“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us“
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most who have done well in their chosen career, formed long-lasting and satisfying relationships and enjoyed happiness have taken the time to acquire and nurture the following 5 essential traits: Trust, Empathy, Responsibility, Self-Reliance, and Patience.
- Trust is the basic foundation on which the other traits rest. It is essential for building relationships with others, feeling confident, and moving forward. This requires us to feel a sense of profound, underlying security where we are able to trust others as well as ourselves.
Self-Assessment: Do you see yourself approaching people, situations, interactions, and relationships with distrust?
There is a larger opportunity cost of not trusting compared to the risk of being deceived. With trust, you are more likely to develop a strong bond in relationships, change minds and behaviors of others toward mutual benefit, and contribute toward building a healthy society where members feel safe and comfortable even with strangers. You can develop trust by recognizing that people are basically good and benevolent and often end up acting in the way you treat them. Remaining conscious about feelings of distrust when they occur, controlling outward reaction, and getting to know people, reviewing situations from different perspectives, and evaluating your own actions and choices can help you develop trust in others.
- Empathy is about knowing how others are feeling in a moment and acting appropriately. It is an important component of a happy and successful life that emphasizes mutual respect and sharing.
Self-Assessment: When dealing with people, do you catch yourself judging them, zoning out as they talk, and showing a callous and cold attitude?
People do not care how much you know till they know how much you care. You can develop and practice empathy by developing genuine interest in others, taking the time to understand their desires, constraints, and frustrations. Take the time to truly listen to others, and imagine “walking a mile in the other person’s shoes”, and treating them as equally important as you would treat yourself.
- Responsibility is about making reasonable commitments and then being sure to follow through. Being responsible prompts others to send more opportunities your way.
Self-Assessment: Do you catch yourself making excuses, blaming others, or playing victim vs. accepting mistake and serious accepting feedback when responsibilities assigned were not completed to stakeholder satisfaction?
Remember, responsibility is earned. If you rush through tasks and assignments with nonchalance, others may be apprehensive about offering you novel, fun and more challenging projects with more responsibility. Start small, practice self-discipline to avoid distraction, keep the end game in mind to stay motivated, set goals, and be consistent at delivering what you’ve promised.
- Self-Reliance is about knowing what you want, making sound decisions, and acting independently. This helps develop patience, responsibility, and problem solving skills.
Self-Assessment: Do you always feel the need to consult others before making decisions, lack the sense of direction regarding your career and life, or feel that the circumstances or fate are reasons for your setbacks, failures, and misery?
Taking ownership of our lives and doing whatever needs to be accomplished can help you develop Self-Reliance. Take the time to think where you want to go. Develop a personal vision and acquire knowledge needed to fulfill that vision. Make effort to make informed decisions and learn from mistakes along the way. The more you take charge, the better you get.
- Patience is a virtue, and good things happen to those who wait. Most of us have been told this growing up and those who embraced it have persevered and succeeded as a result.
Self-Assessment: Do you throw a fit when faced with rough traffic, flight delays, or important projects hitting a snag?
You can develop patience by becoming conscious when developing symptoms like anger, irritation, blaming, and shaming. Recognize that many situations may cause us discomfort and intolerable pain, but for those who are patient, those tough moments can give us insight and help find a solution to our problems. When in a situation triggering impatience, embrace the fact that we cannot control everything that occurs with or around us. With practice, you will get better.
Making an ongoing conscious effort to acquiring and nurturing the above traits is the key to leading a life of Success, Satisfaction, and Smiles. Where do you stand with these traits today?