Today I am taking you on an adventure to Fairyland to be sprinkled with fairy wisdom. Once there was a competition to know who was the smartest fairy in Fairyland. The Water Fairy, the Green Fairy, and the Frost Fairy were going to compete. The three competing fairies had to answer 3 questions.
- The first question was: What do you give to others but still try to keep?
- The second question was: What does everyone need, want, and ask, but never take?
- The third question was: What can you never get rid of when you lose it?
The Water Fairy had all the answers and enlighten us with her fairy wisdom.
Fairy Wisdom 1: What do you give to others but still try to keep?
We give promises to others and try to keep them. Making promises is easy. Honoring them is another story. We make promises for lots of reasons, and our intentions are usually good. We want to help someone in need. We want to make people happy. But sadly, our actions don’t always measure up to the promises we make. Why is this?
There could be a few reasons. It is possible that we don’t realize that we’ve made or implied a promise. We forgot what we’ve said. We get sidetracked by other events. We lose enthusiasm when we realize that keeping our word is harder than we expected. We haven’t allowed enough time, or we have a scheduling conflict. We lack the power to do what we’ve said we’d do.
You may get away with letting someone down once or twice, but if you keep going back on your promises, the consequences could be deep and enduring, whether on a professional or personal level. It is better not to over-commit yourself to do something if you know that you are not going to have the time or the capacity to do it. Do not make a promise if you know that you can’t keep it. But if you do make a promise to someone, do everything you can to keep your word. Your reputation and trustworthiness depend on it.
And please, don’t forget to treat promises to yourself as seriously as promises to others. Make sure that you keep the promise you made to yourself to take care of your physical and mental health on a daily basis, to manage your personal finances with care and attention, to spend time with family and friends, to spend time reflecting on what is most important to you in life and to live and work according to your deepest values. When you make and keep promises to yourself, you become a better, more fully realized version of yourself, which benefits not only you but everyone around you.
Fairy Wisdom 2: What does everyone need, want, and ask, but never take?
Advice is what everyone needs, wants, and asks for but is never willing to take. Receiving advice and guidance is often seen as the passive consumption of wisdom. When the exchange is done well, people on both sides of the table benefit. Those who are truly open to advice and guidance develop better solutions to problems than they would have on their own. They add nuance and texture to their thinking. Those who give advice effectively yield soft influence – they help shape important decisions while empowering others to act.
The whole interaction is a subtle and intricate art. What is required on both sides is emotional intelligence, self-awareness, restraint, diplomacy, and patience. Ignore as much as possible the temptation to overstep by giving unsolicited advice. Giving unsolicited advice is usually considered intrusive and is seldom followed anyway. Best not to venture over that boundary.
For people who seek advice, act on the advice you’ve received if it resonates with you, and don’t forget to make real-time adjustments. Advice is best treated as provisional and contingent, not a fixed path forward. Things change all the time. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. Stay alert and present. For the giver of advice, walk your talk, and make a note to follow your own advice once in a while.
Fairy Wisdom 3: What can you never get rid of when you lose it?
The one thing you can never get rid of even if you lose it is one’s temper. We all know what anger is because we have all felt it. The academic definition of anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Like other emotions, it is accompanied by psychological and biological changes; when you are angry, your heart rate, blood pressure, your adrenaline and cortisol levels go up.
Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats. It inspires powerful, often aggressive feelings and behaviors, which allows us to fight to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is not a bad thing and is necessary for our survival. But anger can become problematic when it is frequent and out of control.
We all have different triggers to make us lose it; but some people are more ‘hotheaded’ than others. They get angry more easily and more intensely than the average person does. There are also those who don’t show their anger in loud spectacular ways but are chronically irritable and grumpy. Easily angered people don’t always curse and throw things; sometimes they withdraw socially, become passive-aggressive, and sulk. People who are easily angered have a low tolerance for frustration, they feel that they should not have to be subjected to frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance. Things should go their way always. Angry people tend to think that they are morally right and that any blocking or changing of their plans is an unbearable indignity.
My (unsolicited) advice to the angry/grumpy person, would be to take some deep breaths, take some time out, and go read a book about anger management; if you don’t have time to read a book you could read or re-read this article and get sprinkled with some fairy wisdom.
And this my dear friend is Your Quest.
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