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You must protect your own interests

Int

At some time or another every one of us harbors deeply ingrained hope that someone else will handle the difficult and important events, situations, and tasks that confront us throughout our lives. At the same time we would like the good things in life to come to us as a result of the efforts of others. This is a common phenomenon - it is also insane. Like it or not - and most human beings don't - there are few significant things that anyone will do for us in this world. Alas, reality continues to intrude into our lives and to make life difficult. You have undoubtedly noticed that the more important it is, the less chance that somebody will do it for you.

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Don't Take It Personally

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Do you take many of the things others say about you or do to you personally?  Assuming that you are like most people, I would venture to say that the answer is a resounding yes.  As a matter of course we all have a natural tendency to overreact to certain actions of other human beings.  Taking things personally is more proof of our selfishness. Each and every one of us who takes things personally believes on some level or another that "this world is all about me." To be sure, it's all too easy to take things personally. But you must learn how not to take what others think, say or do personally if happiness is one of your goals. Whether it's getting overlooked for an invitation to an important event, being cut off in traffic, or receiving bad service in a restaurant, don't look at any of these events as an attack or personal slight on you by others. Truth be known, they are doing it to everyone else.

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Control your behavior

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Think of some of the great difficulties that you have experienced over the years - ones that you invited into your life on some level or another. This applies to financial dilemmas, dysfunctional relationships, speeding tickets, lawsuits, time-wasting arguments, health problems, and family feuds. For good measure, you can add any other predicament that you could have bypassed in some way or form. Wouldn't it have been easier to avoid these situations than trying to get out of them later?

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Not Please Everyone

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German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer concluded that we forfeit three fourths of ourselves to be like other people. One of the reasons we do this is to try to please everyone. As is to be expected, wanting respect and approval from others is natural for human beings. The problem isn't our desire for respect and approval from a few friends and acquaintances, however. What gets us in trouble is the desire to please the whole world. "I cannot give you the formula for success," claimed American journalist Herbert Bayard Swope, "but I can give you the formula for failure which is: Try to please everybody." These words, indeed, are ones to ponder carefully. Way too many people squander most of their time and energy trying to please others instead of focusing on their own hopes, plans, and dreams. Don't be one of them.

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Good Deeds Are Seldom Remembered

most-glorious

A fireman is lamenting his fate to an acquaintance at the bar. "One day I had to fight a house fire and I saved a family's two dogs. Do you think anyone remembers? Another time my colleagues and I suffered severe smoke inhalation saving an old church from severe damage. Not one person ever mentions this. I also risked my life entering a burning house to save three children. I almost died. Does anyone remember this? Not that I am aware of. "But the only time lever cursed and kicked a barking dog, it turned out to be the mayor's dog," continued the fireman. "Someone saw me do it and told everyone in town. Do you think anyone has forgotten this?" The moral of this story is straightforward: Good deeds are seldom remembered and bad deeds are seldom forgotten. The ideal, of course, would be the converse. No such luck - reality intrudes again!

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Keep a Commitment

commitment

A scorpion, who wants to get across a pond, spots a friendly frog. The scorpion says to the frog, "How about a lift to the other side of the pond? I can't swim and I would appreciate your helping me out." The frog replies, "No way. I know what scorpions are like. You promised not to sting me one time in the past when I gave you a lift.  Yet you didn't keep your commitment and stung me. I almost died. This time you'll probably sting me halfway across the pond, from where I won't be able to swim to shore. I don't want to drown." The scorpion counters, "Don't be silly. If I am on your back, I am dependent on you to get across the pond. If I sting you, I will drown too.

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Everyone Including you and me is selfish

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As is to be expected, a large majority of individuals on this planet see themselves as a lot less selfish than the average individual. Upon dose scrutiny, however, this doesn't make much sense. Provided it was possible to measure selfishness, about half of the people would be more selfish than the average person, and about half of the people would be less selfish. The point is, it is to be impossible for a large majority to be less selfish than the average person. There is no need to measure selfishness, however. Truth be known, everyone in this world – including you and me - is selfish.

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What makes a good person?

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We live in a culture in which being a nice person is considered tantamount to being a good person. The result is that many nice people are mistaken for fine human beings, when, in fact, they haven't earned this distinction due to their serious character defects. On the other hand, many really good people are mistaken for having serious character defects just because they aren’t the nicest people around. So what makes a good person?

"A good head and a good heart," Nelson Mandela reminded us, "are always a formidable combination." No doubt at times it's hard for a lot of us to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys.

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