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15 Things You Can Do to Be a Better Person

15 Things You Can Do to Be a Better Person

We’re all on a journey of growth, change and evolution, and hopefully most of us are trying to make a conscious effort to be better human beings. I’m not talking about being better at math, or improving running speed, but being more aware, compassionate, kind, noble, and honourable. None of us are perfect, but by engaging in some of the examples listed below, maybe we can leave this world a little brighter than how we found it.

Kindness

    Photo: Jesper Sachmann, via Flickr

    Let Go

    Learn to let go of pain, anger, bitterness, resentment, and all the other destructive emotions that tear us apart. All we ever have is this present moment; this breath, this heartbeat, this opportunity for growth and presence. This is a moment we’ll never get back again, and if we consider the fact that we have no idea how long we’ll live, do we want to waste precious moments roiling with emotions that don’t do any good for anyone? What’s passed is past, and tomorrow doesn’t exist. Be present, and do not hold on to negativity.

    Consider the Consequences of Every Action

    Being conscientious is extremely important, as every action causes ripples that extend far beyond what can immediately be seen. For example: if you throw a piece of litter on the ground, not only does that pollute the environment, but if there are any children around to see you do so, they might think that such behaviour is acceptable, and then they’ll do the same, and so on.

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    Be Willing to Admit Ignorance, So You Can Learn

    Very few people seem to be comfortable with admitting that they don’t know something. Maybe they feel that admitting ignorance about a subject will make them seem stupid, so they’ll feign knowledge and attempt to go with the flow in any given situation. This is highly detrimental on many counts, from a person being seen as an insufferable know-it-all, to projects going awry because an employee claimed to know something they didn’t.

    If you don’t know something, admit to your lack of knowledge, and then immerse yourself in the subject so that you familiarize yourself with it. The universe is full of things that we don’t know, but the only way to grow and change is to open ourselves to opportunities to learn… and those won’t come about if we don’t leave space for them by saying “I know” to everything.

    Try to Be Less Judgemental

    This is something we’re all guilty of on occasion, but we can be conscious of this behaviour and try to lessen it over time. Each and every one of us is on a difficult journey, and we have absolutely no right to judge another’s life choices, especially since we may not have any idea what their lives have been like. Remember that none of us are any greater or lesser than any other, so approach all with an open mind and open heart, as equal travellers on life’s road.

    Consider Another’s Point of View

    When faced with a viewpoint that differs from theirs, many people get defensive, and lash out. I’m sure we’ve all seen comment discussions on Facebook or other webpages that began with a simple difference of opinion, but then dissolved into name-calling, insults, and other abusive language. What’s the point of that, really? If someone’s opinion differs from yours, try to understand their point of view—you don’t have to agree with them, but that doesn’t mean that they should be insulted or made fun of for thinking differently.

    Be Generous with Compliments

    We will all go through difficult times, including periods in which we might not feel great about ourselves. Relationships can fall apart, jobs can be lost, school subjects can be failed, and emotional upheaval generally accompanies each of these experiences. Do you remember what it felt like the last time someone told you something wonderful that they thought about you? Imagine what others will experience when you say something lovely to them out of the blue.

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    You don’t necessarily have to approach a stranger to tell them that you like their hair/clothes/etc. (although you can absolutely do this as long as you’re not creepy about it), but you can even send someone a quick text or email to tell them something great. A simple line such as: “I was thinking about you today, and wanted to let you know how grateful I am to have someone as amazing as you in my life” can change the entire course of someone’s day, and you can rest assured that they’ll pay that beauty forward.

    Cultivate Empathy and Compassion

    We won’t always understand what another is going through via firsthand experience, but we can try to put ourselves in their shoes in order to have a bit more patience and compassion for them. Let’s say that you’ve been frustrated with someone because they’ve been complaining about their kids non-stop for weeks, and you just wish they’d shut the hell up for a change. Rather than focusing on your own irritation at their sprog-talk, think about where they’re coming from. They may not have slept properly for weeks, or may be incredibly worn out dealing with an autistic or special-needs child. Are they getting the help they need? Is this person in despair? Are they reaching out for any measure of comfort?

    We’re often so blinded by our own emotions and responses to situations that we don’t consider the bigger picture, but taking a step back and analysing the situation can shed a lot of light, and help us change our thoughts and actions accordingly.

    Study History, Even if it’s Uncomfortable to Do

    Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, which is why it’s so vital to really be aware of what has happened in the past; so we’re well aware of what brought us to where we are now, and how we can avoid their recurrence in the future. If you’re unfamiliar with the African slave trade, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, Cambodia’s killing fields, the Cathar Heresy, Pinochet’s regime, the Trail of Tears, and countless other atrocities that most people don’t even want to think about, let alone remember, it’s a good idea to delve into them. It’ll hurt like hell to do so, but it’s incredibly important to know about such topics so we can ensure that they never happen again.

    Spend Time in Nature

    The Senegalese ecologist Baba Dioum once said: “In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” He was quite right, wasn’t he? If people are only exposed to material wealth, that’s what they will cherish and place priority upon. By spending time in nature, we can learn to appreciate all the beauty that the natural world provides.

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    Spending time in the forest can also have a marked effect on our well being: in Japan, “forest therapy” is becoming more popular, as the natural environment can lower blood pressure and stress in those who spend at least 20 minutes immersed in a wooded environment.

    Baby Sparrow

      Photo: the author

      Help Those Who Cannot Help Themselves

      Take in abandoned kittens to foster, or help to rehabilitate an injured bird. Stop in at a retirement home, hospice, or children’s hospital a couple of times per month to assist in volunteer programs. There are so many beings out there (both human and non) who could use a helping hand, and making a connection with a being who is vulnerable and in need of our help, is a life-changing experience. You cannot help but discover vital aspects about your self and your place in the world when you care for another.

      Get to Know Different People

      In many cities around the world, libraries participate in a “human library” project: folks from all backgrounds and walks of life volunteer a few hours of their time, and you can take the opportunity to sit down and chat with them for a little while. You may have never had the chance to chat with a Buddhist monk, a lesbian single mother, a Wiccan priestess, a police officer, an Imam from your local mosque, an ex gang member, or a person who has been disfigured in a fire or accident, but by sitting down and chatting with them (especially in an environment where no question is considered “stupid”), you can have the opportunity to connect on a very human level and move past any preconceptions or prejudices.

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      If your city doesn’t have one of these libraries, consider taking the time to seek out those whom you have always been curious about—you may discover that they are far more open to chatting with you than you’d expected. We all like to be understood and respected for who we are, and open dialogues are so conducive to greater compassion and acceptance of differences.

      Along that very line…

      Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

      This could mean immersing yourself in subject matter that you’re unfamiliar with (or even vaguely uncomfortable with) as a means to understand others more, going to a festival centred around a culture other than your own, attending religious services for a faith other than yours, or even just trying a new food. Every experience helps us grow as individuals, and even if you find that whatever you tried isn’t to your taste, at least your opinion stems from a place of awareness and experience, rather than just aversion and preconception.

      Speak Gently

      That seems like a simple concept, but it can be fairly difficult in practice. There’s a song by The Smiths that contains the lyrics: “It’s so easy to laugh. It’s so easy to hate. It takes strength to be gentle and kind”, and those are quite apt, aren’t they? Most of us are quite harried and stressed out, and it’s easy to overlook social niceties like thanking fast food workers, or excusing yourself if you bump into someone. Remember that people will always remember how you treated them, even if it’s just a couple of words tossed in their direction, so make them count.

      Practice Random Acts of Kindness

      This goes along with the previous recommendation, and can also make a monumental impact on more people than you can imagine. Paying for someone else’s coffee, offering your seat on the subway to an elderly passenger, or even just putting a bowl of water outside your workplace for dogs to drink from are just a few examples of little acts that can mean a great deal to others.

      Appreciate Beauty, and Share It When You Can

      There is an abundance of beauty around us at all times, if we but take a moment to really notice and appreciate it. Music, art, literature, nature, a partner’s smile, an animal’s friendship—these are all gorgeous, beautiful gifts that make life worth living. Appreciate them, be creative in your own way so you can bring even more beauty into the world, and share bits of joy as you come across them; you might just change another person’s life by doing so.

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      Catherine Winter

      Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on September 28, 2020

      30 Powerful Success and Failure Quotes That Will Lead You to Success

      30 Powerful Success and Failure Quotes That Will Lead You to Success

      No one can live a positive life without failing. However, many people experience a fear of failure, despite its inevitability in life. Failure, as you will see from these 30 success and failure quotes, is the key ingredient for the recipe of success!

      Today’s society is obsessed with success and achievement, and failure is definitely NOT part of the equation. Failure and making mistakes is hidden away or seen as a human weakness.

      However, if you avoid making mistakes in life, struggle to do everything right, and are obsessed with perfection and order, then living and experiencing a successful and happy life is going to be impossible.

      Embrace your failure, whether it is one failure or many failures, because with the right attitude and a willingness to learn from your mistakes, you are guaranteed a lifetime of success. Here are some uplifting quotes about failure and success to help you get started.

      1. “Never let success get to your head; never let failure get to your heart.” -Anonymous

      This quote is important for those of us who feel downtrodden after every failure, heartbroken, if you will. If you let failure get you down for more than a couple of days, you’re wasting away your chance to bounce back from it.

      On the other hand, if you allow yourself to build an inflated ego after every success, future failures may be even harder to cope with. Maintain a sense of humility and gratitude for each success and failure you find.

      2. “Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie?” -Marilyn Monroe

      Marilyn Monroe is spot on with this one. The first person who should be there to catch you when you fall is you. You have to be your own best advocate, the person to build you up when it feels like everything is going wrong. The others in your support system are just icing on the cake.

      3. “You always pass failure on your way to success.” -Mickey Rooney

      In today’s competitive world, it’s hard to understand that almost no one experiences failure before they experience genuine, lasting success. Failure is what forces you to learn in order to achieve that goal you’ve been working up to.

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      4. “Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.” -Chinese proverb

      Everyone falls. Those who refuse to pick themselves back up, no matter if it’s after two days or two years, are the true failures.

      5. “Successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from.” -Robert Kiyosaki

      There are many success and failure quotes on this idea, and that’s because it’s so very important. Learning doesn’t happen when things are easy. It happens when things get tough and you have to find a way through challenges.

      6. “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” -Barack Obama

      No one can escape failure. If you let it keep you down and shying away from achieving your goals, you’ve failed again. If you learn from it and continue on your path toward greatness, it wasn’t a true failure but a lesson.

      7. “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” -Og Mandion

      Determination is one of the best antidotes to failure. Even if you take two steps forward and one step back, you’re still moving forward with grit and determination. Keep going!

      8. “Fear regret more than failure.” -Taryn Rose

      At the end of your life, what do you think you’ll feel worst about, failing or never trying?

      9. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” -Nelson Mandela

      If anyone has enough insight to offer us success and failure quotes, it’s Nelson Mandela. He learned that that path to success (and freedom) is full of setbacks. His determination, however, led him to make amazing changes in the world around him. Now that’s success.

      10. “The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” -Paulo Coelho

      Each time you get back up, it will get easier and easier, and you’ll realize each time that those failures are the greatest lessons life will ever give you.

      11. “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” -Napoleon Hill

      Unfortunately, many people stop trying after a large failure comes their way. They lose their confidence, determination, and will. However, success usually follows quickly behind these huge failures because you’ve inevitably learned what not to do.

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      Don’t stop with the huge failure. Take a few more steps and see if it gets you where you wanted to go.

      12. I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas Alva Edison

      Through his success and failure quotes, Thomas Edison shows us that failures are only truly failures if you don’t learn the lesson they offer.

      13. “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” -Bill Gates

      Celebrating success feels good, but learning the lessons of failure is where growth occurs[1], which can lead you to even greater successes.

      14. “The only thing that separates success from failure is one last attempt. Try one more time and you will get lucky.” -Apoorve Dubey

      Every success comes from an attempt. If you don’t try one more time, you’ll never know if it could’ve been your big chance at big success.

      15. “Failure is a detour; not a dead-end street.” -Zig Ziglar

      Many people get impatient with failure. They feel that it’s a stopping point, or a road that’s too long to walk. However, the patience to take that new road is exactly what’s necessary to find success. If success is easy to find, it likely won’t last very long.

      16. “In the real world, very smart people fail, and mediocre people rise. Part of what makes people fail or succeed are skills that have nothing to do with IQ. Also, the idea that intelligence can be gauged by an IQ test is erroneous.” -Camille Paglia

      Failure is not a sign of a lack of intelligence, as Paglia suggests. Failure is a sign of great intelligence and great courage. She also points out the important point that intelligence takes many forms, and it’s often the grit and maturity to accept failure for the temporary setback that it is.

      17. “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” -Oprah Winfrey

      Queens will always be queens, no matter if they experience success or failure. And you will always be you, so use that to your advantage, and take the risk of failure in order to reach success.

      18. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” -J.K. Rowling

      Living a life free of failure generally means you have lived a boring, uneventful life. Is it really worth it?

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      19. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” -Richard Branson

      If you’ve ever watched a child learn to walk, you know that Branson’s success and failure quotes are true. Children are determined. They fall, and they get back up. And then they learn, and soon they’re running.

      20. “Success or failure is caused more by mental attitude than by mental capacity.” -Walter Scott

      Scott knows that intelligence is less of a determining factor in success than determination or ruthless optimism. Set yourself up for success by cultivating both.

      21. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again. That is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan

      Michael Jordan knows failure, and yet we know him as an incredibly successful person. Why? Because he never let the failures stop him from moving on.

      22. “There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.” -José N. Harris

      The secrets to success are pretty simple, and living a full life is only possible once you learn that getting up after a failure will bring a great sense of satisfaction and joy.

      23. “All people fail at certain instances in their lives, the only thing that makes them different is how they manage to stand up or how they choose to fail again.” -Unknown

      If you fail, you’re like the vast majority of the world. What makes you different is how you choose to respond.

      24. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” -Robert Kennedy

      If you aim high, even if you fall short you’ll still likely be ahead of the majority of people. Take the time in life to fail greatly because that’s where you’ll find your true self.

      25. “Failure is good as long as it doesn’t become a habit.” -Michael Eisner

      If you continue to make the same mistakes, you’re not learning from your failures. This is when it becomes a destructive habit instead of a moment to propel you toward success.

      26. “If you are afraid of failure, you don’t deserve to be successful.” -Charles Barkley

      Only those who are willing to accept the hard emotions that come along with failure will be those who will enjoy the good feelings of genuine success.

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      27. “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. It is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.” -William A. Ward

      In his success and failure quotes, Ward points out something important. Failure is often seen as a death stroke, something that stops our success. If we shift our perspective and look upon failure as a teacher instead, we will likely feel very differently about those moments in our life and see that failure is delay, not death.

      28. “Courage allows the successful woman to fail and learn powerful lessons from the failure. So that in the end, she didn’t fail at all.” -Maya Angelou

      We’ve been here before. Failure is only failure if you don’t learn from it. Let yourself get a bad grade on the test; you’ll study differently next time. Let yourself fail at a relationship; you know how to build a healthier relationship next time.

      Every failure brings a lesson. Learn it and move on.

      29. “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.” -William Saroyan

      If you think of the moments you learned and grew the most, were they easy times or hard times? Challenges make us better, smarter people[2]. You don’t get wise through an easy life.

      30. “Don’t fear failure—not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” -Bruce Lee

      If you try to achieve something great, even a failure feels like a success. At least you had the courage to try. That’s more than most can say.

      More Inspirational Quotes

      Featured photo credit: Gabrielle Henderson via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Harvard Business Review: Strategies for Learning from Failure
      [2] Psychology Today: How Greater Challenges Help You Grow

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