How consistent are you?  

Do you treat strangers the same way you treat your friends and family?  Are you the same person when you're alone as you are when you know that people are watching?

One thing I've discovered as I interview and study successful, balanced people is that they are extremely consistent.  They treat strangers, co-workers, associates, friends and family with the same level of dignity and respect.  Their actions demonstrate that they respect everyone they interact with, regardless of their position or length of relationship.  They even treat people who they dislike with dignity.

Certainly there are those who have accumulated a great deal of financial wealth that don't possess this quality, but... they lack the abundance of joy and absence of stress that those who live their life in balance experience.

Why worry about people you may never see again?  Why take the time to be sensitive to the needs of people you don't particularly care for?  Why keep control of your temper when it's the other person who has the issue and escalated the situation?  What's in it for you?

           -It gives you the opportunity to Practice.

Because successful individuals consistently control their temper, because they consistently treat everyone with dignity and respect, listen carefully to others and they do their best to put themselves into the others shoes - they are able to do call on those qualities when it is most important, even when things heat up.

How do you react in traffic?  What do you say under your breath as people cut you off or drive too slow?  What do you think to yourself when you walk by a homeless man or an unruly teenager?  How do you react to an overwhelmed mother with a screaming child in the supermarket?

We're pretty consistent in our thoughts and comments to these incidents.  Would your reactions be principles you'd be proud to teach others?   Mine certainly weren't, and it was costing more than I imagined.  If you need to develop a new perspective that you're proud to maintain with consistency, you can try the following suggestions:

 Developing A Consistent Perspective You're Proud Of:  

  • Imagine a valid reason for their behavior: Consider the idea that the individual is performing heroically relative to their circumstances.  If they're in a hurry, maybe they actually received a desperate call involving a loved one.  If someone is late, maybe they were held up by a terrible accident - be thankful they weren't in one themselves.  

  • Think of it as practice:  If you don't particularly care about the feelings of the individual you're dealing with, remember that every challenging experience you are able to get through successfully will enable you to deal with people you do care about with greater success.

  • Imagine you're on Candid Camera:  If someone were videotaping your performance would you be embarrassed by what you said behind their back?  Consistency means even after you leave the interaction you don't mutter under your breath or find someone to complain to.  You are always working at understanding the situation and taking the high road.

  • Stop complaining, find a solution:  Whining, complaining, criticizing and feeling sorry for yourself are not what successful individuals do.  They accept that the situation simply is and find a way to improve the situation for themselves.  They don't count on anyone else to solve their problems for them (although they may choose to find the most qualified person to delegate to).

  • Walk away a winner:  Take the attitude that no matter how you feel about an individual, you want to leave the interaction with them feeling they like, respect and admire you.  You're not doing it to control or manipulate them, you're doing it so that you have the opportunity to teach and mentor them when they finally begin asking you, "How are you able to keep it together so well?".

  • Be bigger than the situation:  Would you argue with a 3 year old?  I've seen adults do it.  It looks ridiculous and they've lowered themselves to the level of a 3 year old!  Be bigger than the situation.  Imagine that the person you're dealing with is 3 years old and you want to help them.  Now what would you say?  Can you offer a different way of seeing the situation without telling them what they should think?

  • Assume they're right:  They obviously believe their position, why do you think that is?  How is it possible someone could have the ideas they do?  Play devil's advocate with yourself and figure it out.  Once you're able to take their side, there's an excellent chance they'll explore your position as well.

Graham White