“Be at war with your vices.” What does that mean exactly – and how might you WIN that war?
Sept, 2015 – I know of a company that hands out questionnaires asking for feedback on their service and products. That’s all fine and dandy except for one slight problem: I heard one of their highest-level executives openly (and I daresay defiantly) state in front of 600 people: “But the moment we see the beginnings of any criticism, or if we get a letter from someone who has a complaint… We immediately toss it in the can without reading it.”
What?! Now there’s an interesting technique! ASK for feedback but choose to hear ONLY the good about the company? NO criticism whatsoever – even constructive criticism? Hahaha! It was so absurd, I actually laughed out loud. I mean: What a (not-so-clever) way to puff oneself up!
And then I got to thinking. How many of us as individuals sometimes do that too? Are we unwilling to look at our own faults and shortcomings – even when we ask for honest feedback?
Hey, I’ll be the first to admit that criticism isn’t fun to hear. And nasty, unjust criticism is COMPLETELY unhelpful and actually says a whole lot more about the other person than about us.
But constructive criticism… That’s one of our greatest gifts. That is, if we can get past the ‘taking it personally’ piece and instead decide to just listen to understand. Awesome when we can do it – but not always easy to do.
However there’s one thing ANYONE can do that will still pay off GRANDLY – and yet will circumvent much of the outside criticism we may receive throughout our life. And that’s to look clearly at ourselves FIRST.
All of us have a ‘blind eye’ to aspects of ourselves. And no matter how awesome we are, we all have shortcomings too. Even someone as brilliant as Benjamin Franklin. Here’s how good ol’ Ben dealt with his:
Ben Franklin took an honest look at himself and his life… Then he wrote a list of his greatest shortcomings. He came up with 13 Big Ones. Three on that list were: wasting time, arguing with people, and ‘looping’ (as I would call it) over small issues that he couldn’t let go of.
Guess what he did with those shortcomings? He tackled them, one by one, week after week, for over two years.
Each Monday he’d start working on one of his ‘faults.’ At night he’d think about his day and be honest with himself about how he’d fared in the battle of overcoming the shortcoming that day.
Slowly but surely, Franklin started SHIFTING each shortcoming…
Imagine how CONSCIOUSLY working on and transforming a habit of wasting time, worrying, or constantly contradicting other people would have on a person’s life?
Is it any wonder Ben Franklin is considered one of the most brilliant, respected, and beloved men in history? He was SO cool in fact, he got his face on the $100 bill.
If you want to avoid the criticisms of others…
Why not fearlessly look at your own self FIRST, and get clear on what YOUR personal shortcomings are – in advance.
One by one, you can choose to work on any flaw, weakness, or deficiency, just like Ben Franklin did. As you do, you will take GIANT leaps forward in your life, relationships, and health.
YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK:
1) Write a list of your greatest Attributes. (This is an IMPORTANT preliminary step in my opinion, given that, as Loopers, we can be unusually hard on ourselves. After all, many loops are already about our less-than-perfect selves).
2) THEN write a list of your greatest Shortcomings.
3) EVERY NIGHT BEFORE BED thank yourself for displaying whichever of your beautiful gifts and treasures you shared with your fellow humans that day (ie, your Attributes).
4) On one particular night per week, choose the ONE shortcoming you would like to improve upon. Then use every tool you know of that week to help you stay out of the behaviors and habits that feed that Shortcoming.
The next week, work on another Shortcoming from your list… Etcetera!
You don’t have to be perfect!! After all: Perfection doesn’t even EXIST! But all of us can seek to improve ourselves and grow past those qualities that are holding us back and making parts of our lives miserable.
This is one of THE QUICKEST ways to make massive progress in your life!
I have a huge, beautiful Toolbox of ways to help you transform and even extinguish these ‘shortcomings’ – be it fear, worry, procrastination, lack of confidence, self-criticism and all the other Mind Loops.
“Thank you for your work, Barbara. I had no idea I was being so severe with myself. I can’t believe how much BETTER I feel – like an energetic uplift!” – Mandy W, Seattle, WA
And… I WELCOME YOUR FEEDBACK! Be it glowing… or ‘constructive criticism’! Send any and all comments to: email@example.com . I promise to read ALL of your emails – not just the fancy glowing ones. 😉 And I thank you!!
To Your Insight and Happiness, Barbara