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Making the World a Little Better…One Person at a Time


We tend to focus on ourselves, but, as we have pointed out many times on this site, we believe that the fundamental purpose of our lives is to help others in some way. We do this primarily through our roles as teachers, electricians, farmers, parents, doctors, truckers and thousands of other ways we choose to live our life. But, there is another “requirement” in addition to these roles if we expect to have a meaningful life experience. Simply stated, it’s to be a good person, and to be a good example for others to follow. Whether you recognize your responsibility as such or not…you are indeed an example to those around you. The question is: Are you a good one?

A good example is the best sermon.

Benjamin Franklin

Making the World a Better Place

This should be a fundamental objective that we all share…to make the world a little better because we have lived in it. No one person, working alone, can accomplish this objective. But the more of us that “pull together,” the greater the chances that important improvements can be made. Considering this need for a collective effort, we each have the responsibility to use our influence—our example—in good and positive ways. 


This is not a responsibility that you asked for or “raised your hand” to receive. It comes with the territory, so to speak, and those who recognize that they have this responsibility—to be a good example and make things better for others—have a perspective that will help them create and develop  a successful and meaningful life.

while we can make slight changes to our outward appearance,

I'm starting to think this world is a place for us to learn 
that we need each other more than we want to admit.

Richelle E. Goodrich

What Defines the Example We Set for Others?

There are a number of factors that determine or define the example we set for others. However, this is not an “exact science” and different people will react to our example in different ways. That said, we still need to recognize two things: 1) that our life influences others and, as such,  we have a basic responsibility for it to be as good an influence as possible; and 2) there are fundamental components that collectively “create” the example we set for others. Let’s explore these two points in more detail.

while we can make slight changes to our outward appearance,

In our view there are seven (7) personal qualities or characteristics that comprise the example we set for others. At times, some may be more important than others depending on the individuals involved, but all are important in defining the example we set. These seven qualities include: attitude, effort, kindness, knowledge, honesty, listening, and achievement. Each of these is described further below.

Our Attitude

Are you a positive person, one who looks for the good in others, or are you one who frequently complains and talks more

about the negative side of the people and possibilities before you? Are you someone who smiles and laughs a lot, or are you a solemn person who is pretty serious about things each day? Do you talk about the future in positive terms or do you frequently remind others of your major concerns about the future? Take stock of yourself and the attitude you typically reveal to others and decide if more positive thoughts and words are in order.

A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. 
It is a catalyst and it sparks exceptional results. 

Wade Boggs


The Kindness We Show

We show kindness to others in different ways, but its forthcoming “from us” is contingent upon the respect we have and show for the other person. When it comes to kindness, we should respect everyone equally. Whether it’s the sack boy at the grocery, the post person delivering our mail, or the CEO of a major company, we must acknowledge the fact that this is a human being who, like you and me, wants to have a successful and meaningful life. By being kind, we show respect for this person as an individual as well as the life journey they may be on.

If you have not often felt the joy of doing a kind deed or saying a kind word, you have neglected much, most of all yourself. 

A. Neilen


The Extent of Our Effort

We often refer to this quality of a person as their work ethic. We, of course, hold high regard for those who work hard and pursue their daily routine and lifetime goals with a strong sense of purpose and the extended hours typically required to accomplish a meaningful result. Individuals who are lazy or only “talk a good game” seldom accomplish very much and almost never influence others in any positive way.

So with slight efforts, how could one obtain great results?
It is foolish even to desire it.



The Knowledge We Have and Share

The dictionary defines knowledge as “facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education.” The more knowledge you have, particularly about an area of keen interest to you, the more effective an individual you will be and the more value the example you will be setting for others. Limited knowledge almost always limits our success and the example we set for others. And, as we are reminded in the quote below, there are two areas of knowledge that are vitally important to each of us.

Head knowledge is good, but heart knowledge is indispensable.
We must all learn these days to become spiritual pioneers
if we would save the world from chaos.

E. V. Hammond


Honesty in All Things

We should have put this quality at the top of the list because, without question, it is the single most important quality in defining our relationships with others. Its presence creates successful interchanges with others, and is indispensable in “finding” ourselves and what we should do with our lives. The more one comes up short in the honesty department, the more difficult it will be for them to develop a meaningful and successful life.

Honesty is the cornerstone of character.
Honesty pays dividends both in dollars and in peace of mind.

B. C. Forbes


Listening to Others

If there is one quality that endears us to others, it’s listening to what they have to say. Listening is a physical verification that you have respect for the other person and value their right to share their thoughts and thinking with you. You may try to “sell others” with your words, but you will endear them to you with your willingness to look them in the eye and, for that time, listen to what they have to say.

A good listener is not only popular everywhere,
but after a while he knows something.

Wilson Mizner


Achievement of Important Things


Yes, in the end, you have to do something…accomplish something important. But by important we don’t mean business success or winning in sports. We mean developing helpful and positive relationships with others. We do this, as mentioned above, by assisting others through our roles as teachers, electricians, farmers, parents, doctors, truckers, and the thousands of other ways we choose to live our life. Your achievements, as we have defined them here, are determined by the extent to which you use your life to help others have better lives.

The most fulfilling times in my life are those times when I am helping others

Charmaine Forde


Look over these seven qualities and rate or assess yourself in each of them. You could give yourself a letter grade of A to F or a rating in the 1 to 10 range for each quality. This can be a very beneficial exercise as it is an effective way to identify areas where you need to improve. In addition, these “scores” both individually and collectively will give you a better idea of the quality of the example you are setting for others.

Questions/Discussion Points



How good is the example you currently set for others?
How can you improve your example and do a better job in fulfilling this responsibility?


Who do you know that sets a good example for others?
What is it about them that makes you feel this way?


Name two individuals who are influenced by your example?
For each, briefly describe how you feel that you influence them?

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