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-The wise man, not only has discovered the more basic principles of living a happy life, but he has also ferreted out many of the exceptions to those principles.

The not-so-wise-yet man has done neither of these and stumbles from day-to-day while using less fundamental principles and often not allowing for exceptions to whatever principles are guiding him.

-The wise man, not only has discovered the more basic principles of living a happy life, but he has also ferreted out many of the exceptions to those principles.

The not-so-wise-yet man has done neither of these and stumbles from day-to-day while using less fundamental principles and often not allowing for exceptions to whatever principles are guiding him.

If you can have fun with being rejected then, while still going for the "yeses," you may even get more "yeses" than you can handle.

What can occur as kind in the short-term can be unkind in the long-term.

If, in wanting to be kind, you keep helping your friend even when you'd prefer to say "no," you damage your relationship and therefore you're unkind to them (in the long run).

If, in wanting to be kind, you keep rescuing a friend or family member from their self-created emergencies, then you're unkind to them by training them to rely on you rather than to learn to face reality themselves.

If, in wanting to be kind, you don't take care of yourself in the process or helping others, then you reduce your ability to be kind to others in the future and therefore end up being less kind.

If, in wanting to be kind, you don't make a request you'd like to make, you deprive the other person of either the opportunity to say "yes" or the opportunity to choose courage by saying "no."

Two words that we take to mean the opposite can actually mean the same: altruism and selfishness.

Reciprocal altruism is the understanding that, in my doing something for you today, you will do something for me tomorrow. By this definition, when an employee provides labor to his boss, there is an understanding that, come pay time, his boss will give him a certain amount of money. It's the same as reciprocal selfishness.

Interestingly, the definition of reciprocal altruism doesn't seem to include more immediate "trades." For example, "Let's enjoy talking together on the phone." As we're talking together, we are trading: "you listen to me and I listen to you and we're both enjoying."

One way that altruism and selfishness become antonyms is when altruism is defined as, "you sacrifice yourself by doing something for me and I'll give you nothing in return, both now or in the future that makes you happy that you did what you did for me."

The second way that these distinctions can diverge is when selfishness is defined as only short-term selfishness: "you take advantage of another (getting them to sacrifice for you) by considering only your short-term selfishness at the expense of your long-term selfishness." It is quite rare, however, if we consider both our short-term and long-term selfish interests, that an irresolvable conflict will occur between our respective selfish interests.

For myself, I have found that, by taking off the table the option of me sacrificing for another or for them sacrificing for me, then I can always find a way to work things out with the other party. "Working things out" includes the option for both of us walking away, like when you can't find something in the store that fits you for the price you want. The store made a lot of offers and you declined them all (that you considered), at least on this visit. The store is not willing to give you any product without the money and you are not willing to pay money asked for any given product.

It all comes down to reciprocal selfishness being the best policy for everyone.

Saying "no" can often be a choice a courage. Making requests frequently is a choice of courage. Consider, however, that saying "yes" can also be a choice of courage.

You're invited to a party. You think you would enjoy the party. But, there's a chance you might feel awkward talking to a stranger. To face the fear of that risk, you will need to choose courage to say, "Yes, I will come to the party."

You'd like to go out on a date with a man. But you're concerned that you won't choose courage to keep good boundaries with him. It may be a courage to accept that date.

Your boss offers you a opportunity for a new job responsibility. The idea of the new opportunity excites you. But you're frightened that you won't be able to handle the new responsibilities good enough and you'll disappoint your boss and others. It could be a choice of courage to say to your boss, "Yes, I'll do it!"

Solve 90% of communication problems by…

1) Become conscious of any words that you use than may be "defined" by the listener differently than they way you understand that word. Discuss the specific meanings of those words before continuing with your conversation.

Many words (within a given usage) that we assume have clear meanings (for ourselves and for others) really don't. Common examples are good, bad, right, wrong, selfish, unselfish, weird, hard, unfair, fair, deserving, worthy, duty, obligation, giver, taker, lazy, love, loyal, and the list goes on.

2) Become conscious of words (hopefully before you use them) that are pejorative or blaming. These words are almost always ill-defined and they stimulate defensiveness.

In addition to many of the commonly ill-defined words listed above, other pejorative words include unloving, hateful, misinformed, biased, racist, sexist, hard-hearted, cold, aloof, dishonest, crazy, jerk, bitch, asshole, uncaring, egotist, psychopath, goldbricker, self-centered, disloyal, cheater, whore, and the list goes on.

If you address these two areas, the quality of your communication with others will go up at least 90%.

Even if you might die, survival is handled…

Anyone can die tomorrow (or even today). Maybe you can take actions to lessen the chances of you dying and maybe not. But it doesn't help (it actually hurts) to always live in "survival mode," as most of us do.

"Got to get this done. Need to catch up with that. Be careful I don't upset anyone. Make sure I look good to others. Life is hard. Life is unfair. Life is dangerous. I need to take things more seriously." These are the default mantras that live your life for you. All these self-directed warnings are supported by your automatic resistance to fear.

Undo that fear. Make friends with that fear. Become aware of these mechanistic worries that drive your life. Whenever you notice one, take three deep breaths and shout out four times in a slow, loud, silly voice (as an example with one specific worry), "Holy cats and jeepers creepers, I am so scared that I'm not looking good to others!" Notice the new sense of openness and freedom this creates.

I have good relationships with everyone (including those relationships in which I choose to have minimal contact).

It's easy for me since I take 100% responsibility to ensure that I take care of myself in all of my "transactions" with other. If they too are taking care of themselves in these transactions, then we continue to enjoy the "partnership of our mutual selfishnesses." Otherwise, in order to maintain mutual selfishness, we will have a relationship that has more boundaries and more distance so that we can both still be taking care of ourselves.

I don't expect or need others to be 100% responsible in taking care of their relationship with me. I don't blame them if the blame me. I just focus on trying to find a way we can both selfishly "transact," always being willing to say "bye bye" if we are unable to find such a way.

This approach creates the best possible relationships with others.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

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