I mentioned in my last post how important it is to me to connect with people. Well, there’s a little secret to this social activity. Unbeknownst to my friends, I am actually constantly capitalizing on their positive characteristics. By spending time with the people I admire I can see how they behave in certain situations. I might notice how calmly they deal with an overtired child, how kindly they treat their spouse, how light-heartedly they speak about a recent failure, how easily they relax and engage with company when there are still dishes to be done. Some call it having a role-model, I call it character trait thievery. I’ve learned that I need to be purposeful about spending time with specific people in my life. These moments give me a chance to observe the characteristics I am trying to emulate in my own everyday life – the characteristics that I struggle with most. This practice is humbling because I had to realize that there are people in my life that are actually better than me at certain things. It’s easy to accept that Michael Phelps is a better swimmer than I am. It’s slightly more difficult to accept that my best friend is a more patient mom. Thankfully, accepting where others outrank me in certain qualities is the hardest part and from there there is only growth.
“Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.”
– Clarence the angel, from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life