On my flight back to Orlando from NYC (from my last ‘visit’ before finally making the big move) I had the pleasure –although I didn’t exactly see it that way at the time—of sitting next to a very chatty and jolly man who I diagnosed with advice vomit syndrome or ADV (silently to myself, of course). I’d like to think that I’m always down for a lengthy conversation that delves into life’s most philosophical mysteries – and non-mysteries— with strangers… but really most of the time I prefer to just keep to myself. In an attempt to change one of my non-desirable habits (keeping to myself) I decided to engage the man sitting next to me with a friendly ‘boy oh boy! Are we lucky to not have a middle person’ – we were the only row of seats without all three chairs taken up on the whole plane. I had no idea I was opening up an hour long tsunami of life advice by attempting to engage in friendly – in what I was hoping would only be a five minute – conversation.
I’d just like to point out; I think the whole point in engaging others is to partake in meaningful conversation – duh. Only in this instance I was simply trying to overcome my illogical fear of engaging strangers in conversation. Of course there was no way for me to know just how much I’d benefit from this interaction.
Although he told me his name, I don’t remember it anymore and shall refer to him as ‘The Man’ from here on out. (I’m totally working on the whole remembering people’s names thing too!) The Man had an incredibly deep voice, the kind you imagine a bass opera singer might have; only his was deep and annoyingly soft. The combination of the air pressure pumps and chatter from the other passengers made it difficult to make out everything The Man was trying to tell me. After the first five ‘what was that?’ I got tired of asking him to repeat ‘that’ and just nodded politely with a ‘yes I totally understand where you’re coming from’ expression glued on my face.
This (The)Man, among other wonderful advice I probably let fizzle out through the rumbling air, described his ongoing personal project to better himself – something that caught my attention immediately; an idea so simple that I had to emulate it for my own betterment project (something I’ll ramble on about later). The Man showed me a list that helped him grow daily to become a better version of himself. A compilation of all the traits he saw in others he admired; the traits that he hoped to acquire for himself.
I love lists! The Man inspired me to make my own list [Qualities I Hope to Have List or QIHHL]. At first, I thought about the people closest to me in my life – my family and friends, co-workers, and employers—and then those whom I’ll never meet, but still inspire me – celebrities and what little I know of them. The QIHHL is in no way exhaustive, there are many other qualities that I could add that would make me a better person, but this list – I feel – is most important to me.
I’ve started carrying the QIHHL with me everywhere I go – sitting cozy in my wallet. I like to add to it every time I feel inspired, keeping track of when I add certain qualities; this way I can see what was most important to me at certain points in my life.
This is not a self-help blog. I am a flawed individual with a likely flawed approach to bettering myself. But I am trying. So should you. If you want; that is. Do let me know if you decide to try this out… what qualities do you wish to see in yourself that are most important to you?
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