Written by Mandy Michael

Being a better person

I'm not big on new year's resolutions, I'm of the opinion if you want to change something just do it. Don’t wait for a new year. However, this year it somewhat timed up with a change I wanted to make. So this year I made my new year's resolution: be a better person.

I'm not a bad person, I’m pretty nice (I think), at least I try to be. I've made some poor choices and there are situations that I 100% regret. I’ve certainly not always been as kind as I should have been. So there are a few things about myself I’d like to focus on changing in my attempt to be a better person.

There are a few people that had a direct impact on me in this journey to become a better person. I may not mention them directly in the guys of this post but I've made sure to refer to them at the end.

Listen more

There is a great video by Celeste Headlee called "10 ways to have a better conversation". In which she says

"Most of us don't listen with the intent to understand, we listen with the intent to reply."

I am guilty of this, and it's something I'm actively trying to change. We get so focussed on ourselves, our opinions and beliefs that we don't stop to think that maybe someone else has something we can learn from. Some of the best advice i've heard was from Celeste Headlee "Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn."

You can't learn if you are talking so just listen. It might change your life. That is what i'm hoping for.

Stop judging people

This isn't something I do consciously, it just kind of happens, and it's completely wrong. People that I have previously judged have turned out to be really amazing people. I think about all those times i've judged someone and it makes me sad to think I might have missed out on a great friend, mentor, or experience.

You don't know the situation behind everyone's decisions, you don't know what led them to be, say or act a particular way. So just stop judging.

Be kind

Help people, be supportive, don't be judgemental. Even if someone is a massive jerk, still be kind to them. You don't know the ins-and-outs of someone's life, everyone has a bad day. Your kindness can change a person's shitty day into a great day, and if you can inspire someone else to be kind then it’s worth it.

Accept compliments

This might sound weird but it came out of a conversation I had with my friend, Patima. She gave me a compliment, I immediately shut her down and disagreed. Patima said that by doing so I had discounted her opinion, whether I believe it to be true or not shouldn’t matter because she does. She said her opinion counts as much as mine. This is so obvious, but completely blew my mind. So the next time someone compliments you, take it, accept it, say thank you!

While you're at it, give compliments. Tell people when they have made an impact on your life because you know what, they probably don't realise.

How is it going?

I’m not going to lie, this has been tough, it is easy to fall back into old habits. I keep pulling myself up on it and I’ve noticed a change. Since I started down this path I discovered that there are a lot of kind people in the world. I used to think "people are jerks". What a ridiculous generalisation, and I was so wrong. That was just me projecting my jaded view of the world onto the people around me.

When you stop, when you listen and you're kind to others you find that most people are actually really amazing. Celeste Headlee (again) said:

"Everyone has some hidden amazing thing about them"

Don't miss out on that experience!

If I can be even slightly better at this than I am now, that is a step in the right direction.

Special thanks:

I think it's important to thank the people that have an impact, and whether they know it or not, they do change your life. Obviously there are a lot of people that are inspirational, but these five people have had a great impact in the past couple of months. So thanks! I hope you know you are appreciated.

Patima Tantiprasut @the_patima
Patima is a new friend, but someone I wish I'd met years ago. I aspire to be as amazing, motivational and talented as she is. Her energy is infectious and she is a pleasure to be around. So much to learn from this wonderful woman. Thanks Patima!

Sharon Lyons (My sis)
Always giving me the hard truths, as big sisters do! Thanks for keeping me on track, you have always been an inspiration. Keep being you.

Celeste Headlee @celesteheadlee
Check out her talk "10 ways to have a better conversation", it helped to redirect me on this journey to be better and is a great reminder that we all do these things.

Zachary Levi @ZacharyLevi
I recently started watching the videos "Conversations with Zachary Levi" by Nerd HQ. I found his enthusiasm and passion very inspirational. I love his perspective on life and I hope to be as kind, idealistic and awesome as he is.

Find inspiration where you can, from who you can, keep being awesome and try and be the best version of yourself you can.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

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Contact me on Twitter @mandy_kerr, or email me