by Rhoberta Shaler, PhD
It has been said that your worth can
best be measured by the
benefits others have gained from your success. How do others
benefit from your gains?
An interesting exercise in self-awareness and self-esteem is
to list all the ways that you think others might benefit from
your existence. Be specific. The list will do two things: it
will help you realize the contribution you make to the lives
of others, whether you know the people or not; and, it will
help you to identify ways that you might like to offer more.
Often we hear about the importance of making a contribution in
this world. Just as with communication, so it is with
contribution: You cannot not contribute. The question is "What
are you contributing?" Do you make someone's day brighter with
a smile or a card? Do you remember a birthday? Acknowledge an
accomplishment? Remember to ask about someone's concerns? In
this fast-paced, I-want-it-yesterday world, it seems even more
important to remember each other, think about each other, care
for each other.
Sometimes I think we are endangered by our technology. When I
am on Seattle streets, walking at a Vancouver Island pace, I
am sometimes chilled by the breeze of folks running by,
looking at their watches. The other day I was going to a
meeting in a large office building that houses many
telecommunications firms. I approached the information desk in
the lobby to inquire about the room for my meeting. The
security guard, a man who himself looked endangered, met my
request with an abrupt, "We do not have conference rooms. Who
are you, anyway?" I explained who I was and what the meeting
was and he told me it would not be in his building. I
persisted, he made some calls and discovered that there was a
conference room but that the meeting I wanted was not listed
for that room. I said I would go up and look for my
colleagues. He panicked...told me I could not do that. I said
that I wanted to attend my meeting...he, very angrily, said he
would take me there because he did not know who I was or what
On the way up in the elevator--a very long way up, as you can
imagine--I asked him if the building had a security problem.
Was this why I was being treated this way? He said it was none
of my business. We reached the room filled with my colleagues
and they explained to him how the room was booked. That, too,
angered him. As he left me, I wished him a better day.
What an incredible level of stress for him to live with each
day. What an incredible degree of suspicion his job brought
forth in him! You know the old adage, "When all you have is a
hammer, everything looks like a nail." Well, he personified
it! For folks living with this degree of fear, we can offer
them understanding without letting them run us over, can't we?
We have the opportunity of being the light in someone's day,
of adding to someone's pleasure or adding to his or her pain.
We can make things easy or difficult. We can collaborate or
compete. We can put our own needs above those of other or we
can help others get what they want first. There are no rules,
of course. It is important, however, to be conscious of how
our choices affect others, and, of how others benefit from our
existence. Even in tiny ways, we make a difference.
Today, before you say or do anything, take a breath and ask
yourself, "Will this make the contribution I want to make to
this conversation, relationship, business deal, etc.?" If the
answer is yes, proceed with assurance. If the answer is no,
you'll have consciously given yourself the opportunity to do
it differently. Choose well.
The Art of Gratefulness
What we focus on expands. If we focus on the problems in our lives, they tend to increase. If we focus on the good things we already have, they too, have a tendency to grow.
How Full is Your Cup?
Sometimes what we know interferes with what we could learn. The author shares a story that shows us how we need to empty our "cup" before we can fill it with knowledge.
Is Your Self Confidence Based on What You Have Accomplished?
Do you ever find that your level of self confidence tends to go up and down like the stock market? Or perhaps it even
goes up and down along with the stock market! Here is a story about a Japanese businessman that might give you a new