“If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal!” – Brene Brown
If you’re reading this, congratulations! You’re brave. You saw “challenges” in the headline of this post yet still you chose to read it. Perhaps, like me, you enjoy a challenge. In which case, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to discover a list I wrote specifically for you of 10 daily challenges that will surely enhance your life!
1. Try to make at least one person’s day, every day.
5. Carve out time for family and friends.
7. Carve out time for you to be alone and quiet.
8. Make a great memory and don’t tell anyone about it.
9. Treat every encounter you have as if it is the most important thing you have going on that day.
10. Do something that scares you, or at least pushes you beyond your comfort zone.
Be sure to follow up in the comments section and let me know how these challenges are serving to enhance your life!
Have you ever wondered why you’re always the first to apologize after an argument, even when you know you’ve done nothing wrong? Are you baffled by the fact that the manipulative guy who sits next to you at work got the promotion when you didn’t, even though you know you deserved it? Why are you the one who was always bullied at school? Why have you once again allowed your “friend” to borrow money knowing darn well they will never pay you back? I think we have all, at some point or another, asked ourselves these questions. The fact is, in our rapidly changing world, nice guys (and girls) really do finish last.
It’s been a hard realization for me to come to. The world isn’t a nice place. Sure, it’s lovely and certainly, it can be romantic, but nice? Hardly. As a self-proclaimed nice girl in my mid twenties, I’m just now learning to face this difficult reality and I sincerely believe it’s one of the most important truths we have to face coming into adulthood.
I’ve spent much of my life living out traditional values such as, work hard and be rewarded; be honest and loyal; be patient, caring, and giving; good things come to those who wait; trust in human nature and the goodness of your fellow man; give people the benefit of the doubt. Sure, these are all ways that the world should work, if everyone had a clear moral compass. But the fact is, many people do not, and this number is increasing daily.
Perhaps you’ve been like me, living with rose-colored glasses that are distorting your view of what’s really happening around you and to you. It’s time we take our blinders off. Without vigilant awareness of our surroundings, we will get mugged (metaphorically or literally). And so, we must be realists. Kind realists.
- Life is a game: be a player or get played. Whether it’s life experiences, mental illness, drugs, greed, or a score of other reasons, there are people in this world who operate from a place of exploitiveness. And you will undoubtedly cross paths with many of them. In fact, chances are, there are people in your life right now who will hurt you if you let them. The key is watching out for people like this. Don’t take everyone for face value. Search for what drives the people in your life. And surround yourself with those who share your moral compass.
- Competition at work, in relationships, and even in families is inevitable, so you better get your game face on. So much of life is a competition. We may wish that it wasn’t, but it is. If you step back and look at it, it’s clear. You’ve competed for your mate, your job, your friends, and social position. And now, you must fight to protect those things. Like it or not, we must continually and boldly confront our world head on, even the ugly and nasty sides of it.
- People are looking out for their own interests. And you should be too. Do you know what the most glorious word in the human language is to anyone alive today? According to relationship and life skills expert, Dale Carnegie, it’s their own name. People like themselves. And as a whole, humanity is selfish. While some people are wondering why life isn’t fair, others are seizing the moment. They’re not timid. They’re bold enough to step up and ask for what they want. And they ask again and again until they get it. The point is, if you don’t look out for your own best interests, who will?
- You train people how to treat you. In other words, people will treat you how you let them. In relationships, and life, you have to hold your own. You can do this while still being as sweet as a peach. Just remember, inside every peach there is a strong pit. And there is no way to hold your own while simultaneously accepting rude behavior. For example, there is no need to explain the obvious when someone is disrespectful towards you. In the words of Sherry Argov, “Truly powerful people don’t explain why they want respect. They simply don’t engage anyone who doesn’t give it to them.”
- Doing unto others as you wish they would do unto you doesn’t always get you what you want, need, or deserve. Again, this relates to seeing the world as it is and realizing that not everyone is as nice as you. Let’s replace the old adage with, “Do unto others, after they have proven they are worthy.”
- Only in a fairytale world does love conquer all. It’s a good story to tell, and it’s how we all wish the world was, but it is not the world we live in. A more accurate and relevant depiction might be, “Love conquers you, when you give all.”
- We are all taught to “love thy neighbor,” but perhaps, you ought to love yourself first. Then your neighbor will be much happier living beside you. You are no use to anyone unless you first help yourself. So remember this the next time you find yourself bending over backwards to meet others’ needs while neglecting your own.
- It is better to give and receive. Ever notice how nice people seem to give, give, and give yet they get nothing in return? This is because nice people invest in others, even when others aren’t investing in them. The result? They feel depleted, used, drained, and exhausted.
There are all kinds of people in this world, ranging from the sheltered and naïve, to the savvy and street smart. I want you to be the latter. And power begins by having a crystal clear view of how this world really works, while acknowledging that the world rewards action. We need to learn the actions that will help us to get what we want out of life and then, protect it.
Does this mean that you have to be a jerk in order to survive and thrive in our world? Of course not. But it does mean that you have to be selective with your time, energy, and kindness. The fault is not with you, nice folks, but with the world. To create the loving, respectful life that you desire, you have to know the rules of the game, and play by them. So let’s learn from the jerks without emulating them. They say, “All is well that ends well.” But reality is, all is well for those who cover their ends well. Happy playing!
Being compassionate enough to accommodate our own fears takes courage.
When fear arrives, just to sit with it, if only for a moment, is the ultimate act of kindness to ourselves.
May all that we do begin with the intention to be open, flexible, and kind.
Then, may be proceed with the inquisitive mind of a child.
One day, the Sun and the Wind quarreled about which was the strongest and the Wind said, “I’ll prove that I am. See that old man down there with the coat? I bet I can get his coat off quicker than you can.”
So the Sun went behind a cloud, and the Wind blew until it was almost a tornado. But the harder it blew, the tighter the old man clutched his coat. Finally, the Wind calmed down and gave up.
Then the Sun came out from behind the clouds and smiled kindly on the old man. Presently, he mopped his brow and pulled off his coat. The Sun then told the Wind that gentleness and friendliness are always stronger than fury and force.
You want approval from those with whom you come into contact. You want recognition of your true worth. You want a feeling that you are important in your own little world and you crave sincere appreciation.
We all do.
Remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
In other words, be generous in your appreciation and lavish in your praise. Towards all people. All the time. Everywhere. And you will reap the rewards.
In his youth, Benjamin Franklin received a letter from one of his friends rebuking his opinionated nature. The letter is included here because I believe we can all learn from it.
“Ben, you are impossible. Your opinions have a slap in them for everyone who differs with you. They have become so offensive that nobody cares for them. Your friends find they enjoy themselves better when you are not around. You know so much that no man can tell you anything. Indeed, no man is going to try, for the effort would lead only to discomfort and hard work. So you are not likely ever to know any more than you do now, which is very little.”
What a great friend this man was! He told the truth. And Ben listened…and went on to become one of the greatest Diplomats in American history.
What can we learn from this letter?
Often, it is best to choose being nice, over being right. Forcing your opinion down another person’s throat never works. And know it alls tend to lose it all before they know it.
Do something nice for someone today and don’t tell anybody about it.
Every one you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something. You don’t know their journey. Therefore, be kind to everyone you meet. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle.