Dear Style & Substance:
I recently read a quote: “Everybody’s life is either a warning or an example.” What are your thoughts about this quote and what is your advice on creating a life that is an “example”?
That is a great quote! … and one that each may interpret a little differently. We often think of taking a side, in this case being an “example”, and sticking with it. But unfortunately, in our human-ness, we may straddle the line from time to time.
We can probably all agree that we have been both, but the idea is to fall more in the “example” column of life.
Start observing and listening to people and evaluate for yourself what is a “warning” and what is an “example”. This is not to be achieved by tomorrow or by year’s end; however, we believe that we can get a little closer every day. The daily choices made throughout a day can lead to living a life that serves as an “example” of personal values in action.
Day to day remind yourself of your best and true self and stay on that course. Being “better” is a sequence of getting off course and getting reoriented in the right direction. A few “warning” behaviors along the way that are corrected lead us to more “example” behaviors.
Everything is important. The choices you make about what to eat and your activity levels are the foundations of your health. The words you say or left unsaid create your relationships. Sometimes saying nothing, but just acknowledging is the best response.
We can all think of “warnings” we see in the choices and behaviors of ourselves and others. As you have heard us say before, debriefing a meeting, a day, a conversation, a relationship is essential in living the life of “example”. If you are thinking about this quote, chances are you don’t have “big” things to change, but some tweaking to do.
Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org