I’ve been having some conversations with my sons recently about how to be good human beings. We’ve talked about what the rest of the world expects from them as they live their lives. I’ve recommended to each of them that they dedicate their lives to serving others. I’ve suggested they work at adding value for other people, in everything that they do. I believe that if they do this, then their habits will lead to successful long-term relationships based on value. These relationships, in turn, will lead to them earning a good living and having a happy, contented life.
I’ve been pleased that my sons seem to grasp the concept of living life based on principles. I’ve also been pleased that my sons have been quick to recognize people who bring value to our lives. They’ve mentioned beloved family members, family friends, favorite teachers and professors, and positive coaches they’ve encountered in their lives. We have been blessed with some wonderful family members whom we love dearly, and we have been fortunate to have been given the gift of friendship by some cherished friends who light up the room whenever they’re around.
What is it that makes someone light up the room when they’re around, you ask? I think many things: trustworthiness, dependability, warmth, friendship, loyalty, and many others. What is it that makes us valuable to others in a business or personal context, you ask? Again, I think many things. Honesty and integrity are a good start. Being consistent and worthy of our trust comes to mind. Being competent and dependable seem likely. I suspect that warmth and positivity are helpful also. More than any other thing, though, I believe that you must demonstrate an intent to be worthy, and to serve others. If you wish to set out to add value to others as you wend your way through your life journey or your career journey, you need to be prepared to provide a solution, rather than being a part of the problem.
I have found that people do not appreciate some things, including: negativity, a bad attitude, an entitlement mentality, a flimsy excuse, dishonesty, disrespectfulness, a lack of follow-through, a lack of commitment, a smart-alecky retort, inappropriate profanity, neanderthal beliefs regarding sensitive topics, intolerance, a lack of sensitivity, a lack of empathy, a lack of caring for others, selfishness, and many others. That’s a good list of behaviors to avoid.
I tried to tell my sons that if they’re going to make a go of it in this life and be recognized by others for being a welcome member of the human race, then they should always act as if whatever they’re doing will be filmed and broadcast tonight on the 10 O’clock news. I’ve suggested that they should always add value. I’ve suggested that they should always act in ways that would make someone want to invite you over to sit around their campfire. There is something magical in spending time with others, gazing at the flames of a good fire, yes? Life is about helping people, helping to ease their burden, to remove their pain, and to add to their pursuit of happiness.
I have messed up a time or two in my life and behaved badly. Fortunately for me, my mistakes have been forgiven. Fortunately, I have been able to learn from mistakes and avoid repeating them regularly. Occasionally, I have also stumbled upon an ability to add value for others. It seems obvious to me that people appreciate being able to associate with people who add value to their lives. People like those who bring solutions to the table, not excuses or problems. It is also obvious to me that people want to surround themselves with people who make them feel like they are important. My experience is that people like people who make them feel like they belong to the right tribe.
I like to keep things simple. I believe that by conducting ourselves in life by being positive and having a worthy intent to add value is the best choice. I have no doubt that this is a near certain path to success.
I’d love to know whether any of you would like to add your thoughts about what I should be telling my sons as they move forward in their lives. I love my sons and wish to help to accelerate them along the right path. I also hope to help to accelerate others along the right path with their lives and their businesses. I believe that there is a strong value in adding value. Please, let me hear what you think….add a comment below and we’ll enter you into a drawing for a great book about value, The Essence of Value, by Mario Pricken.