Your ExampleAuthor: Catherine Pulsifer, © 1998
The personal example you set will do more to convince someone than all the eloquent speeches in the world. When you expect others to demonstrate a certain type of behaviour, ask yourself if your behaviour exemplifies what you expect of others.
Personal examples of behavior not only include verbal messages you send by the way you speak to others but also how you encourage others.
Consistency Is Key
The best part of setting examples is that you have a constant influence but you must be aware that everything you say is being watched. It is something like training a dog to adopt a new behavior. One thing about training, or setting examples, is that you must be consistent. For example, in training a dog to sit you must always get the dog to sit every time you give the command. You cannot allow the dog to disobey at any time or, the dog will think that this command only applies once and awhile. Consistency is the key just as it is in setting an example for human consumption.
As Oliver Goldsmith once said, "You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips."
Pull By Example
If you take a piece of string and push it, it will not go in the direction you want. But, if you take that same piece of string and pull it along, the string will move in the same direction. That principle applies to people. Don't push them along; pull them along by your own actions, your behaviour, your enthusiasm, and your determination. Reflect on the words of Albert Schweitzer, "Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing."
Everyone has an opportunity to set an example even if they think they do not. We set an example with every word, with every motion, and with everything we do or do not say. Some of these examples of behavior are those that we do that we do not expect to observe by others but they happen all the time.
A Misstep To Watch For
Some of those occasions when we would rather not be observed setting a poor example can happen to us all at anytime and at any place. Some of these times can occur quite innocently especially when we are over tired or under extreme stress. These are the times, though, that we need to exercise tremendous control over our raw emotions and understand that what we do is what others may also do. This is extremely important in any family unit despite the fact that they are our closest loved ones. But, it doesn?t matter when you slip up and show uncontrolled emotion, it is invariably more often remembered rather than all those times when we were in absolute control and showed the right way to deal with any situation. The advent of not being in control and thereby not setting a proper example is easy to do rather than being in control. Take for example when a driver cuts you off in traffic. The normal reaction is to get angry or give them a rude gesture. But, this only shows that you are letting a circumstance that has no emotion attached to it, the power to exact a response from you.
Tests of Positive Actions and Behavior
Circumstances we meet throughout the day or week or month do not possess a soul nor do they have emotion. We are the ones who give them life through how we react or do not react. Take that driver, for example, that cut you off. Maybe they didn?t even realize they did it and off they go on their merry way without a care in the world while, in the meantime, you are fuming with fists gesturing and blood pressure rising. What is the better way to handle this especially if you have passengers like young adults who are about to get their license? Well, for sure, a negative behavior, or an inappropriate behavior or response does not set a positive example.
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