Why Ridding Yourself of Toxic People Should Not Be an Automatic Response

Why Ridding Yourself of Toxic People Should Not Be an Automatic Response

You have probably heard the phrase “toxic people” in different internet articles attempting to persuade you how your life will be better if you just do this or that. This idiom is not inaccurate per se, but it does create a false perception that we need to cut ties with people to be happy or successful in life.

The problem is, everyone knows someone who creates unnecessary problems. Whether they are personal or business relationships is irrelevant; we all have different needs and goals. Where these people fit into your life does not matter because wherever they are, you will be affected by them.

The Choice is Yours

The people who challenge you force you to make a decision: you can either see them as toxic behaviors which need removal like a tumor, or can perceive it as a learning experience. It is easy to get into the habit of merely cutting people out of your life because with social media there are a million more people to take their place.

What if you take a step back and think about this? Isn’t it possible that if you eliminate these so-called toxic people that they will simply be replaced by other, and even more abusive, people who make you feel worse? It is not only a possibility; it is almost a certainty. “Wait a minute,” you might think, “how could anyone be worse than Mr. or Ms. Blank?”

It may be difficult to comprehend, but perhaps Mr. X is not as bad as you believe he is. Or maybe Mrs. X is simply having a bad day. However, when you notice a pattern of behavior, it becomes time to evaluate your next move. Until then, perhaps you shouldn’t take everything as a personal affront. With chronic abusers, you will have to decide whether the person is important enough in your life to continue investing time and energy in.

You Can’t Change Others, but You Can Change Yourself

The most difficult part of dealing with a person like this is, often the person does not or will not see the behavior in him or herself. Completely oblivious to the pain they cause others, toxic people will continue behaving as such because they simply do not realize that they are part of the problem.

For example, an office administrator in the Detroit area often experienced difficulties she was having with people who came in as new employees. As it turns out, the administrator was the instigator, not vice versa. Unfortunately for her, she did not realize she was creating the obstacles with her assistants by using manipulation, control, and scare tactics.

Most people are unlikely to be prepared for such an onslaught, so as an employee is imperative to learn how to manage that sort of bullying behavior. It would be impossible to convince the manager that she was the one moving the goal posts or to point out to her that she needed a better system. As the saying goes, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” What you can do, however, is learn how to identify people who display these types of behaviors to either (a) avoid them altogether, or (b) manage conflict with them more effectively.

Cutting People Out Should Be Your Last Resort

There is something to be said for knowing when to call it quits. Sometimes, there is really nothing you can do and you simply have to cut ties. Yet, if you consider all of the work you put into cultivating your relationships, it may just be better to reduce contact instead of giving up on a person altogether.

Burning your bridges in the moment may seem vindicating, but how does it align with your ultimate goals in life? Is there another way in which you can remove the negative behavior from your day-to-day life without completely disowning the relationship?

If it truly suits you to move on forever, then by all means, do so; but if you know that there may come a time that you could reconnect with that person that will be mutually beneficial, it’s time to rethink how to detach instead of simply breaking off the connection.

We are all learning every day; how to work with others, how to be more effective communicators, but ultimately we are trying to learn how to achieve peace within. “Toxic people” are likely suffering. It is up to us to teach them through our compassion so that they too may experience peace and happiness.

If you can’t, that is okay too, but simply removing people from your life without forethought will not teach you how to be a better person – and that should be everyone’s ultimate goal.

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Social Justice Is Not for Everyone

Social Justice Is Not for Everyone

A couple of days ago, after spending time with a friend, I drove back from Detroit. The night before, another friend and I had talked about the Black Lives Matter movement. As an African-American man, I thought he would be open to the idea that there is a reason behind the movement. People are dying – and we look the other way.

I had no idea that he would respond to me by saying, “Well, all lives matter.” Yeah, they do, but you’re missing the point. That’s the same answer my white mother said to me when I began talking about the movement a few months ago. The difference is, I expect it from her, not from a young black man who faces the very real threat that he could be targeted by police simply because of the color of his skin.

That same morning before heading home, I was talking about the power of energy and how it draws us to things, like the vibrations on a guitar, or even the spectrum of color on a rainbow. I was still having a hard time with my emotional disturbance from days before – I struggle with bipolar disorder – so I decided to take the side streets back home instead of the freeway. As I was driving back, I came across an old, decrepit mural that was clearly a part of the city’s vibrant history:

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There are many murals in Detroit, so it was no surprise to me. What caught my eye was the rainbow in the painting. It seemed to be ejecting itself from the man’s head, whom I realized later was Malcolm X. Of course, I stopped to take a photograph – even though it was probably not the safest choice considering my state at the time.

As I was taking my photographs, I noticed the word Harper on the side of the building (that’s the street it is located off of) but I knew that couldn’t be a coincidence; my name is Harper. Clearly, that painting was calling to me.

Just then, a black man approached me to ask what they were going to do with that building. I said I had no idea, I just wanted a picture of it. He told me it used to be a substance abuse facility called Operation Get Down. We walked for a moment and he told me he was on the brink of being homeless and was on parole for selling drugs – ironic? Not really. I thought it was quite fitting.

It was then that I asked this man his opinion of the BLM movement. His response, “All lives matter.” Wow. Now to me, as a white woman who has been watching BLM people standing up for African-American men’s lives hear from two different black men that “All lives matter” was sort of shocked. I felt like Homer Simpson, saying, “Oh, so those Egg Council creeps got to you to, huh?”

Of course, all lives matter. The idea is not that one life is better than another, it’s that people should recognize that nothing has changed since the civil rights movement. Maybe some things are better, but blacks are still oppressed. Maybe it is denial on these men’s parts because they are afraid to talk about it. I understand that. But if they really believe that using the phrase all lives matter when someone else is showing true concern over the deaths of others who are being wrongfully killed, they are misguided.

Now, I couldn’t stop thinking about this painting. As it turns out, it is recorded in the Library of Congress, but the photos there are like mine – decaying and boarded up. The only complete photo I found of this painting was on the Metro Times website.

The painting was created by Curtis Lewis in 1985; back then, it was beautiful. If you look at it, it shows the progression of the black culture from the ancient Egyptians, to slavery and crossing the ocean, to the leaders of more recent black history. Interestingly, Coleman Young is featured at the end of this painting, who has been noted by some people as the reason for the city’s decline, which was sadly followed up by the politics and crimes of Kwame Kilpatrick.

Perhaps the symbolism of Young represents the end of Detroit’s future as a prosperous city and implies the divide of races. It was never intended to be so, I am certain, but I still find it interesting. After all, the title of the painting, African Amalgamation of Ubiquity itself, roughly translated, means the process of uniting Africans because they are everywhere. But are they really? Not when you leave Detroit.

When I have a (formerly, or so he says) drug-selling black man telling me all lives matter when I met him next to a picture of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, I can’t help but find it a little sad. Maybe that’s because I don’t have to live his life. Perhaps I need to stop worrying about his, and simply worry about my own. Is that not the message here?

Someone tell me, because I feel lost on this one. How can I stand up for you if you don’t even want to stand up for yourself? Or worse yet, don’t even realize that you should be.

Fear is a bizarre thing that drives us to act in ways we would not otherwise. I think that’s what these men were experiencing. It is not because they truly don’t believe in the movement, it’s because they first of all, probably don’t even realize how what they are saying sounds considering the source; but secondly, don’t want to be targets of the police.

Maybe they really do believe all lives matter. I know I do. I just don’t say it because I think it denigrates the concept of the movement.

I know this is not what Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X died for. Yet, I can’t live their lives and understand how they must feel, so I guess I’ll just let it be. That’s all I can do from my small little corner of the world.

 

 

 

Who Comes First, Sex Offenders or Kids?

Who Comes First, Sex Offenders or Kids?

In 2013, I worked as an investigative intern for a prosecutor’s office while attending college. My main job was to review cases and statutes to make sure the charges written by the police against the alleged perpetrators were valid. If it turned out those charges were bunk, the case would be dropped and the person would go free, even if he or she was actually guilty of a similar crime.

One time, I was handed a case to review which described a sex offense against a minor, perpetrated by her older step-brother. However, the charge in question was not against the child who allegedly committed the acts against his little sister; the charges were against her father, for false reporting. It took me several times of reviewing the document before I realized what had happened.

Although I cannot describe the details of the case due to privacy and ethical laws, the story goes like this: A little boy about age 5-7 was performing inappropriate acts in front of his younger sister, about age 2-3 or so. When her father discovered what his stepson was doing he first confronted the boy’s mother, then contacted the police.

As it turned out, the boy was not charged for anything due to his age; however, the little girl’s father was facing charges for false reporting and could have lost his daughter to the custody of her step-mother; the very same woman who held custody of the boy who was likely a danger to his sister. Yet, this was not a concern to the police who were attempting to press charges. The bigger issue was that the boy was not old enough to be charged for anything, so the father was, in their opinion, creating problems by reporting something that appeared to be a waste of their time.

Upon review of the probable cause report, I recommended that the false reporting charges be dropped against the girl’s father. It should have been obvious to anyone who read the report that the boy performed the inappropriate acts; the father was only trying to protect his child. He merely reported something that was not brought forward in court because, perhaps, it would have been too difficult to pursue (a bit like Hillary Clinton in that way.)

This case never sat well with me, but I was glad that I was the one to have it put in my hands because I believe justice was served in that case. Perhaps not against the boy who was likely disturbed, but at least the father was able to maintain protection of his child in that situation, and I was the one who helped them.

Today, I read about an Alaska lawmaker, Cathy Munoz, who recently wrote in support of a convicted child molester from a personal angle. She claimed that the person she knows, Jack, deserves a reduced sentence because he could be rehabilitated in other fashions. This person, her friend, was convicted of six counts of molestation, including rape, against his eleven-year-old foster daughter. It was his own wife who turned him in for the inappropriate relationship and asked that their foster children be placed elsewhere. Once the child was placed in a new home, she was verbally attacked and the perpetrator was given support by people, including a State Legislator.

Was this due to the fact that they lived in a small native village in Alaska? Was it because the convicted sex offender was friends with many people there? The answer to both is yes. But there is more.

Victim shaming and blaming are some of the most horrendous injustices of the criminal justice system, but these things do not only occur in small towns. As a disclaimer, the place I lived in while working as an investigative intern was a smaller town, but it wasn’t that small. There is a major university there.

When we turn our heads to ignore the disgraces of our friends and/or family, we forget to remember there is a face of someone else who was injured. Money and privilege may tell us that “our” people should not be forced to deal with the consequences of their actions, but what happens next? The person trying to protect his child gets charged with false reporting. Thank goodness I was there to protect that one person while he was going through that scenario.

Yet, there are so many more out there I cannot stand up for. We have to be advocates for those who cannot protect themselves because there are too many out there who cannot. To the man who stood up for his daughter in Indiana, I stuck by you even when no one else wanted to. I did it because you were protecting a child. I only wish Cathy Munoz’s goal was to do the same.

Obamacare: A Fine Blend of Capitalism and Socialism

Obamacare: A Fine Blend of Capitalism and Socialism

Like oil and water, these two ideologies simply don’t mix. Last night, I read an article on NPR about Aetna dropping from the Affordable Care Act, known to many people as Obamacare. As a curious bystander and occasional commenter, I typically read the comments section to see how people feel about what was written, but I’ll get back to that in a moment.

What Doctors Want

I knew what my opinion was after reading the article. My initial response was that we cannot have things both ways, at least when it comes to health care. We are either committed to helping people get healthy or we are committed to making a profit. We may like to believe the two are ultimately intertwined; yet when it comes down to it, most doctors don’t go to medical school and put themselves in enormous student loan debt to save people’s lives. They do it for prestige and wealth.

Remember the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine is dating the pre-med guy who hasn’t yet passed his exam? She gives up sex to help him concentrate and in the end of the episode, he passes his exam and breaks up with her. Upon questioning, he explains that he always knew when he became a doctor, he would break up with whoever he was with to find someone better. That was his goal all along.

Now, this may not be a realistic example of a modern doctor’s aspirations, after all, it is only a TV show set in the 1990’s. However, there are many doctors who are arrogant and prove it as such. I’m not sure what they have to go through to medical school, but I liken it to the psychological conditioning police officers face. It’s us against them.

Why would I say that? In a general sense, doctors are at odds with the public due to liability and malpractice concerns. Additionally, they are faced with every single awful problem that happens to human beings, which can make you pretty jaded. They lose empathy and compassion after seeing sick people day after day, but I digress.

Healthcare: Left vs. Right

Getting back to the comments section of the article I was reading, there were two dominant males (as usual) hashing out why Bernie Sanders’ version of democratic socialism versus the free market. One thing I noticed, in particular, was how the free market defender kept referring to “the left” and how people on the left did not understand the concept of the free market or economic policy.

As I read the combatants’ comments, I recognized that both sides are correct in their views. If there is too much government involvement, we become controlled and powerless. However, if we let the free market run to its own devices, we end up with businesses running amok and polluting everything. The real problem, as I am seeing it now, is that the so-called free market has colluded with the government through bribery and scare tactics.

When it comes to healthcare, governmental control combined with the greed of corporations ultimately gave us the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) signed into law in 2010. Had Obama been strong enough to stand up and insist that “health care for all” meant that anyone who works, period, should qualify for coverage, there would not have been such a large drop in full-time positions available, especially minimum wage jobs.

Any employee of a retail establishment or restaurant who hadn’t been grandfathered in, or held a management position, saw his or her hours cut, to ensure the employer would not be responsible for coverage. In the case of Aetna back in 2014, when PPACA went into effect, they saw an opportunity to make money. What they did not realize, was the costs involved with helping people who had probably gone without any sort of care for years.

My Experience with the PPACA

To this day, after over twenty years of being employed, I have never qualified for health care coverage at any single position. Perhaps that is due to my inability to stick around any one place for more than a year. Maybe it is because I am a woman, which disqualifies me for certain positions. Notably, I have not acquired a bachelor’s degree either, due to my income an unwillingness to become indebted to student loans, so there is that as well.

But, the biggest issue which has caused my inconsistent work behavior, and therefore prevented me from obtaining regular coverage, comes from the mental health problems which have interfered with my ability to cope.

People like myself – as was sarcastically noted in the comments section of the NPR story – the homeless [formerly, in my case] and mentally ill, are the people who drive up the costs of health care in some people’s minds. The opposing argument was that it is the for-profit businesses who intentionally drive up the costs.

Of course, being on the flipside of that coin, I am prone to confirmation bias; that the side that blames homeless and mentally ill people is wrong. Yet, it is plausible that I am wrong because I am basing my opinions not on fact, but experience.

Whose Fault is it Anyway?

To play the devil’s advocate (notably, I do believe this opinion is devilish – it’s certainly not Jesus-like), let’s just say it’s the homeless and mentally ill are causing the rates of health care to go up. My argument to the devil’s opinion is this: if that is the case, and more affluent people are being forced to take on the burden of cost via increased insurance, etc., then why don’t we formulate a system which allows the most cumbersome population to become more valuable to us in general?

Could we not figure out a way to help people instead of perceiving them as a burden? I sincerely believe my brother committed suicide because that was how he saw himself, as a burden. I still to this day, see myself as one to my parents and even to my friends. The difference is that I want to try harder to make it through because I don’t believe my time is up yet. I will pass when it’s my time to go.

But until that time comes, I need healthcare. I need food. I need water. We all do.

I have a job again, and for that I am grateful. But what about those who do not have the option to find one? Are we supposed to just ignore it and say, “Oh well. It’s not my problem”? There are tons of people down in Louisiana right now who are battling against the flooding down there, saving lives. Is that their problem? Absolutely not, but they are still there doing it because it’s about humanity.

It’s about how we treat each other as human beings and whether our planet matters enough to bother to make an effort even when we do not gain personally from it. I imagine the richest people in the world laugh out of spite in these scenarios; “Good, fewer people to take my money away,” they probably think.

I do not know the answer to whether free market or government is the better of the two. What I do know is that when there is too much back-scratching between large powers, and in our case in America, there is too much opportunity for corruption. At this point, our planet is struggling to sustain what humans are putting it through, and we must change if we want to continue to live here on planet Earth. If we do not alter our actions soon, we will not have a need for healthcare anymore, because there will be no habitable place for humans to reside any longer.

Playing God: Why Chimeras are Frightening

Playing God: Why Chimeras are Frightening

In response to a request for public comment on chimera research, this was my answer.

“I am horrified at the idea of combining human DNA with an animal’s DNA. One article produced by NPR notes that the chimeras would never be released into the wild and would be always be controlled in a lab environment. There are two major issues with this. First, animals are not meant to be bred and live in captivity in a controlled environment, period. This is proven by the inability of pandas and other species to breed while living in zoos. Additionally, what has been seen at Sea World with the miserable orca population, shows that many species have no business living in captivity, let alone being bred with a human’s DNA.

There is no way for people to know whether these creatures will suffer by having human DNA within them since it is probable that their intelligence may increase and they could even fall into a deep depression. Being that there is not enough research to prove whether blood or organs could possibly carry neurological disorders, any organs transplanted from these “chimeras” have the possibility of infecting, for lack of a better word, their human donors with mental illness developed as a result of sharing human DNA.

The second issue I am concerned with is the idea that these creatures will be contained at all times. The movie, Jurassic Park, comes to mind, as well as chaos theory. We may believe we can control everything with our superior human intelligence, but if we give animals the same ability as ourselves, even by mistake, things could seriously wrong. It only takes one rogue to create a major catastrophe; how do we know every scientist on board will take an ethical stance? Dr. Frankenstein, though a fictional character, began as an upstanding scientist, slowly converted into a monster-creating person and felt no remorse.

Humans are capable of becoming monsters, as well as creating them. I seriously implore the U.S. government to avoid touching into places which “play God.” We have no business there and I am certain that this will turn out as nothing but a disaster if we pursue this means of scientific research.”

The Woman Question

The Woman Question

“I want to say a little something that’s long overdue

The disrespect to women has got to be through

To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends

I want to offer my love and respect to the end.”

– MCA (Adam Yauch) R.I.P., Beastie Boys, “Sure Shot”

A few months back, Amy Schumer made headlines for her provocative flouting of the media’s strict guidelines for who or what is considered beautiful. I like Schumer; however, she could have accomplished much more to help out politically – think Rosario Dawson – this election cycle, than she did by starring in a Bud Light ad with Seth Rogen. Maybe this is because she has ties to politics and wants nothing to do with it.

Regardless of her political agenda (or lack thereof), she made her point: women are tired of being judged solely on their physical appearance. Brash behavior may work well for women like Samantha Bee, Sarah Silverman, and Schumer (who have all tried to break through the glass ceiling of the male-dominated comedy industry), but how does this play out for the average Jane?

Women Everywhere Are Subjected to Harsh Standards

Women’s “body-shaming” may seem irrelevant compared to sexier topics, but even so, it does continue to affect all of us, every day. After thousands of years of oppression, women continue to find themselves clawing to maintain dignity. The worst result of this being that women and children are statistically more likely to be poverty-stricken than men; they are simply more vulnerable in tenuous situations.

Reproductive rights are being chipped away, one state at a time. Women also have a longer life expectancy than men but are more likely to receive less than their male counterparts during retirement. Sure, the gender pay gap has narrowed slightly, but it still serves as a glaringly obvious example that the work women do is less important than men’s. Worse yet, women’s endeavors may never be considered equal to a man’s. Should that bother us? Yes. Do things need to change in that respect? Definitely.

We Know We Matter; It’s Time to Prove It

Schumer’s point about respecting women does not only touch on looks. It also reflects upon the idea that in order to be successful in this world we must be beneficial to men in some way, shape, or form. Mother, daughter, girlfriend, wife, aunt, cousin, or even mistress are all names impressed upon women in order to satisfy another person’s needs. Those may be acceptable among most people, but what about, “independent woman?” The implications with a such a title are much less generous than other words used to label women in our society.

Can we fight back against such misogyny? As with any important issue affecting millions of individuals, the only way to respond is as a collective. It is my belief that the die-hard female supporters Hillary Clinton stand by her as a group in an effort to prove that women, can be and are equals.

Whether you love her or hate her, she has accomplished a great feat, and women everywhere now stand a better chance of overcoming barriers in the workplace. I may not be her biggest fan, but I cannot deny that she has done some great things to advance women’s rights. Now, it’s up to the rest of us to show the world what we can do.

So You Have a High IQ? Why That’s Only Half the Story.

So You Have a High IQ? Why That’s Only Half the Story.

“For what is strength without a double share of wisdom?” – John Milton

The above quote is derived from a historical poem about Samson, the bible character whose strength rested only in his hair; once his wife betrayed him and cut his glorious locks, he became weak and impotent. Though a sad story, it is telling that people must have more than one level of ability in this world. Beyond the question of strength without wisdom begs a deeper and more important question; what is wisdom without empathy? Those whose minds are wise can only hope to use that knowledge and power if they also possess an understanding of other people’s needs and desires.

The Three-Legged Table

As noted above, strength is nothing without wisdom, as wisdom is nothing without empathy. None of these attributes stand alone. The three-legged table is a metaphorical version of this concept. Without each of these areas, or legs, man (or woman) is lacking something – and is thus unbalanced. The table absent one leg will tumble down. It requires the sturdy construction of all of the necessary components. Empathy requires emotional intelligence; without it, we dismiss the needs of others. This leads to failed relationships, whether in the workplace or in our personal lives.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

On the most basic level, emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize other people’s feelings, and be able to take them into consideration when taking action, whether good or bad. If you notice the look of hurt on someone’s face when saying something mean, you have basic emotional intelligence. If you see that the person is hurt, and try to rectify it, your EI is moderate to advanced, depending on how much you really get it. If you don’t care, simply put, you probably lack emotional intelligence.

However, if you recognize how people feel, and manipulate others for your own benefit, you ought to consider why that is. Do you feel like that is the only way to achieve your goals? If so, why is that? Our planet clearly does not base value primarily on meritocracy (unfair, yes), but this does not absolve us from our responsibility to others around us, or to ourselves as social creatures.

Does This Really Pertain to Me?

The real demand upon the human soul is, why in the heck does this matter? Can’t we just live for ourselves and not worry about it? Well, no – we can’t. We are all universally connected, no matter how many commercials attempt to convince us that we are “special” and “unique.” The truth is, we need to understand one another as a matter of survival, as a species. Social media is a perfect example of this phenomenon.  Many rely on it to reassure themselves of their perceived value, almost incessantly.

Even the angriest misfit on this planet craves attention. Everyone needs, not necessarily wants, to feel like they are a part of something, whether that goes with – or against – the grain. However, it is much simpler to catch flies with honey than with vinegar. Understanding other people’s feelings makes it a bazillion times easier to get others to cheerlead for you if you do the same for them first.

This may not be the reality in every single instance, but it generally rings true. The only people who are drawn to negativity likely already feel negative themselves. Joining in only perpetuates a cycle of hate, pain, and misery, but there are other ways to live; there really are!

What if EI Doesn’t Come Naturally to Me?

Everyone struggles with aspects of themselves. Just because you are highly intelligent does not mean you will have great relationships or be the most popular person in town. Often it takes someone who is open to others with themselves for people to feel okay with exposing their own personal challenges.  Sometimes, we have to be sensitive to others’ needs in order for people to open up to us.

Again, there are caveats here. There are certain politicians who don’t mind too much at all about people’s feelings unless those feelings can be manipulated to increase voter turnout. Sadly, this works for them. It is all a form of marketing – taking an emotionally vulnerable part of someone’s psyche, using it to gain trust, then making the sale. This method is colloquially known as A-B-C: Always Be Closing.

However, aside from the egocentricity that is blatantly displayed in American government anymore, most working people have to function within the realms of reality. And if you are reading this, most likely, this means you. So if you’re wondering about how to increase your EI, there are ways to help you get more in touch with your fellow brothers and sisters. All it takes is a little bit of time and mindfulness.

Life is not ideal, karma is a bitch, and we will all die someday. And that is okay.

Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

If you really care about how other people feel about you and want to increase your EI, but you are unsure where to begin, consider these basic tips:

  • Put down your phone when you are engaged in any activity or social visit. It is not only common courtesy; it is a safety concern. If you are riding a bike, enjoy the breeze. If you are walking, make sure to avoid falling into a manhole – a relatively gross term for a type of construction site.
  • Ask others for their opinions. It helps add to inclusiveness, rather than excluding those who may seem irrelevant to your goal at the time. Even if they have nothing pertinent to add at the moment, there are two benefits to this. First, you will help build rapport. Second, the person may take your question as an opportunity to learn something new, which may just turn into something beneficial in the future. You never know.
  • Learn from your experiences, every single day. There is a vast horizon full of lessons for those who are willing to put in the time and effort. The internet is an amazing thing, but books are truly classic. If you want to touch history and really gain understanding, crack an old book. There is nothing like it on this planet.
  • Recognize that we are all human. In the words of Homer Simpson, “we are none of us perfect.” Forgive others for their shortcomings so that you may be able to grow as a person.
  • Most importantly, be aware that life is not ideal, karma is a bitch, and we will all die someday. And that is okay.

So let’s just make the best of it while we are here and try our best to get along with one another. Life is short. Keep on living, and keep on smiling. That will increase your EI quotient faster than anything else possibly could. No one can resist a sincere grin that comes from within.