This is part 3 of a 5-part series based on the work of Don Miguel Ruiz in The Voice of Knowledge and The Four Agreements.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Reputation is what others perceive you as being, and their opinion may be right or wrong. Character, however, is what you really are, and nobody truly knows that but you. But you are what matters most.
What John Wooden meant with this quote was don’t take anything personally. It is a simple mantra, but it can often be hard to do. Reflect on the last week of your life and identify the times where you were frustrated or upset. How many of those times were the result of something another person said or did and you took it personally and made it all about you?
I don’t know about you, but quite a few of those times I was frustrated in the last week were from some form or another of taking things personally. The second agreement from Don Miguel Ruiz in writing your own story is "don’t take anything personally" and it can provide you with peace in the middle of the chaos of this world.
Let’s look at an example from a common childhood experience:
A classmate insults you, so you insult them back. When the teacher questions you about what happened, you each say the other person started it and keep going back to previous insults to prove that you had a good reason for making your insult. This still happens in the adult world but in different language. When we take things personally we are hurt so we create emotional poison and our typical response is to get even. We do this by using the word against others because the word is so powerful.
But what is at the root of all this? Fear. We are afraid that people won’t like us. We are afraid people will think bad about us. We are afraid we will have a poor reputation.
When we cater to our reputation we create a social mask and then we are forced to maintain our reputation. We are afraid that people will see us for who we truly are; so we take things personally and attempt to defend our reputation.
But here is the key principle to help us not take things personally: nothing other people do is ever because of you; it is always because of them and the story they are creating in their own lives. Understanding that what other people say and do is a result of their own level of fear or love for themselves is a game-changer. And if there is ever a discrepancy between what someone says and what they do, we are fools to not believe their actions over their words. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we need to flip that around and use it to help ourselves.
While it is important to understand the concept that other people only say or do things because of themselves, remember we can only write our own story. By looking in the mirror and understanding that everything we say or do is also a reflection our own level of fear or love can give us pause. When we don’t take things personally and let go of the need to protect our reputation we regain our freedom to follow our integrity and only believe the things that we know are true. We cannot always control the things around us or what other people say, but we can always control the story we write. The responsibility is always on us. We are never responsible for the actions of others; we are only responsible for ourselves. This means that it is more important to trust ourselves to make the right choices than it is to trust others.
When we gain awareness of this wisdom and begin to enforce boundaries in our lives some people will become upset because they can no longer manipulate us. When we have friends or acquaintances who end a relationship or make a decision that forces us to end the relationship, it can hurt and create emotional pain. Remember, our emotions are real, but they are the reaction. If we want to change the reaction, then we need to change the action and the action is the choice we make of what to believe. When we choose to believe we each write our own story and we don’t need to take anything personally, then we are free to live in our integrity. If someone is not treating us with love and respect or trying to manipulate us, then it is actually a gift if they choose to end the relationship.
When we keep this agreement with ourselves to not take anything personally then we can always follow our heart and reveal the character that we possess. And no matter what happens around us or what people say or do, we have the power to choose what we believe. We can always rise above the noise and find peace.
#1 This week when you have a conflict or are frustrated, search the situation and see if you are taking something personally. Remember that everything people say or do is not about you, it is about themselves.
#2 If you find yourself saying or doing hurtful things, seek to understand whether they are the result of the fear to create or maintain your reputation.
In part 4 we will look at the third agreement which is don’t make assumptions.
Part 1: Write Your Own Story
Part 2: Always Be Impeccable with Your Word
Part 3: Don’t Take Anything Personally
Part 4: Don’t Make Assumptions
Part 5: Always Do Your Best
The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Inspiring leaders to Rise Above and Enjoy the Journey!
Success vs. Achievement
Chop Wood Carry Water
Would You Rather...
First Things First
Do You Have Trouble Sleeping?
What is Your Plan?
One Word: Blessed
The Pursuit of Happyness
You Win in the Locker Room First
What Are You Training For?
Winning Is A Mindset
Always Be Faithful in Small Things
Are You a Leader?
What is Your Why?
I Love Watching You Play
Keep on Failing
The Coach is the Student
The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership
Now They Know
Esse Quam Videri
Powered by Purpose
Are You All In?
The Eyes of Your Heart
Sunrise or Sunset?
We Need Boundaries
What is Right Over Who is Right
Carry Your Bobsled
Do You Have Any Suggestions for Improvement?
Sing Out Loud
Be An Eagle
The Power of One
You Are a Lighthouse
I Hate The Grind
Closing the Gap
The Big Time
What Profit Are You Seeking?
A Better Life
Don't Do It For the Applause
A Harvest of Impact
It's a Wonderful Life
One Word for 2018: INTENTNESS
Write Your Own Story
Be Impeccable with Your Word
Don't Take Anything Personally
Don't Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best
A Second Chance