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Compliments of Natalia and Gabriel via Flickr

In her book “The best advice I ever got: Lessons from extraordinary lives” Katie Couric profiles lessons from royalty, CEOs, legends in the performing industry, and individuals who have risen to prominence in their respective fields. Below is Nia Vardalo’s advice to the small:

“…the ruder people get, the nicer I become. It drives them nuts. Simply refuse to let the energy vampire suck the life out of the room.”


In speaking to King Hussein, Queen Rania was asked “What do you think of me?” After recovering from her initial shock, she understood that his inquiry aided his self-reflection, and attempts to find flaws in his ego’s blind spot. It’s an exemplary leader who exhibits humility.

I’m surprised that someone in the rarified air of royalty would behave in this fashion (but, it’s most likely why he was considered a most beloved ruler). Despots find themselves deposed, and despised bythe people whom they damaged.

Hopefully you will not need to be in the presence of a king to experience self-solicited feedback. This is something all of us can do on a daily basis. As Jack Canfield notes, the truth is the truth whether we know it or not.

Ask yourself – how can I excel as a human being? Then develop an action plan to accomplish those objectives. For help in this area check Zig Ziglar’s guide to goal setting. He suggests that we should continually work on improving these eight aspects of our lives: (1) Physical Environment; (2) Business/ career; (3) Finances; (4) Health; (5) Family and Friends; (6) Romance; (7) Personal growth; and (8) Fun and Recreation. Goal setting focuses your attention on what you can control, and away from the prying eyes of your peers.

Conversely, small individuals engage in the following behaviors. They:

  • Shamelessly discuss others, yet don’t engage in self-examination. [note: Bullies have a blind spot with regard to their own behavior].
  • Offer their opinions unsolicited, in a manner that’s degrading to other people. [Unless you’ve reached perfection on this planet, you have no business telling others how they need to be].
  • Refuse to praise.
  • Think about only themselves.
  • Fail to apologize in the aftermath of bad behavior.
  • Think everyone should cater to them.
  • Believe they are above reproach.
  • Behave in an arrogant fashion, which is paradoxical considering their state of being.
  • Don’t rise above life’s little annoyances – they instead become one with them.
  • Go out of their way to craft insulting retorts.
  • Delight in making others feel uncomfortable.
  • Try to justify bad behavior by blaming the victim.
  • Feel they should be the center of attention.
  • Operate in the lower levels of human emotions.
  • Never pass up an opportunity to display their ignorance.
  • Feel the need to make a personal dig at someone else (they’ve made their point, the cut is unnecessary).

Today, try separating yourself from the small. Make self-improvement in all aspects of your life a daily mandate.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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