Rule # 15 – Be Compassionate

The fifteenth rule of being a man is:

Be compassionate

People matter

Much of the meaning, joy, and value of life is derived from our relationships and interactions with others.

Think about everything that you do. How much of it would matter if you were the only person on earth?

Would you go to work? Not likely. Your work wouldn’t have meaning. Not just because you don’t need to work to get paid, but because the things you do at work are likely to help someone else.

That’s how our world works. Almost everything we do, we do because of the other people in our lives.

Doctors help other people. Lawyers and accountants help other people. Truck drivers, drive because they’re delivering goods so that other people can use or buy them.

Farmers raise way more food than they can eat because they are providing it for the rest of the country.

What would life be without other people?

What you do matters

Every action you take and every thing you say to another person affects someone.

That affect can be positive or it can be negative.

That’s why it’s important to always see others as human beings. Human beings with value.

Everyone is a human being just like you with wants, needs, strengths, weaknesses, hopes, and fears just like you have.

When you show compassion, you treat others as human beings of value.

You reinforce their worth and show them that they matter.

The opposite of compassion

Here are words that mean the opposite of compassion:

  • Cruelty
  • Meanness
  • Hatred
  • Harshness
  • Indifference

I don’t want to treat anyone with cruelty, hatred, harshness, meanness, or indifference and I don’t want anyone to treat me in any of those ways.

I’m sure you don’t either.

They’re all negative behaviors that destroy relationships and create enemies. In the best case, indifference, is still a very uncaring way to be treated.

Imagine if you are suffering and the hospital staff treat you with indifference. How would you feel?

I would feel let down and rejected. I would feel like they were telling me I am not a worthy human being, that I don’t matter.

When you treat someone with indifference, your actions say that you don’t care about them. That’s not how a man treats others.

Compassion isn’t always easy

Sometimes it can be hard to show compassion.

Like when someone cuts you off in traffic or causes a traffic accident. In cases like those, it’s often very easy to get angry and to think of that other person as dumb or reckless.

You might want to call them names like “idiot” or worse.

Other times maybe it’s a struggle to show compassion when your children are misbehaving. Again, you might be tempted to get angry and shout at them or threaten them, “If you don’t go to bed right now, I’ll ground you for a week!”

But if you think about the other person in those situations and show compassion for them, they will feel better and you’ll often find you do too.

The person who hit your car didn’t do it on purpose. They aren’t happy to have caused the accident and they’re probably beating themselves up inside over it. At the very least, they will have to deal with insurance and car repairs and all the same things that are upsetting you.

And your children aren’t misbehaving to purposely make you angry. They have wants and needs and are trying to meet those needs and learn their way in the world. Maybe they feel like they haven’t gotten enough attention lately or maybe they are trying to express more independence and don’t know a better way.

Showing compassion makes a difference

When you show compassion and treat others as human beings first, then you:

  • Understand that they are imperfect, flawed, and struggling just like you are at time
  • Won’t see them as an enemy or a burden
  • Give yourself the opportunity to see them as a gift
  • See this moment as an chance to make a positive difference in their lives

Showing compassion to others makes a positive difference in everyone’s life.

– Weston Henry

Questions:

Do you show compassion in your treatment and interactions with others?

Can you think of a situation where you didn’t show compassion? How could you have handled it differently to show more compassion?

Is there a time that sticks out in your mind when someone treated you with compassion? How did that make you feel?

 Is there a time when someone didn’t treat you with compassion? How did you feel afterward?

How can we make compassion a habit so that it’s our normal everyday behavior?

Rule # 14 – Look Out For Your Team

The fourteenth rule of being a man is:

Look out for your team

The people who depend on you, who look up to you, and who need you are your team.

Your team could be your children, your spouse, co-workers, or players on a sports team.

Whoever your team is, you look out for them.

You become a leader when Continue reading “Rule # 14 – Look Out For Your Team”

Rule # 12 – Patience And Persistence (Take A Long-Term View)

The twelfth rule of being a man is:

Have patience and persistence (take a long-term view)

As a man you must have patience and persistence. You need to take a long-term view of things. Understand that great things, things worth having, take time.

Any great accomplishment took time. Building the Hoover Dam or Mount Rushmore each took an enormous amount of time and effort.

That time and effort actually started long before the first worker showed up with a shovel. It started with a Continue reading “Rule # 12 – Patience And Persistence (Take A Long-Term View)”

Rule # 8 – Stick Up For What You Believe In

The eighth rule of being a man is:

Stick up for what you believe in

Sticking up for what you believe in is another form of doing the right thing. Because if you believe in something then you should stick up for it.

Speak out!

Take up the cause.

Dedicate some of your time and energy to improving the situation.

It’s one thing to say you believe in something. But it’s another thing to Continue reading “Rule # 8 – Stick Up For What You Believe In”

Rule #1: Do The Right Thing

The most important rule of being a man is simple:

Always do the right thing.

On the surface that sounds so simple it’s almost a platitude.

I’ve made many mistakes in my life: mistakes in business, mistakes in my marriage, mistakes in parenting, and mistakes in friendships. When I analyze them, the ones I regret, the ones where I really screwed up were the ones where I didn’t do the right thing.

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s not possible to live a perfect life. For most mistakes, you take it as an opportunity to learn as much as you can from the mistake and then you move on. If you learn from your mistakes, you’re a better person for each one.

Mistakes are when you don’t know any better. If you try your best and later find out you didn’t get it right, that’s a mistake.

That’s not what I’m talking about here.

What I’m talking about here is doing the right thing. Doing the right thing means doing what you know is right. Let me say that again:

“Doing the right thing means doing what you know is right.”

No taking shortcuts or skirting the issue because that would be easier. It means facing things head on and doing what you know is right.

It means being authentically you and acting true to yourself.

If you get this behavior right, it makes all the other rules of being a man a lot easier. In fact, if you get this one right, it’s almost automatic that you’ll get the other rules right too.

That might make it sound easy. It’s not.

For one thing, doing the right thing in every case isn’t always easy.

Sometimes doing the right thing means admitting you were wrong. Sometimes doing the right thing means putting others before yourself. Sometimes it means facing fears. Sometimes it means having patience and sacrificing today for something better in the long run.

For one reason or another, it’s often not easy to do the right thing.

But the biggest challenge is that doing the right thing requires knowing what the right thing is and this is what gets really hard. How do you really know what the right thing is?

To know what the right thing is requires effort to really know yourself and you have to put that effort in ahead of time. It’s too late to try to figure this all out when you have a decision to make. You have to know ahead of time what your values are, what your priorities are, what your guiding principles are, what your goals are, and what your boundaries are. I’ll have much more to say about this in future posts.

But in many cases, knowing what the right thing is requires you to understand someone else. Does that employee need a push or do they need support right now? Does my child need accountability or empathy right now? What are the words my wife most needs to hear right now?

So to do the right thing means you must care about others and seek to understand them.

To know what the right thing is requires you to be really clear on what you think right and wrong are.

And then you have to do it. You have to do the right thing. You have to do it even if you don’t want to. You have to do it even if it means giving up something else you would rather do. You have to do it even if it’s uncomfortable and even if it scares you.

To be a real man means you have to do the right thing. You have to be true to yourself. You have to be authentic. You have to think clearly. And then you have to act! You have to DO THE RIGHT THING.

– Weston Henry

Questions:

What does it mean to you to do the right thing?

What has happened in your life as a result of doing or not doing something you knew was right?