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Michael Josephson of Character Counts

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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 27 Apr 2014, 5:49 pm

Live Backwards

  By Michael Josephson, Character Counts (347:5) 

Ben's very first duty as a new pastor was to conduct a
funeral service for Albert, a man who died in his
eighties. Since he didn't know the deceased personally,
Ben paused from his sermon to invite members of the
congregation to say a few kind words about Albert. 

No one budged. So Ben said, "Many of you knew Albert
for years. Surely someone can say something nice." 

After an uncomfortable pause, a voice from the back of
the room said, "Well, his brother was worse."

If you died tomorrow, what would people say about you?
Would it make you proud of the way you lived and the
choices you made? 

There's an old saying: "If you want to know how to live
your life, think about what you'd like people to say
about you after you die ... and live backwards." 

Thinking about the legacy we want to leave can help us
keep our priorities straight. When the end is near,
it's not likely that any of us will say, "I wish I
would have spent more time at the office." 

Unfortunately, many of us only begin to realize the
value of the time we have after we have frittered much
of it away in shallow ruts going nowhere important.

It's hard to think now what will really matter later.
But doing so dramatically improves our chances of
living a full and meaningful life with few regrets. 

Knowing how we want to be remembered allows us to make
a sort of strategic plan for our lives. And how much
wiser would our choices be if we had the wisdom and
discipline to regularly ask ourselves whether all the
things we do and say are taking us where we want to be
at the end? In a sense, we write our own eulogies by
the choices we make everyday every day. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 22 Apr 2014, 5:25 pm

We Are What We Think

  by Michael Josephson (848.4) 

In the early 1900s, a little-known philosopher named
James Allen wrote a powerful essay called "As a Man
Thinketh" in which he argued that we are what we think,
that a person's character is the sum of his thoughts.
He declared that the power to control our thoughts
(whether we use that power or not) is the ability to
mold our character and shape our destiny.

This is a profound insight, making us personally
responsible not only for our conduct but for our
circumstances.

He wrote, "As a plant springs from the seed, our
actions, character, and even our circumstances spring
from our thoughts." As long as we believe we're the
creatures of outside conditions, we will fail to become
the rightful masters of our lives. But if we do the
hard work of reflecting continually to identify and
modify negative beliefs and attitudes, we'll be
astonished at the rapid transformation it will produce
in our lives.

Our thoughts and actions can be either jailors of
negativity, imprisoning us in degrading circumstances,
or angels of freedom, liberating us to achieve our
noble potential.

The relationship between attitudes and circumstances is
now well recognized, captured in aphorisms like "Change
your attitudes and you change your life," and "It's not
your aptitude but your attitude that determines your
altitude."

But it's Allen's connection between thoughts and
character that is especially interesting. Yes, our
destiny is determined by our character, but our
character is not determined by destiny.

We can't always control when bad thoughts and negative
impulses enter our minds, but we can decide either to
nurture or to reject them.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Wed 16 Apr 2014, 6:05 pm

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

  By Josephson Institute (840.4)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Aretha Franklin reminded us how it's
spelled, but a lot of us need coaching on how to show
it. In both personal and political relationships the
failure to treat each other with respect is generating
incivility, contempt and violence.

There's an important distinction between respecting a
person in the sense that we admire and hold that person
in especially high esteem and treating others with
respect. While respecting others is desirable,
respectfulness is morally mandatory. Thus, people of
character treat everyone with respect, even those who
are not personally respect worthy.

The way we behave toward others is an expression of our
values and character. Thus, we should treat others with
respect, not because they have a right, but because we
have a moral duty to do unto others the way we want
them to do unto us. Again, it's not because they
deserve it, but because doing less would diminish our
own character.

That's the message in an old story about a politician
who found himself being drawn into mudslinging and
name-calling. Once he realized he was lowering himself
to his opponent's level, he stopped and said, "Sir, I
will treat you as a gentleman, not because you are one,
but because I am one."

It can take a lot of self-control to be respectful to
people who are nasty, dishonorable, or disrespectful to
us. Still, our inner sense of integrity should help us
resist temptations to "fight fire with fire." As Lily
Tomlin said, "The problem with the rat race is that,
even if you win, you're still a rat." 

  This is Michael Josephson reminding you that 
  character counts.

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 05 Apr 2014, 9:47 pm

The Truth About Trust

  by Michael Josephson (832.2)

Everyone seems to understand the importance of trust.
No one seems to doubt the vital role that it plays in
personal relationships, business and politics. We want
to trust the people in our lives and we want them to
trust us.

Trust is so hard to earn and so easy to lose. So why do
so many trust seekers resort to short-sighted,
seemingly instinctive, self-aggrandizing, or
self-protective strategies that are bound to damage or
destroy this precious asset?

Perhaps no group is more at risk than politicians who
explicitly ask us to trust them. History has proven
over and over again how futile and self-defeating it is
for a person in the media's cross hairs to try to
protect an uncomfortable truth with a bodyguard of lies
and obfuscations.

Herman Cain, an intelligent, dynamic man whose
unexpected soaring popularity as candidate for the
Republican presidential nomination was based largely on
the image he projected as a straight-talker, is the
most recent victim of this foolish strategy.

Instead of confronting directly and honestly the facts
surrounding allegations of improper conduct, he
discredited himself with unsustainable denials and
unpersuasive verbal hair splitting.

However damaging the underlying allegations
are---insincere, implausible and unbelievable claims
and explanations only make things worse---much worse.
When will politicians (and the rest of us) learn the
simple maxim: When you are in a hole, stop digging?

  This is Michael Josephson reminding you that
character counts.

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 01 Apr 2014, 6:25 pm

If You Were Arrested for Kindness

  by Michael Josephson (841.1)

If you were arrested for kindness, would there be
enough evidence to convict you?

Some people cheer up a room by entering it, others by
leaving it.

What do you bring to your interactions with work-mates,
friends, and family? Is it encouragement, optimism, or
kind words? Or is it pessimism, criticism, or cynicism?

People often forget what we say and usually what we do,
but as Maya Angelou said, "They always remember how we
made them feel."

Here are some other wise words about kindness:

"Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind
word is never thrown away." -- Sir Arthur Helps

"You will regret many things in life, but you will
never regret being too kind or too fair." -- Brian
Tracy

"Don't wait for people to be kind. Show them how." --
Anonymous

"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the
grandest intention." -- Oscar Wilde

"That best portion of a good man's life: his little,
nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love."
-- William Wordsworth

"Kindness is loving people more than they deserve." --
Joseph Joubert

"We are made kind by being kind." -- Eric Hoffer

"Remember not only to say the right thing in the right
place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid
the wrong thing at the tempting moment." -- Benjamin
Franklin

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know
how soon it will be too late." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the
recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom." --
Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D.

"Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no
regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of
what is true." -- Robert Brault

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 09 Mar 2014, 9:08 pm

The Wisdom of Dr. Seuss

  by Josephson Institute (817.2) 

Observing the birthday of Dr. Seuss caused me to
reflect on some of the profound lessons this modern-day
philosopher taught with his exotically imaginative
stories.

For example, whether I'm looking at my clock, my
calendar, or observing how quickly my children change,
he captures the surprise and wistful sadness I often
feel: "How did it get so late so soon? My goodness how
the time has flown."

Then he softens the lament by urging us to look back on
our lives with a positive perspective: "Don't cry
because it's over," he writes. "Smile because it
happened."

His advice to help us find and celebrate our own
uniqueness is timeless and wise.

"A person's a person, no matter how small," he tells
us. "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There
is no one alive who is youer than you." 
Dr. Seuss urges us not to fret too much about what
others think. "Be who you are and say what you want,
because those who mind don't matter and those who
matter don't mind."

To get us started he tells us to get on our way. "Today
is your day! Your mountain is waiting." But he also
tells us to choose our own mountains and take control
of our lives:

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own,
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one
Who'll decide where to go.

If you doubt the sincerity of my admiration, let me
remind you of Horton who put it simply, "I meant what I
said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful
one-hundred percent." 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 04 Mar 2014, 11:10 pm

Worth More Than a Million Dollars

  by Josephson Institute (838.3)

If you had the choice of winning $1 million in the
lottery or saving a stranger's life, which would you
choose? I suspect many of you think you should say,
"saving a life," but what you are really thinking is
how much better your life would be if you were rich.

If the test was which act improves the world most, sets
an example most worth following, or is most noble, then
the "save a life" option wins hands down. But what if
the test was more self-centered: which is most likely
to meaningfully improve your life? I think the answer
is still: save the life.

Sure, you can do a lot with a million dollars, but for
most people, doing something that is worthy has a
greater and more lasting value than anything you can
buy with money. In earlier times they would say a good
name is the most valuable asset you can have. Is it
really any different today?

Strangers may envy, but they don't admire, a lottery
winner. Friends and family may rejoice, but they aren't
proud of the lottery winner. And no feeling of
worthiness comes to the person who was lucky to hold a
winning number.

Saving a life. That's something special. That's a form
of immortality. And that's what a dozen bystanders in
Utah experienced when they engaged in a spontaneous act
of spectacular humanity and courage as they lifted a
blazing car to save a stranger.

There was a collision between a motorcycle and a car.
Both vehicles caught fire and the cyclist slid under
the car. Dozens of bystanders, mainly college students
and construction workers, watched in horror. One man
tried futilely to lift the car then five others ran to
join him. Unable to budge the car, they retreated and
the flames grew. A woman looked under the car and
reported the cyclist was still alive. The six rushed
back, soon joined by six others. Together a dozen
strangers easily lifted the car, and 21-year-old
Brandon Wright was dragged to safety. The diversity of
the daring dozen--grad students in math from Lebanon
and Ghana, construction workers and businessmen--adds
to the symbolic significance of this act of unity and
humanity.

The rescuers won the undying gratitude of Brandon and
his family and, best of all, a lifelong title: heroes.

What's a million dollars compared to that?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 16 Feb 2014, 9:48 pm

He Made You

  by Josephson Institute (837.1)

As Lily Tomlin said, "No matter how cynical I get, I
can't keep up."

Our economy has been shattered by widespread corporate
fraud; kids lie, steal, and cheat at unprecedented
rates; and their parents beat up each other or referees
at youth sports events or supply alcohol to fuel
organized hazing. Our confidence in the integrity of
journalistic institutions, the accounting profession,
stockbrokers, college sports, organized religion, and
business in general is continually shaken by a
relentless barrage of shameful behavior.

It's tempting to throw up our hands in despair and
surrender to cynicism.

It reminds me of the tale of the pious young man whose
car broke down on his way to his place of worship. He
had to walk through an area where homeless people
huddled against buildings for warmth, alcoholics and
mentally ill adults wandered the streets, and crack
dealers sold drugs to kids. He was overcome with a
sense of despondency and doubt about the power and
intentions of God.

"God," he prayed, "how can you allow all this pain and
misery and do nothing?" Receiving no answer, he became
frustrated and raised his voice, "Lord, my faith is at
issue! How can you allow all this suffering and do
nothing?"

Then someone behind him whispered, "He didn't do
nothing. He made you."

What a profound insight and daunting responsibility it
is to realize that you are the instrument of reform,
that your courage, compassion, and creativity in your
own sphere of influence can set into motion a ripple
effect of healing actions and attitudes to make a
better world.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
avatar
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 09 Feb 2014, 11:00 pm

He Made You

  by Josephson Institute (837.1)

As Lily Tomlin said, "No matter how cynical I get, I
can't keep up."

Our economy has been shattered by widespread corporate
fraud; kids lie, steal, and cheat at unprecedented
rates; and their parents beat up each other or referees
at youth sports events or supply alcohol to fuel
organized hazing. Our confidence in the integrity of
journalistic institutions, the accounting profession,
stockbrokers, college sports, organized religion, and
business in general is continually shaken by a
relentless barrage of shameful behavior.

It's tempting to throw up our hands in despair and
surrender to cynicism.

It reminds me of the tale of the pious young man whose
car broke down on his way to his place of worship. He
had to walk through an area where homeless people
huddled against buildings for warmth, alcoholics and
mentally ill adults wandered the streets, and crack
dealers sold drugs to kids. He was overcome with a
sense of despondency and doubt about the power and
intentions of God.

"God," he prayed, "how can you allow all this pain and
misery and do nothing?" Receiving no answer, he became
frustrated and raised his voice, "Lord, my faith is at
issue! How can you allow all this suffering and do
nothing?"

Then someone behind him whispered, "He didn't do
nothing. He made you."

What a profound insight and daunting responsibility it
is to realize that you are the instrument of reform,
that your courage, compassion, and creativity in your
own sphere of influence can set into motion a ripple
effect of healing actions and attitudes to make a
better world.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
avatar
Admin
Admin

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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 02 Feb 2014, 6:57 pm

The Power of Choice 

"For years, the opening of The Wide World of Sports
television program illustrated 'the agony of defeat'
with a painful ending to an attempted ski jump. The
skier appeared in good form as he headed down the jump,
but then, for no apparent reason, he tumbled head over
heels off the side of the jump, bouncing off the
supporting structure.

"What viewers didn't know was that he chose to fall
rather than finish the jump. Why? As he explained
later, the jump surface had become too fast, and midway
down the ramp he realized that if he completed the
jump, he would land beyond the safe sloping landing
area, which could have been fatal."1 He suffered only a
few minor injuries.

Sometimes in life when we are heading on a dangerous
path--one that will lead to a serious calamity--we need
to take the plunge as it were and get off that path
even if it requires breaking off a relationship,
quitting a job where one is expected to be dishonest,
or whatever is required to avoid a coming catastrophe.
Remember, it is choice--one's own choice--that
determines one's destiny.

1. Craig Brian Larson, "Illustrations for preaching 
  and Teaching," Baker, p 15.











Scary Obituary

In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor
at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about
the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years
prior: "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it
simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
A democracy will continue to exist up until the time
that voters discover that they can vote themselves
generous gifts from the public treasury. From that
moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates
who promise the most benefits from the public treasury,
with the result that every democracy will finally
collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always
followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations
from the beginning of history, has been about 200
years. During those 200 years, these nations always
progressed through the following sequence: 

    "From bondage to spiritual faith; 
    From spiritual faith to great courage; 
    From courage to liberty; 
    From liberty to abundance; 
    From abundance to complacency; 
    From complacency to apathy; 
    From apathy to dependence; 
    From dependence back into bondage."

Professor Joseph Olson, of Hamline University School of
Law in St. Paul, believes the United States is now
somewhere between the "complacency and apathy" phase of
Professor Tyler's definition of democracy, with some
forty percent of the nation's population already having
reached the "governmental dependency" phase.

Eighteen Random Rules of Life

  by Josephson Institute (836.2)

I love maxims, those concise capsules of worldly
wisdom. I collect them and write them and, of course,
love to share them. Here are 18 random rules of life
worth posting on your mirror or, better yet, using as
dinner-time discussion starters.

1. Find the lesson in every failure and you'll never 
    fail. 
2. The likelihood that you're right is not increased
    by the intensity of your conviction. 
3. Real friends help you feel worthy and make you want
    to be better. 
4. When you're in a hole, stop digging. 
5. Don't confuse fun with fulfillment, or pleasure
    with happiness. 
6. Refusing to let go of a grudge is refusing to use
    the key that will set you free. 
7. Hating hurts you more than the person you hate. 
8. Counting on luck is counting on random chance. Your
    odds are much better when you plan and work. 
9. Being kind is better than being clever. 
10. Don't underestimate the power of persistence. 
11. The easy way is rarely the best way. 
12. It's much easier to burst someone else's bubble
    than to blow up your own. 
13. You can't avoid pain, but you can avoid suffering. 
14. Self-pity is a losing strategy. It repels others
    and weakens you. 
15. Shortcuts usually produce short success. 
16. Control your attitude or it will control you. 
17. It's more important to be significant than
    successful. 
18. The world is waiting for you to heal it. 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org

Slow Dance

  by Josephson Institute (827.1)

I once heard the chairman and CEO of a huge public
company tell a roomful of ambitious, hard-working,
dedicated executives that if he had to do it all over
again, he would have spent more time with his family.
That's not news, but to Type-A personalities, it's
easier said than done.

David L. Weatherford's poem "Slow Dance" sends the
message in a particularly compelling way:

  Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round
  Or listened to rain slapping on the ground?
  Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight
  Or gazed at the sun fading into the night?
  You better slow down, don't dance so fast,
  Time is short, the music won't last.

  Do you run through each day on the fly?
  When you ask, "How are you?" do you hear the reply?
  When the day is done, do you lie in your bed
  With the next hundred chores running through 
  your head?
  You better slow down; don't dance so fast,
  Time is short; the music won't last.

  Ever told your child, "We'll do it tomorrow,"
  And in your haste not seen his sorrow?
  Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die,
  'Cause you never had time to call and say hi?
  You better slow down; don't dance so fast;
  Time is short; the music won't last.

  When you run so fast to get somewhere,
  You miss half the fun of getting there.
  When you worry and hurry through your day,
  It's like an unopened gift thrown away.
  Life is not a race, so take it slower,
  Hear the music before your song is over.

The question isn't whether this makes sense to you.
It's what are you going to do about it, and when are
you going to start? 

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.

The Power of Choice 

"For years, the opening of The Wide World of Sports
television program illustrated 'the agony of defeat'
with a painful ending to an attempted ski jump. The
skier appeared in good form as he headed down the jump,
but then, for no apparent reason, he tumbled head over
heels off the side of the jump, bouncing off the
supporting structure.

"What viewers didn't know was that he chose to fall
rather than finish the jump. Why? As he explained
later, the jump surface had become too fast, and midway
down the ramp he realized that if he completed the
jump, he would land beyond the safe sloping landing
area, which could have been fatal."1 He suffered only a
few minor injuries.

Sometimes in life when we are heading on a dangerous
path--one that will lead to a serious calamity--we need
to take the plunge as it were and get off that path
even if it requires breaking off a relationship,
quitting a job where one is expected to be dishonest,
or whatever is required to avoid a coming catastrophe.
Remember, it is choice--one's own choice--that
determines one's destiny.

1. Craig Brian Larson, "Illustrations for preaching 
  and Teaching," Baker, p 15.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Mon 20 Jan 2014, 9:50 pm

The Road to Significance

  by Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (832.5)

The most traditional way to measure the quality of
one's life is to evaluate success by listing accolades,
achievements, and acquisitions. After all, in its
simplest terms, success is getting what we want and
most people want wealth and status.

Yet, as much pleasure as these attributes can bring,
the rich, powerful, and famous usually discover that
true happiness will elude them if they do not have
peace of mind, self-respect, and enduring loving
relationships.

Peace of mind doesn't preclude ambition or desire for
material possessions or high position, but it assumes a
fundamental foundation of contentment, gratitude, and
pride--a belief that whatever one has is enough and an
attitude of active appreciation for the good things in
one's life.

Feeling successful can generate satisfying emotions of
self-worth, but feeling significant--that one's life
really matters--is much more potent. Peter Drucker, the
great management guru, captured this idea when he wrote
of the urge many high achievers have to "move beyond
success to significance."

The surprise for many is that one of the surest roads
to significance is service. It doesn't have to be of
the Mother Teresa missionary variety. Parents who
sacrifice their own comfort and pleasure for their
children are performing service, as are teachers,
public-safety professionals, members of the military,
and volunteers who work for the common good.

In addressing graduates, Albert Schweitzer said, "I
don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I
do know: The only ones among you who will be really
happy are those who have sought and found how to
serve."

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 12 Jan 2014, 10:27 pm

Lessons from the Monkey Pot

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (775.3) 

Many years ago a man came to a village in India to
catch monkeys so he could sell them to zoos. The
monkeys, however, were very clever and every sort of
trap he set failed. A young boy watched the man's
pathetic efforts and laughed.

The man said, "If you can catch me a monkey, I'll give
you $2." (That was a huge amount of money then.)

The boy went to his home and took a clay pot with a
narrow neck. He placed a few nuts around the pot and
put lots of nuts inside. He then tied the pot to a tree
and he told the man, "We should have a monkey in a few
hours. Let's wait in the village. The monkey will call
us when he is ready."

Sure enough, a band of monkeys soon discovered the nuts
and the pot. One slipped his hand in the pot and
grabbed a handful of nuts, but he couldn't pull his
hand out of the narrow opening of the pot because his
fist was clenched. The monkey panicked and started
making loud noises. Some of the other monkeys tried
unsuccessfully to pull the pot off his hand.

The boy and the man heard the ruckus and the boy got a
sack. As they approached the monkeys they all ran away
except the one with its hand in the pot. The boy
grabbed the monkey and the pot. The man was amazed and
asked the boy the secret of his monkey trap. "Why was
it so easy for the monkey to get his hand in but so
hard to get it out?"

The boy laughed and said, "The monkey could have easily
got his hand back out and escaped, but he would have
had to let go of the nuts in the pot, and he just
wasn't willing to let go. They never are."

What lessons can be learned from this story? Do people
sometimes trap themselves by holding onto things that
they should let go? Do you?

This story is often used to illustrate the power of
greed. People get trapped by the trappings of success,
by wealth, and by a limitless desire to acquire and
hold onto material things--even when the things they
hold do not give them what they want or need. But there
are other dimensions to the story as well. Many people
trap themselves by holding onto negative
feelings--resentment, anger, and jealousy--that both
lessen and limit their lives. Like the monkey who
derives no pleasure or nourishment from the nuts he
holds in his hand, we can derive nothing of value from
these negative emotions. Many of us could improve our
lives instantly by the simple act of letting go.

It's so simple, yet so hard.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 04 Jan 2014, 10:01 pm

The Paradoxical Commandments

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (832.3)

In 1968, when Kent M. Keith was a 19-year-old sophomore
at Harvard, he wrote the Paradoxical Commandments as
part of a booklet for student leaders. He describes the
Commandments as guidelines for finding personal meaning
in the face of adversity:

1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and
self-centered. Love them anyway.

2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish
ulterior motives. Do good anyway.

3. If you are successful, you will win false friends
and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do
good anyway.

5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest
and frank anyway.

6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can
be shot down by the smallest men and women with the
smallest minds. Think big anyway.

7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

8. What you spend years building may be destroyed
overnight. Build anyway.

9. People really need help but may attack you if you do
help them. Help people anyway.

10. Give the world the best you have and you'll get
kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have
anyway.*

The essence of these Commandments is that each of us
must choose to do what we think we should do, even when
we think we have good reasons not to. They remind us
that we are capable of rising above common practices
that demean our nature and our culture.

We can rationalize distorting the Golden Rule as "Do
unto others as they have done unto you" or "Do unto
others before they do unto you," but, in the
terminology of the 60s, we then become part of the
problem rather than the solution.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

* To learn more about Dr. Keith and his work, visit
www.kentmkeith.com. 

(c) 2014 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Fri 27 Dec 2013, 9:16 pm

A Call for More Civility

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS! (872.2)

When George Washington was 16, he discovered a booklet
of 110 maxims describing how a well-mannered person
should behave. He was so convinced that these maxims
would help him become a better person that he set out
to incorporate them into his daily living. Among
Washington's many virtues, his commitment to civility
marked him as a gentleman and helped him become a
universally respected and enormously effective leader.

By today's standards, Washington's notions of civility
seem quaint and old-fashioned, but the purpose of
manners and etiquette is to soften relationships with
respect and to treat others graciously.

Instead of updating our concept of manners to accord
with modern lifestyles, we seem to be abandoning the
notion of civility entirely. We're exposed to heavy
doses of tactless, nasty, and cruel remarks on daytime
talk shows, dating games, and courtroom and reality
programs.

As a result, we've produced a generation that's
comfortable being brutish and malicious and a society
that's increasingly coarse and unpleasant.

In a tense world full of conflicts, frustrations, and
competition, civility is an important social lubricant
that helps us live together constructively. If we care
about the world we're making for our children, we need
to be less tolerant of mean-spirited, discourteous, and
impolite remarks and do a better job of teaching and
modeling civility.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Thu 12 Dec 2013, 10:49 pm

Ethics: Easier Said Than Done

By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (827.5)

As a full-time ethicist--can you believe there even is
such a thing?--I spend lots of time talking and writing
about right and wrong. One thing I've learned is that
in the last analysis, consistently doing the right
thing is easier said than done.

For one thing, it's not always easy knowing what's
right. We want to believe that ethics is simple and
that everything we needed to know we learned in
kindergarten, but if that's so, I must have been absent
that day. There are many situations where ethical
values clash and there's no clear or simple right thing
to do.

But even if we always knew what was right, consistently
doing it isn't easy. Sometimes we just can't get
everything we want by being honest and following all
the rules. Ethics limits our options and can be a
competitive disadvantage. So, when there's a gap
between what we want to do (our desires) and what we
should do (our ethical duties), we often rationalize or
compromise. Thus, even basically good people lie
occasionally, cheat just a little, and justify moral
shortcuts. No one is perfect. It's human nature.

But it's also human nature to strive for moral
perfection and to care about our character. That's the
part of our nature we need to strengthen. A healthy and
realistic goal is not to be perfect but to be
constantly getting better. And one doesn't have to be
sick to get better.

Yes, it often takes moral will power to do the right
thing when it costs more than we want to pay, but
that's what character is all about. For all our
cynicism about the growing hole in our moral ozone,
there are lots of good people who resist temptations
every day.

Sure there's a price, but there's also a big pay-off.
You'll improve the quality of your life and set an
example for your children.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.
(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 01 Dec 2013, 8:15 pm

Beautiful in Broken Places
By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNT

Nietzsche told us "what doesn't kill you, makes you
stronger" and Hemingway wrote about becoming stronger
in broken places. A different way of thinking is found
in the Japanese concept of kintsukuroi, the art of
repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer in
a way that makes the object more beautiful than it was
before. I think this is so with people as well. If we
take care to repair ourselves with ointments laced with
gratitude, humility and compassion, the scars left by
healed wounds reveal life insights and experiences that
can make us more beautiful.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Thu 21 Nov 2013, 11:56 pm

How to Succeed by Failing Forward -- 
    Turning Stumbling Blocks to Stepping Stones 

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (824.2)

The best way to teach our children to succeed is to
teach them to fail.

After all, if getting everything you want on the first
try is success, and everything else is failure, we all
fail much more often than we succeed.

People who learn how to grow from unsuccessful efforts
succeed more often and at higher levels because they
become wiser and tougher.

Two great American inventors, Thomas Edison and Charles
Kettering mastered the art of building success on a
foundation of what others might call failure.

Edison liked to say he "failed his way to success,"
noting that every time he tried something that didn't
work, he moved closer to what did. "Now I know one more
thing that doesn't work," he would say.

The lesser known Kettering (head of research for
General Motors from 1920-1947) talked about "failing
forward," calling every wrong attempt a "practice
shot."

The strength of both men was that their creativity and
confidence was undiminished by setbacks and
unsuccessful efforts. They accepted that trial and
error is an essential strategy for breakthrough
innovation, and simply rejected the notion of failure.
Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM, cautioned his
leaders from being so careful that they never failed.
He went so far as to say, "The way to succeed is to
double your failure rate."

Of course, failure is never desirable, but it is
inevitable and, with a proper attitude, can be quite
useful.

The only way to avoid failure is to avoid the risks and
challenges, and that probably is a case of real
failure. The great hockey player Wayne Gretzky used to
say, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Whatever your goal, whether it's to get something, do
something, or improve yourself as a person or
professional, the secret of success is learning to
transform unsuccessful experiences from stumbling
blocks to stepping stones.

Three qualities can turn adversity into advantage: a
positive perspective, reflection, and perseverance.

First, learn from the inventors. Don't allow yourself
to think of any failure as final, and never allow
unsuccessful efforts to discourage you or cause you to
give up. Remember, failure is an event, not a person.
Even failing repeatedly can't defeat you unless you
start thinking of yourself as a failure. The way you
think about your experiences shapes the experience in
ways that either stimulate or stymie further efforts.

Second, don't waste the experience. Unsuccessful
efforts are wasted and debilitating only if you don't
learn from them. Reflect on your actions, attitudes and
the results to discover the lesson within the
experience and use that knowledge to guide future
efforts.

Third, persevere. Try and try again. Just be smarter
each time.

And finally, learn to enjoy the process. Simply being
absorbed in the pursuit of any change that will improve
your life or the lives of others is a blessing.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Mon 21 Oct 2013, 6:16 pm

The Power of Kindness

  Character Counts by Michael Josephson (395.4)

A few years ago a fellow named Bob urged me to remind
people of the power of kindness. He had just lost his
wife of 42 years and was for a long time in a state of
grief, despair and disbelief, but he was often pulled
out of the blackness of woe by the kindness of
strangers.

One day he was trying to make copies of the condolence
notes he received and he broke down. As he was sobbing
quietly by the copying machine, a young woman just put
her arms around him and hugged him, until he regained
control. Weeks later he had a similar emotional
breakdown at a restaurant and the waitress sat beside
him and held his hand. As long as there are people like
that in the world, Bob concluded, there is still hope.

The great musician Pablo Casals said, "Each person has
inside a basic decency and goodness. If he acts on it
and listens to it, he is giving a great deal of what
the world needs most. It is not complicated, but it
takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen
to his own goodness and act upon it."

The poet William Wordsworth put it another way,
declaring that the best portions of a good person's
life are the "little, nameless, unremembered acts of
kindness and love." And the novelist Henry James said,
"Three things in human life are important: The first is
to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is
to be kind."

Think how much better the world would be, and how much
more gratifying your own life would be, if every day
each of us set out to lighten the life or brighten the
day of another with simple kindness?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 13 Oct 2013, 10:23 pm

How Happy Are You?

By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (818.1)

On a scale of one to 10--with 10 being "It's as good as
it gets! I'm even happier than Charlie Sheen thinks he
is," and one being "Life sucks; it can't get
worse"--how happy are you with your life?

Researchers say that when asked to grade their lives on
a happiness scale, most people give a score of 7 or 8.

It's a tougher question than it seems because how you
feel right now has a powerful impact on how happy you
think you are. For example, one of my daughters is
despondent because she broke her cell phone and is
suffering painful withdrawal symptoms. Her need to read
and send texts appears to rival an addict's craving for
drugs.

Happiness is not an objective fact; it's a feeling, a
state of mind, and it's a lifetime goal. Thus,
regardless of your starting point, the pursuit of
happiness is not really about being happy. It's about
being happier in two different ways--happier than we
are now and happier than others.

Thus, a person who just received a large raise but
discovered he is paid less than most people who do his
job is likely to be less happy than the person who
received a smaller raise but knows she makes more than
others. Remember the parable of the man who was
miserable because he had no shoes until he met a man
with no feet. The comparison made him happier. The
problem is it can also go the other way, as with the
man who loved his small house until he visited a man
who lived in a mansion.

The key to more frequent and enduring happiness is to
be grateful for what you have irrespective of what
others may have.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts.

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 14 Sep 2013, 7:35 pm

The Unexamined Life
By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (817.3)

Today, Socrates is thought of as one of the world's
great philosophers, but to the leaders of Greece he was
annoying and dangerous.

Claiming, "The unexamined life is not worth living," he
roamed the public places of Athens asking relentless
questions that challenged assumptions and beliefs, and
demanded that people think about social justice and
personal worthiness. In the end, he was sentenced to
death for his subversive ideas. He refused an
opportunity to escape since it would violate his
principles.

"My friend," he reportedly asked people, "are you not
embarrassed by caring so much for money, fame, and
reputation and not thinking of wisdom and truth and how
to make your character as good as possible?" Socrates
wasn't just trying to make people feel bad; he was
encouraging them to be better.

You see, Socrates was an optimist about human nature.
He believed wickedness is the result of ignorance, and
those with true knowledge will act rightly. His
question about priorities is relevant today, yet it
takes courage and integrity to examine our motivations
and goals and to measure our attitudes and conduct in
relation to our principles.

Are you trying to make your character as good as
possible?

Are you as honest as you should be?

Do you treat everyone with respect, even those you
don't like?
Do you accept responsibility for your choices?

Are you fair?

Are you doing what you can charitably, and are you
doing your share as a good citizen?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 07 Sep 2013, 10:19 pm

Curing Victimitis

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (819.2)

Watch your thoughts; they lead to attitudes.
Watch your attitudes; they lead to words.
Watch your words; they lead to actions.
Watch your actions; they lead to habits.
Watch your habits; they form your character.
Watch your character; it determines your destiny.

These words of unknown origin tell us that our silent
and often subconscious choices shape our future. Every
aspect of our lives, at home and at work, can be
improved if we use our power to think, reflect, and
make conscious choices about our thoughts, attitudes,
words, actions, and habits.

Instead, many of us think of ourselves as victims. We
complain about our circumstances and what others did to
us. Whatever psychological comfort there is in feeling
powerless and blameless when things aren't going right,
victims lead unsatisfied lives in the end.

We're most vulnerable to victimitis when we're under
the influence of powerful emotions like fear,
insecurity, anger, frustration, grief, and depression.
These feelings can be so overwhelming that we believe
our state of mind is inevitable. Our only hope is that
they'll go away on their own. Yet it's during times of
emotional tumult that using our power to choose our
thoughts and attitudes is most important. We can't make
pain go away, but we can refuse to suffer.

Even when we don't like any of our choices, we do have
some--once we realize we can take control. It isn't
easy, but what we do and how we choose to feel about
ourselves can have a profound impact on the quality of
our lives. Victims may get sympathy for 
awhile, but that isn't nearly enough.

Taking personal responsibility for our happiness and
success can be scary, but the payoff is enormous.
Although we can't make our lives perfect, we can make
them better--usually a lot better.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sat 07 Sep 2013, 10:15 pm

Respect Means Knowing When to Back Off  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS! (817.4) 

I've talked before about the ethical obligation to
treat others with respect by attentive listening.
Today, I want to talk about the flip side of respect:
the duty to back off and accept the fact that while
others should listen to us, we can't demand that they
agree with us.

Such unreasonable demands are especially prevalent when
someone in authority (boss or parent) lectures,
criticizes, sermonizes, or berates an employee or child
well past the point of legitimate communication. But it
isn't just people of authority who seek to impose their
ideas through bulldozer tactics.

The common thread in disrespectful communication is
going beyond reasonable attempts to inform or persuade.
At that point it becomes a harangue. It's as if the
speaker is trying to beat us into submission rather
than simply conveying a point of view, pummeling us
with repetitive opinions, complaints, or demands. And
if we don't give the desired response, the speaker
restates the point louder or more aggressively.

Telling browbeaters that we understand their position
and will consider what they said rarely stops the
onslaught because the only way they'll believe we
understand their point is if we agree with it. They can
become so self-righteous that they think disagreeing
with them is proof of confusion, ignorance, stupidity,
or a closed mind.

No one has the right to impose his or her opinions on
others or to demand to be listened to until he or she
is done. The moral obligation of respect requires that
we learn when to back off and that we learn when to
listen.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Tue 27 Aug 2013, 5:23 pm

Delusions of Grandeur
 By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (817.5)

Think of the most ethical person you know. Do a lot of
people come to mind or only a few? Are you having
trouble thinking of anyone?

If I asked that question of the people who know you
well, how many would name you? Almost all? About half?
Just a few?

Unless this commentary makes you more humble, you will
probably be among the vast majority who say that half
or more of the people they know would think of them as
an ethical role model. That's highly unlikely. It's
more probable that almost no one you know would put you
at the top of the list. Let's face it, that's a tough
roster to get on.

Surveys show that about 95 percent of us want others to
think of us as highly ethical, so our delusion of
grandeur regarding our moral reputation is probably a
case of wishful thinking. But wishful thinking won't do
it.

I wish I were thin. Unfortunately, my slim ambitions
won't change my waist size. For me, thinness will be an
elusive dream until I convert my desire to actions:
exercising regularly and eating moderately.

It's the same with being ethical. Most of us suffer
from moral flabbiness. This doesn't mean we're bad, but
it does suggest we can be better. What we need is a "Be
a Better Person" fitness program to tone up our
character and strengthen our ethics. Just like working
on our waist, hips, or arms, we could work on our
honesty, fairness and responsibility.

Who knows? If you really work at it, you could even
make the list.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you to stay
ethically fit because character counts.
(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Mon 29 Jul 2013, 12:28 pm

We Shape our own Character

  By Michael Josephson of CHARACTER COUNTS (800.1) 

There's no doubt that our character has a profound
effect on our future. What we must remember, however,
is not merely how powerful character is in influencing
our destiny, but how powerful we are in shaping our own
character and, therefore, our own destiny. Character
may determine our fate, but character is not determined
by fate.

It's a common mistake to think of character as
something that is fully formed and fixed very early in
life. It calls to mind old maxims like "A leopard can't
change its spots" and "You can't teach an old dog new
tricks." This perspective that our character is "etched
in stone" is supported by a great deal of modern
psychology emphasizing self-acceptance. As Popeye says,
"I am what I am." The hidden message is: Don't expect
me to be more, better, or different.

Ultimately, these views of humanity totally undervalue
the lifelong potential for growth that comes with the
power of reflection and choice. How depressing it would
be to believe that we can't choose to be better--more
honest, more respectful, more responsible, and more
caring. None of us should give up the personal quest to
improve our character. Not because we're bad--we don't
have to be sick to get better--but because we're not as
good as we could be.

There are so many things in life we can't
control--whether we're beautiful or smart, whether we
had good parents or bad, whether we grew up with
affirmation or negation--it's uplifting to remember
that nothing but moral will power is needed to make us
better.

No, it isn't easy. But if we strive to become more
aware of the habits of heart and mind that drive our
conduct, we can begin to place new emphasis on our
higher values so that we become what we want our
children to think we are.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org.
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Re: Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Post  Admin on Sun 21 Jul 2013, 7:56 pm

Dealing With Toxic Relationships

  By Michael Josephson of Character Counts (750.2) 

Are there people in your life who regularly cause you
to feel bad about yourself?

Most of us care what others think of us, so knowing
that someone doesn't like us, or doesn't approve of the
judgments we've made, or doesn't like how we look can
be hurtful. And when we're judged by someone whose
approval we crave, such as a parent, spouse, teacher,
or boss, the criticism can cause intense distress and
damage self-esteem.

Harsh or relentless disparagement from people who love
us, often clothed as caring advice or helpful prodding,
can be particularly toxic.

It's helpful to realize that it's one thing to feel bad
when someone doesn't approve of us; it's quite another
to allow their disapproval to shape our self-image.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make you feel
inferior without your consent." She was absolutely
right. Negative comments about our lives are opinions,
not facts.

How we feel, however, is a fact, and an important one
at that. Thus, it's rational and healthy to nurture
relationships that bring out the best in us, and to cut
off or distance ourselves from those that bring us
down.

There are, however, two strategies worth trying before
you limit or eliminate contact with critical people
whom you care about, or who are important to people you
care about.

Try to fix the relationship by respectfully confronting
the negative influences in your life honestly and
directly. Don't attack them for hurting you, just
explain how you feel when they criticize you and see if
they care about you enough to modify their conduct. If
that doesn't work, try to build immunity to their
negativity. Think of the hurtful comments of your
incorrigible critic as irrational ravings---and ignore
them.

If neither of these strategies work, more drastic
action may be justified.

It may be uncomfortable, but it's relatively easy to
exclude annoying friends and co-workers from your life.
Family and committed relationships are another matter
entirely. You are entitled to happiness and healthy
relationships and it's unfair for you to be imprisoned
by the wishes and wants of others. Nevertheless, there
are both moral and practical reasons that require you
to make serious and sustained efforts to fix these
relationships before you disown, disavow, or divorce
someone who is part of a network of relationships that
will be affected by your actions.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character
counts. 

(c) 2013 Josephson Institute of Ethics; reprinted with
permission. Michael Josephson, one of the nation's
leading ethicists, is the founder of the Josephson
Institute of Ethics and the premier youth character
education program, CHARACTER COUNTS! For further
information visit www.charactercounts.org
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