I like the idea of using this blog to note big lessons that I have learned in life. I have already written about the most important lesson I’ve ever learned (just do it!), as well as another important lesson on how the world is gray.
There is another big lesson that consistently pops up in my life: be good.
There are so many things some we may strive for in life. We want to be happy. We want to attract the opposite sex. We want that girlfriend/boyfriend, and that great wife/husband. We want that awesome job. We want that next promotion. We want to be socially aware. We want to be great leaders. We want to be powerful speakers. We want to be charismatic. We want to have a close group of friends. We want to truly connect with others.
There are many ways we can go about striving to attain each of these things. People will give you advice. Experts will publish online, and magazines and books. You will hear tips, tricks, and lifehacks. These are all fine, but there is only one thing that matters: be good.
What does it mean to be good? Simple. Be genuinely good at whatever it is that you want. If you aren’t good, then the only thing that matters is to get good. Tips, tricks, hacks, and advice can be good, but can also be a distraction. They only matter if they help you get good at what you want.
Here are a few examples
Everyone wants to be happy, but many expect it to happiness to happen to them. That isn’t the way life works.
If you want to be happy, you have to get good at being happy. It means actively recognizing and finding reasons to be happy. It means creating happiness, and exchanging it with others.
You are only happy when you get good at being happy.
We all want great jobs. We want that promotion. That great title. That startup exit. Or that position of respect and influence.
To get there, you will hear all kinds of advice. Dress this way. Network this way. Communicate with your boss like this. Manage your team like this. Build your product like this. Follow these steps to gain leverage in your organization.
What always gets lost in the mix is the most important thing: be good.
That is all that matters. So many people are looking to be promoted to that specific job title so that they can have influence. They have it the wrong way around. You gain a position of power when you have influence.. when you are good.
Whatever our job is, you will almost always be best served by focusing on your craft. Be good. And when you are good, figure out how to get better.
People spend an amazing amount of time thinking about how to attract a partner. They will expend an incredible amount of energy, change how they dress, how them act, how they talk, etc. As an example, just take a read through The Game, a fascinating book on the world of pickup artists.
Again, only one thing matters: be good. In this case, simply be a good person. Have a set of values. Stick to them. Genuinely care about others. Respect others and respect yourself.
If you want that great girl, be a great guy. If you aren’t a great guy, she will find out. And vice versa. You can’t trick someone into thinking you are someone else.. at least not in the long term. If you are smart about it, your best bet is to just focus on being awesome.. and then that awesome person will like you.
See the pattern here?
I could go on and on.
I often go through the same pattern. First, I find myself wanting something. I find myself thinking about it, reading material, and trying tips and tricks. After investing some time in it, I realize that only one thing matters: be good.
It happens time and time again across many aspects of life.
I’m now in the process of trying to imprint this lesson into my head. Writing it down helps.
Is there something you want to be or achieve? Be good. That is all there is to it.
P.S. This is post number #81 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!
Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.
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