Many of us don’t know – or don’t want to know about the dumb things we do that drive us and others crazy. Even smart, committed people have blind spots, and at times we may be needlessly frustrating and irritating people with unthinking behavior and attitudes. They may not be able to tell you about it, but I can: if any of these apply to you, it’s time to stop. When you do, you’ll benefit yourself and all in your groups/families. . .including yourself.

Stop talking over people. The best communication strategy and possibly the most important –  is listening to understand.

Stop thinking you know better. If you think you’re usually the most informed and/or understanding in the room, you have a problem. Great minds surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are. A group of smart people will challenge one another, and everyone will learn and grow, and benefit at every level.

Stop creating unattainable goals. Of course it’s good for you to try and reach past your limits. But a steady stream of high level goals adds pressure and unnecessary stress to the moments of life. You may often feel frustrated and distracted, and give up on moving toward something that requires many steps coupled with understanding and growth to achieve.

Stop trying to control everything. Most people value strong control on levels large and small. Acceptance is key to any growth or steps forward. Releasing moments you can’t control and finding ways to grow from and through them are worthy goals compared to controlling everything.

Stop taking people for granted. Not just once or twice a year but on a regular basis, take the time to recognize people for doing good things, show appreciation for their efforts and commitment, and if necessary remind them that failure is part of success.

Stop the hypocrisy. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Align your actions to match your words, and people will always respect the power of your example.

Stop imposing unnecessary rules. Where rules are necessary, they’re important, but when they seem arbitrary and make people’s lives more difficult instead of easier, something’s wrong. Again acceptance is much more powerful than control.

Be less critical and more conducive. It’s one thing to disapprove of something wrong or harmful, but to be critical without reason or cause is disrespectful. Give feedback that’s constructive and do it with kindness and grace.

Stop trying to act alone. The best growth comes from knowing the power of collaboration. Come to understand understand the truth of the old adage: if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.

Even smart people can do dumb things and develop bad habits – what makes them smart is recognizing when they’re going astray and making the changes they need.

Peace and Love, Jim

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