside before going home to finish my homework!”

Oh, the things we thought about as children. Looking back on these thoughts, they seem a bit ridiculous, don’t they?

They are a bit ridiculous — because they are lies.

As we grew up, everyone around us fed us beautiful and inspirational lines of uplifting protection. Our parents, our teachers, the movies we watched, the songs we listened to. They all had the very best intentions, but they all told us lies just the same.

This may seem a harsh judgement, but it’s something I’ve come to realize in my own life as I try to “succeed” in the “real world”, many light-years past that protected childhood. In the here and now, some of those well-intentioned lessons have come back to bite me in the backside. I know I’m not the only one.

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So, what are these lies you’ve been told?

Below, I’ll share a few of the lies we may have been told and how we can turn them around to work for us, instead of against us.

1. We all love you.

One thing’s for sure: our parents definitely love us, but that doesn’t mean everyone will.

Some clients, some colleagues, some random people on the street will dislike us for reasons unknown.

If we think that we’re supposed to be loved by everyone, how will we be able to handle it when we encounter someone who doesn’t?

When I first started my business, I thought working with people would be all sunny days and rainbows. Almost two years in, I know that’s just not the case. I wasn’t aware how difficult it would be to deal with the reality that some people didn’t have my best interests at heart.

It hurt, but it also presented incredible opportunity.

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Since then, I’ve learned to be more picky about who I work with, to pivot to work with people that I feel connected with and valued by.

Our parents may have been wrong — not everyone will love us — but we can choose to surround ourselves with people who do.

2. You can be anything you want to be.

This is the golden ticket of a hopeful future, which is the first wish for any parent out there.

As we grow up, we dream of being kindergarten teachers, firefighters, and more. Those dreams change, and we continually come up with new professions or projects we’d love to pursue.

What our parents told us leads us to believe that we can go after any of them and get the same result.

The truth is that we’re probably better at one type of project than another. Yes, we can learn and adapt and find success if we put in the time, but we also have a better shot at excelling at some things more than others.

Our parents weren’t telling us that we could be anything we want to be. They were telling us that we can succeed at anything we want.

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It may be true that, literally, you can try anything you want, but it’s not true that you will succeed at everything, right?

3. To be smart, all you need to do is study.

This is directly related to the lie above.

From the time we’re about four or five years old, we start an education process that lasts for another twenty years, depending on the career path.

Education is a critical part of our formation, but it’s not the only critical part.

Studying is important, but so is learning by doing.

Centuries ago, apprenticeships were the preferred method of learning a new craft. Under an experienced tutor, an apprentice will not only study the craft, but will also practice it.

Due to the education factory we’ve gone through since our childhood, we’re predisposed to take this “study first” approach to our projects. Is there a way to introduce the “learning by doing” approach, as well?

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Learning The Truth — Your Action Plan

Our parents have all the best intentions in the world, but there are some tweaks to the narrative they’ve taught us that could turn our lives around.

My advice? Forget the lies you’ve been told, and start building upon the truth to build your future.

I’d love to hear from you:

Are there ways to surpass the lies in our present?

How can we turn these into opportunities?

Have these lies helped us in some way?

I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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