Appreciate Yourself and Others

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Upon entering a new year, many of us think of things on which we can
focus to help surpass who we were and what we accomplished in our personal
and professional lives the year before. Let me suggest these things should
include assessing talents, gifts and skills, and then working to develop and
use them more completely.
Another suggestion is to make lists of all the things for which we have
to be grateful. We often take such things for granted. On page 56 of my
“Winning Thoughts” book are some words that a woman recently told me she
appreciated more than anything else in the book. The words simply read,
“When you find happiness, be sure to stop and enjoy it, or you might never
know you had it.”
Make sure you laugh everyday this year – even when you don’t feel like
it. Take what you do seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. We’ve
all heard or said, “I have to laugh to keep from crying,” or as Dave Barry
put it, “We have to laugh to keep from going insane.” We can choose to see
the humor in nearly every situation, or we can regularly choose to become
angry, bitter, despondent or too involved in the details.
Goals are always important topics as a new year begins. As you work
toward high goals, it is encouraging to accomplish lower goals as early as
possible. Remember the adage, “Nothing succeeds like success.” That’s the
importance of celebrating small, daily goals on the way to weekly, monthly,
quarterly, annual and longer-term goals.
Another suggestion is that on the first day of a new year it would be
good to determine the person or people you are going to forgive and then
proceed to do it as soon as you can. Holding onto grudges saps energy and
affects us negatively in many ways. Forgive someone that hurt you, either
perceived or in reality. You will feel better about that person and
yourself.
And this leads to the climatic thing I want to mention in this column –
getting along with others. “Relationship Skills – The Answer Begins With
You” was a popular presentation topic for me this past year. I was not
surprised. It has been popular for years and will continue to be. People’s
interest in improving human relations has been a top priority for as long as
I can remember. Of course, Dale Carnegie and his protégés built an industry
on “How To Win Friends And Influence People.”
As I see it, the first principle in improving relationship skills is to
help people feel important – because they are. It is vital for us to
remember that we all come from various backgrounds with our own concerns,
challenges, problems, negatives, positives, joys and “bragging rights.”
Author Frederick Collins wrote, “There are two types of people – those who
come into a room and say, “Well, here I am,” and those who come in and say,
“Ah, there you are.” Mark Twain declared, “Nothing that grieves us can be
called little: by the eternal laws of proportion, a child’s loss of a doll
and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.”
In a 2006 novel titled “A Disorder Peculiar To The Country,” Ken Kalfus
wrote, “One of the aspects of human existence is that our individual
day-to-day lives are bigger to us than events we read about in the
newspapers. If you’re having a fight with your spouse, it might take up a
good deal more of your attention than the crisis in Darfur. This is not
meant to call people selfish, but it is the basis of human existence…”
(The novel describes the toxic relationship of a divorcing couple against
the backdrop of the 9/11 attacks.)
Sincerely celebrate and laugh with people. Sincerely comfort and cry with
people. Sincerely help people feel important as you appreciate yourself.
Happy New Year to you – and to the people with whom you associate!

Carl Mays, author of over a dozen books and speaker at over 3,000 events, can be contacted at 865-436-7478 or carlmays@carlmays.com. His books, including A Strategy For Winning, People of Passion, Anatomy Of A Leader, Are We Communicating Yet? and Winning Thoughts, are available in stores, on www.carlmays.com and Amazon.com.
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