Exceptional is the Goal

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.

~Dale Carnegie

Let me start out today with this disclaimer. Yes, I am aware that some things, situations, places, people completely stink. I agree that there are times when the redeeming quality that you can find isn’t worth the effort it took to find it.

However, contrary to recent (or maybe just more noticeable) behavior, a good many people are starting to think my disclaimer is the norm. It is not. If we were real honest with ourselves, we would instinctively know that it is the very rare exception.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrases, “that’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard of”, “why in the world would they do it that way”, “this makes me sick”, or other moans that sound like that. I have heard them so often, I have noticed them coming from my mouth as well, even as I am disgusted by the same behaviors in others – now ain’t that crazy.

I have had to spend a good bit of time reminding myself that the way I see things isn’t always the way things are. My perception is only one of a variety of perceptions – all of which have different histories and influences. Should I assume the worse of the available perceptions is accurate, my attitude and influence in the situation becomes yet another negative influence. The situation escalates and I have achieved my prophecy – completely self fulfilled and avoidable with a better attitude.

Today, I encourage you to mind your company and mind your behavior. Think of those folks that you really enjoy spending time with – they are uplifting, supportive, positive, encouraging. Appreciate that in them and commit to treating others that way. Our behaviors, if not carefully watched, are apt to follow in line with those around us. I am not placing blame, as we are all responsible for our own reactions and choices. I am acknowledging a choice to remember that good is nice, great is better and exceptional is the goal. And we can get there – with character, self control, and just a little help from a few friends.

*Featured photo credit ~ sanja gjenero
*Carnegie Photo – Public domain


  1. ray collins says:

    This is the dumbest article I have ever read!

  2. Well, Ray, we are all entitled to our opinions. It would be helpful if you could be a bit more constructive so that I can understand fully your intention.

  3. I took the Dale Carnegie class many years ago. I learned so much about relating to people I felt like I could read minds. Your post is a good reminder.

    People tend to complain more than look for the positive but I think people like to HEAR the positive more than complaints.

  4. Ned, I think you are absolutely right about the complain/hear ratio…interestingly enough…have you noticed that people kinda feel embarrassed (or get defensive) about all that complaining when you say one simple positive thing in return?

Speak Your Mind