I grew up surrounded by very good adults in my life. I was extremely fortunate. As a child, I remember thinking that as I grew up I wanted to be like them. These were people who focused on improving themselves, who cared about what went on in the world, and were charitable in their community and who achieved the professional goals that they set out to achieve. When I saw the way that most kids who I went to school with were acting, especially in junior high school and high school, it was very different than the way the adults in my life were acting. I assumed one way was how kids acted, and that adults didn’t act that way. So, naturally, as I grew up, I focused on being the way I thought I was supposed to be and acting like “an adult”.
I now know that this assumption was completely wrong and that there are plenty of adults that act like junior high school kids. However it has worked to my advantage in life to think that way while I was first starting out. That mentality is very engrained in me. While I’m not perfect, I continue to try to model the adults who set an example for me while I was growing up. Perfection is impossible but I strive to do the right thing and to become a better person than I was yesterday. I believe that this constant focus on self-improvement has made me a much stronger person than I might otherwise have been and has greatly affected my ability to achieve my professional goals.
There will always be people who you have to deal with in life who will be dishonest, mean or petty. They will be walking the low road and want company…your company. And often it is easy to be pulled into their path. Many people thrive on negativity and conflict. For them, there is always some kind of drama that is going on. For the most part, these people are dissatisfied with their life and want share that dissatisfaction with others. If you take the low road with them you are straying from the path of achievement and essentially putting your professional goals on hold while you take the low or slow path.
When it happens, and it will happen, this is the time to take the high road. And that’s not always easy when you are in the intensity of the situation. It’s easy to fight back and be pulled in, taking much needed energy and focus off your professional goals. It’s easy to let your emotions control your actions and be pulled in. It’s not as easy to stop and decide that you will handle the situation with the insight it deserves. As difficult as it is, choose to take the high road.
People like that pull you back to junior high school. Often, their mentality never changed. They have learned how to manipulate and control adult situations with childish antics, just as they got the attention of the teacher when they misbehaved. For them, nothing has changed.
You will never be able to control what other people do. Your control has to do with yourself. Your thoughts control everything that you do. Other people’s thoughts control what they do. All you can do in these types of situations is create thoughts that create the results you want. That is how you take control of your life when life throws you a curve ball. Take the high road and we’ll see you at the top!