In “Work Smarter, Not Harder” we discussed the steps to setting qualified goals for ourselves. Setting goals is essential to any progress whether as a company or an individual. This blog is going to deal with you, as an individual, because, let’s face it, change starts on the home front. A new world begins with ‘new’ people. So how does one become new? Well, I think we can break it down with the Acronym B.R.A.V.E. which stands for Behaviors, Relationships, Attitudes, Values and Environments. Let’s look at that a little deeper.
Behaviors in a New World
Behaviors are the ways in which a person acts or conducts themselves, especially towards others. Some behaviors are believed to be learned traits that we pick up in our adolescent years which carry over into our adulthood. Typically, they develop as a result of experiences had, and the way we deal with and work through those experiences.
The rest of the behaviors would be called innate and are ‘genetically hardwired’ into our being. For animals these could include spinning a web as a spider or nest building for birds. No one had to teach them these traits, they simply knew what to do. These are also called instinctive behaviors and are not learned, but simply known.
Whether learned or unlearned, however, we have the ability, as adults, to control these behaviors. The frontal cortical areas of the human brain oversee behavioral control through executive functions. This is what allows us to change our behaviors, even the ones we do that we never had to be taught. I say all of this to say, ‘your behaviors are changeable and therefore not an excuse for acting in a negative way.’ Keep that in mind as we continue. You are in control.
Relationships for a New World
Relationships are a major part of who we are as people, both individually and as a group. These include significant others, family and friends. The people you allow to be a part of your life and your circle are the people you have ‘relationships’ with. But what do those relationships have to do with you? Everything.
Proven links between people and their relationships include lower rates of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, greater empathy, and more trust. They build cooperation. Strong, healthy relationships can also help to strengthen your immune system, help you recover from disease, and may even lengthen your life.
We also know that the people we surround ourselves with directly impact the way we act, also known as our behaviors. If you surround yourself with negative people, you yourself will become negative and down. Conversely, if you surround yourself with positive people you will inevitably become more positive. So your friends’ and families’ behaviors affect you, and your behaviors directly impact them as well.
Attitudes for a New World
I would argue strongly that attitude is the most important attribute to any person. A bad attitude causes you to see everything as ‘bad’. A good day is bad and a bad day is worse. One small mishap can ruin a day, a year and even a life. People with bad attitudes learn to hate and justify that hate. They begin to believe the new world is broken and irreparable. In terms of light and dark, a bad attitude drowns out the light with darkness.
Conversely, the opposite is true. With good attitudes comes positive outlooks on circumstances and opportunities. Good attitudes make the worst days good and good days even better. They support other positive people and even try to draw up those whose attitudes are on the borderline. In terms of light and dark, good attitudes shine in the darkness and that darkness can never overcome them.
So how does one change their attitude? These are not the perfect ingredients but they have been tested and shown to help.
- Do good for people who can’t return your generosity (And don’t expect them to)
- View setbacks as an opportunity to advance yourself
- Surround yourself by those who have positive attitudes: Do as they do
- Don’t take things so seriously
- Forgive others no matter what… forgive
Values of a New World
Values are “a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.” They are a foundation of what the world needs and also the largest divider among people. Think about it. Our values are individualized and yet, they create such wide chasms of division in our homes, states, country and world. These values are often grouped by religions, which we have seen come to odds with one another. One religion against another, and more often people within the same religion divided among themselves.
Values cross more than just religion, however, as we see those same divisions economically, politically and socially. Things like whether to wear a mask during this pandemic is one of the big ones that stands out. But also, abortion, the death penalty, systematic racism and social inequalities are born of our personal and individualized values. That being said, I believe values are hugely important in being who we are. However, it is NEVER ok to force those values on others. Discussion is great (wonderful in fact) but at the end of the day as long as our values aren’t oppressing others, we should simply let life flow.
I would implore all of us to ‘walk a mile in their shoes’ before we get mad at someone who doesn’t see things the way we do. FIRST, try to see the world through their eyes. This admonition seeks that before judging someone, we understand their experiences, challenges, thought processes and everything else that goes through their heads BEFORE we get mad that they don’t think the way we do.
Everyone just needs to chill out and be kind and patient and gentle in our handlings of ourselves and others.
Environments of a New World
The ‘climate’ of 2020 was ROUGH. It was an environment of tension with looming thoughts of war and riots and in-fighting across the political isles. 2020 was a year of fear with a war against human rights that were threatened to be stripped away and unsettling elections with unclear outcomes. It was a year of frustration as we saw police brutality against black Americans seeking equal treatment under the law.
It was a ROUGH environment, but it was one that was wrought to life by our own accord. Leadership that didn’t handle things the way they should have. We look to politicians who were divisive in their speech and actions, pulling the American people further apart. We created this environment by not caring to listen to one another (that goes for EVERYONE across the board… YES YOU!) We allowed this environment to exist by allowing media outlets to tell us the news using words that were designed to sway us, divide us, while maintaining the façade of truth. 2020 stoked this environment because we looked outwardly before we fixed ourselves inwardly.
Bring it all Together!
So, how do we fix it? How do we form a better environment? We look inwardly first, fixing our attitudes and focusing on positivity and goodness and the care for all people. We can change the environment by sticking to our values and LIVING those values everyday without being hypocritical. Let us look to understand others and their values as well. This environment can be changed by forming strong relationships with a diverse group of people who will challenge us to be better than we are and will support us and love us through that constant transformation. And lastly, we can make a new environment, a new world, by altering our behaviors even when it goes against the way we were hardwired as kids.
We need to face this brave new world together! We need each other because we are strongest when we are united! Let us come together to bring the great new brave world into fruition as we look forward to OUR brighter tomorrow!
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