Footstep on the sandWhom do you trust and respect? What about those people’s plans, decisions, and actions cause you to look up to them?

I’ve always been fascinated by the human condition and how us imperfect beings react to our circumstances.

We all face both desirable and undesirable scenarios each day. We experience bad breaks we don’t deserve and bad breaks we do deserve. We experience good breaks we deserve and good breaks we don’t deserve.

I’m inspired by people who remain calm, confident, and kind in the face of their circumstances, who ride out their good and bad breaks steadily, always moving forward on their chosen path.

How do these calm, aligned, kind players find their path? My studies have helped me gain some insights into proven avenues to that alignment. Many world religions outline very similar avenues. In Buddhist traditions, for example, it’s called the Eightfold Path (you can learn more here and here.

This path is intended as a guide to help us humans see life realistically. Exploring these areas can help us settle in to our right or proper path.

Ponder these eight areas:

  • Right (or Proper) View – Understanding that our personal views of the world may inhibit our ability to see the world clearly. Us humans have many beliefs that can cloud our ability to live in the present without mental noise and anguish. This area invites exploration to assess any beliefs that contribute to clouding our views.
  • Right Intention – If one’s intentions on this day are to treat others kindly and fairly, one typically does exactly that. If our intentions are driven by our anger, resentment, or greed, then we are more likely to treat others badly. Having wholesome intentions takes practice!
  • Right Action – Clear intention helps one demonstrate aligned actions. The right actions help us behave in ways that helps and doesn’t harm ourselves or others. We need to pay attention to the impact of our plans, decisions, and actions on others, not just ourselves.
  • Right Speech – In any communications one makes – speaking, writing, emailing, etc. – choose to not hurt feelings, lie, gossip, or intentionally make people angry or defensive. This doesn’t mean that you cannot share your ideas or opinions! It means that one ensures his or her communications are honest and helpful.
  • Right Livelihood – This area doesn’t mean that there are good or bad places to work. It means that we must be aware of how we behave in our workplace – how we treat peers, bosses, and customers. We can choose how to behave and how our workplace ethics are demonstrated.
  • Right Effort – Effort towards undesirable ends doesn’t help us. Aligned effort enables us to demonstrate compassion and contribution. It can help us step away from greed, anger, and fear.
  • Right Mindfulness – Pay attention to what you pay attention to! The little voices in our heads can distract us from being present. Mindfulness keeps one anchored in the moment, engaging with others kindly, and applying our skills in service to others.
  • Right Concentration – Multitasking doesn’t work. Concentration asks us to focus on one thing at a time. It lets us sharpen our thinking, refine thinking that causes us anxiety and stress, and contribute more consistently and kindly.

Further exploration of these areas will benefit me. I have much to learn before I act calmly, confidently, and kindly in every circumstance!

What do you think? What causes you to trust and respect certain people you interact with or observe? To what degree have you engaged in any of these areas to be more calm, confident, and kind? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway. The Great Boss Assessment compares your current boss’ behaviors with those of great bosses. The Performance-Values Assessment compares your organization’s culture practices to those of high performing, values-aligned teams and organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My new book from Wiley, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Get your free sample chapter here.

Photo © istockphoto.com/Malbert. All rights reserved.

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The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.

S. Chris Edmonds

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of The Culture Engine and six other books.
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