Get More Out of Life:
Are You a Net Giver?

When it comes to power, are you a net giver?

Friends take care of each other. Can you get more out of life by being a net giver?


If you’re not, you’re a net taker. When it comes to giving power in the world, there is no net neutral.

Each of us has profound personal power and influence. We get more out of life and become our best-selves when we’re aware of others and contributing…yet continuing to value ourselves and seeking to meet our own needs.

Many of us undervalue ourselves. We believe our needs and wants should come second to others (some would even place our own wants and needs third, after attempting to meet the wants of a higher-power). While giving to others and following our spiritual beliefs is, of course important, we can only become fulfilled if we’re also meeting our own needs and potential.

Before we’re able to realize and fulfill greater needs beyond ourselves, we must find fulfillment within. We must discover our purpose to get more out of life.

Understanding Your Personal Power and Value

Do you know what your value is? Many of us aren’t aware of our potential or our profound value. Inside each of us is the ability to influence and change the world. Just think of that for a moment.

You have a basic inalienable right to discover and fulfill your potential. And to exercise that right, you must transform and evolve from who you’ve been to who you could become.
This sentiment has been echoed throughout the millennia as man has sought to discover what makes a good life. For the ancient Greeks the good life was arete—often translated as virtue, but more accurately, it means reaching your highest potential. The goal of life for the ancient Greeks wasn’t happiness or contentment, but rather human flourishing—eudaimonia—the actualization of our distinctive function and capacities and living up to our potential.
Every religion and every spiritual teacher—whether Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha or the saints as they followed the call to unknown lands and possibilities—teaches us to develop the discipline to live good lives, to become enlightened and aware, to break through illusion (what the Hindus call Maya), to align with higher principles, to make the most out of our lives, and to become the best people we can be…
…[Those who] study the good life, discover that it entails engaging, finding meaning and having the opportunity to improve our lives. They have definitively proven that it is not what we buy or have, but who we are and what we experience, that brings us satisfaction.
–Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

In each and every interaction we have, from bumping into an officemate in the elevator, the barista at the coffee shop, or a fellow passenger on the train, we have the ability to connect, engage, and bring deeper meaning and purpose to the moment. With each interaction we can discover more about others as well as ourselves and bring more satisfaction into our lives.

Reflect on your conversations—do you have conversations that actually have a purpose? Do you talk about the weather, sports, or last nights’ results on The Voice?

Our conversations are powerful, influential, and deep opportunities for engagement, provided they’re imbued with purpose. Do you identify what you want in conversation? Do you express and fight for the truth? Do you share what you’re facing and dealing with in your life and invite others to talk and share about meaningful aspects of their own lives? Their interactions with their kids, their spouse, work, and the community-at-large?

The first question to ask yourself before any interaction is: am I looking for the meaningful?

Are you examining and discussing what’s meaningful in your life and in the lives of those you’re talking to?

The Engagement Continuum

In our work at Wright, we look at a spectrum of engagement we refer to as the Engagement Continuum. Across the Continuum there are many different interactions. Ordering your coffee in the morning might fall on the transactional side of the continuum.

This graphic explains the spectrum of engagement, know as the Engagement Continuum.

There’s nothing wrong, per se, with transactional engagement, but there’s no depth. We’re sharing niceties out of routine. We’re talking about the weather, the game, the time of day, or how we want our latte.

Have you ever been taken aback when a cashier looks you in the eye and asks you a “real” question? For most of us it might feel odd—even awkward. “How are you really feeling today? Is everything okay? How do you feel about that?”

We’re so used to mis-engaging and interacting on autopilot that real engagement—transformational engagement on the Continuum—feels strange. It pushes us out of our comfort zone and into a place where we’re talking about real, meaningful emotions. We’re focused on each other. We’re discussing who we are, what we care about, and what we and the other person wants.

There is great power in higher level engagement.

When we’re engaged on the constructive side of the Continuum, we can reach the highest level of engagement—where we’re sharing a mutual higher purpose. We’re supporting the needs of others, they’re supporting us. This level of engagement is transformative and helps you emerge as a better, more spectacular, more fulfilled version of yourself. It helps you get more out of life.

The only way we can become our best self is when we’re aware of others. When we’re engaging with those around us, connecting, and finding ways to contribute to our world. Since we all possess this profound level of influence—the ability to change someone’s mood, enhance their day, connect and even change their path—tapping into who we are only strengthens our power.

Be Your Best to Give Your Best

Think of a musician or an artist. By becoming the best version of who they are, they’re perfecting their craft. They’re practicing, strengthening their skills. They’re honing their talents. As they grow and become better at their art, they’re able to use this increased depth and talent to support others. They share their music and in turn give back to the world.

Similarly, we’re all artists and architects of our own lives. As we sculpt, design and build our best lives, we’re able to increase our positive influence on the world around us. As our confidence increases, our power increases. As our power grows, so does our influence.

Mistakenly some believe giving to others means being ultra-selfless. We should give to others, expecting nothing in return and even at our own expense. But like an oxygen mask on an airplane, we need to put on our own mask before we help others. If we’re depleted and neglecting ourselves, we can’t give back to those around us. If we zone ourselves out on soft addictions, settle for “Facebook friend” level interactions and fall into routine, we’re not pushing ourselves to grow and evolve.

Like attracts like and the way we treat ourselves is reflected in those around us. If we’re putting ourselves out there, going for it—asking for what we need and wielding our influence as a positive force for good, we’ll draw in MORE of the same.

People are drawn to our radiance. Those around us will want to help us fulfill our deep wants and yearnings because we’re helping to fulfill theirs. If we bring purpose and value into our engagement with others, we will enliven, energize, and ignite others. We will inspire and influence those in our circle and beyond.

If you’re ready to change your world, discover your greater purpose, and push yourself toward deeper engagement, then get out there and go for what you want. Become more open, honest, authentic, and engaged.

To learn how you can get even more out of life, please visit our website. Join us for an upcoming networking event. We’re also pleased to offer many of our great classes and lectures available for download as well. This is a new feature, available at a special introductory price, so don’t miss out!

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Be Honest in a Post-Truth World:
Do Facts Still Matter?

Do you know how to be honest? Are you an honest person?

Do facts still matter? Yes they do, and you can learn how to be honest in a post-truth world.

Most of us probably answer “yes” to this question. And really? Most of us probably truly believe we are always honest.

A few years back, I had a session scheduled with a young man. I was running late, traffic was slow, and I arrived about seven minutes after our appointment was to begin. “Let’s get started! Traffic was terrible and made me late!” I exclaimed when I burst in the door.

The young man just sat there for a moment, crossed his arms and looked at me defiantly. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, “If I was a celebrity or the president, would you have still been late to our appointment?”

Right there, he had called me out on my “white lie.” It wasn’t that traffic was bad.  Now, in Chicago, traffic is notoriously bad and commute times are often long. It could have been one of the worst commuter days of the year, but it didn’t matter. The truth was, I hadn’t valued our appointment enough to plan to arrive on time. Granted, accidents happen, but they’re rare. Most of us have more control over being on time than we’d like to admit. We simply juggle our priorities to suit our convenience.

That man saw through me and pointed out I was F.O.S. (full of, well, sh*t).

Why Do We Lie and How to Be Honest?

We all lie because we have a sense of self and how we would like to be seen in the world. Lying isn’t always done with malintent. In fact, it’s often an unconscious defense. We even lie to ourselves and sometimes we don’t even realize we’re lying. It happens so automatically— “I’m late because traffic was terrible.” I just lied.

We lie because we want to shape the way others think of us. Look at the dating scene. Research shows 100% of dating couples lie!

These lies don’t stem from wanting to deceive someone else (usually). They stem from wanting to make a good impression—a desire to be liked and approved of. We want our date to believe we’re our best self. We may not even know how to be honest in the first place—creating an “image” has become so natural for us. Most of us wouldn’t walk in on a date and announce we’re difficult to get along with, we’re hard to please, or sometimes we don’t bother to get out of our pajamas on Saturdays. We usually don’t start out by bringing up our seven cats or our crushing student loan debt.

But what if we did? What would really happen if we moved to express our emotional truths, our likes and dislikes, as well as our feelings? Would every date head for the hills? Some may, perhaps, but you could rest assured those who stuck around were ready to accept you for who you really were, cats and all. Those who ran away? Well, down the road they were going to eventually discover those secrets you were hiding.

As kids we notoriously know how to be honest to a fault. Kids don’t fully embrace the social conventions of holding back their feelings. Kids will speak up and ask, “Why are your teeth crooked?” or “Why do you have that mole on your face?” Kids won’t pretend to eat a dinner they don’t like. They speak up. They say exactly what’s on their mind.

As time wears on, we learn to hold back. We view being too honest as being impolite. We tread lightly or hold back our true feelings so as not to offend someone else. We don’t speak up, even if we clearly see the emperor has no clothes.

In Hans Christian Anderson’s tale, the townspeople all politely acquiesce to the emperor’s claim he’s wearing beautiful invisible clothes. Everyone assumes the others see the clothing. They question their own perception of the situation instead of speaking up. Until finally a young child comes along and speaks the truth.

We may base our conceptual beliefs on what we believe as truths, but these ideas are tainted by our limiting beliefs about our own abilities. We may change them because of “stinking thinking” (a negative mindset) or irresponsibly shifting the blame. While our conceptual truths are true to our thoughts, they’re not always factual truths.

Truth and Facts: Are We Living in a Post-Truth World?

Studies show even when claims are proven false, we still may not be willing to change our beliefs.  In fact, many times this reinforces our beliefs. It makes us cling to them even harder and become even MORE assured we’re right. This seems is true in the larger social context of today, but it’s even true in our personal day-to-day interactions. If someone tells us gossip about another person, even if we know it’s wrong but trust the messenger, we will discount our own facts.

There is a Japanese film, Rashomon, that depicts the story of a murdered samurai. The story is told from different perspectives: the bandit who murdered the hero, the wife who was traveling alongside that day, a woodcutter who observed the crime from outside the situation and the dead samurai, himself. Each depiction is a different perspective. Each story participant has their own truth.

But how do we break down situations into factual truths? How do we ensure we’re aren’t relying on only conceptual and emotional truths, when we’re confronted with a situation?

We love a detective story: The image of Hercule Poirot, interviewing witnesses on the Orient Express to crack the case, or Sherlock Holmes, using the powers of deduction to pick apart details and discover the TRUTH. We love watching someone get to the bottom of a situation and uncover the truth.

Yet, in our own lives, we often rely on narrative scripts—stories telling us what we want to hear. In fact, there’s a phenomenon called the backfire effect, wherein we want stories and facts that confirm our beliefs. Researchers learn to watch for this occurrence in their studies, where it’s known as confirmation bias. We tend to interpret evidence in a way that confirms our existing beliefs and narrative rather than the factual truth.

It takes a great deal of capacity to deal with what Leon Festinger called the cognitive dissonance theory and see the truth in both sides. Human beings are particularly sensitive to inconsistencies between our beliefs and our actions. When we’re faced with a situation running counter to our beliefs, we feel a great motivation to resolve this—either through changing our beliefs, changing our actions, or changing our perceptions of our actions.

We live today in a culture of counter-attackers who obfuscate and obscure the truth. It’s become increasingly acceptable to change the narrative to fit their own wishes. It used to be that when a public official was called to the carpet on a situation, they would take one of two routes: deny it or apologize for it. Today, we’re seeing a shift where the norm is to counterattack the source of the facts and information (rather than disputing the information with solid proof).

There is less interest in discovering the factual truth, and more interest in convincing others. We live in an environment today where political motivation is being discounted as having any validity at all. And the person accusing others of political motivation never unmasks their own political intent. It’s unfortunately become a polarized game.

Why We Should Become Warriors for Truth

As we grow and develop our transformational skills, we start to learn the importance of sharing truth. Not only sharing our own truth, but actively seeking out and seeing the truth in others. This means, rather than allowing our beliefs to immediately cause us to dismiss another’s point of view, we need to seek out and connect with their humanity.

Not all of us think the same. We bring to the table a different set of experiences, beliefs and ideas. We each possess our own viewpoints. We can’t apply truth to a conservative vs. liberal argument (or any argument between an “A” vs. “B” perspective). The range of beliefs and points of view aren’t a polarity, but a continuum. There are responsible and irresponsible people on both sides.

We are all F.O.S. with a limited perspective and limiting beliefs. If we want to find the truth in any given situation, we need to look at the facts. We need to look at the measurable situations. We also need to treat each other as human beings with different ideas and perspectives. We need to see each other’s truth as the amalgamation of their experience.

This starts by telling the truth in our own lives. Examine your beliefs and what you know to be true. Commit to seeking the truth in all situations, based on facts—and even if it flies in the face of your emotional beliefs. Seek multiple perspectives. Embrace honesty.

When you’re late to a meeting, don’t blame it on traffic or the train. Realize, the areas where you’re fooling yourself and fight for the truth!

For more ways to discover a greater purpose in your life, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming workshop where you will meet others who are focused on their personal growth. Don’t forget to check out our new courses and lectures. These are at a great introductory rate, so get yours today!

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.