How to Be the Better Person

Updated on September 24, 2019
Alyssa Nichol profile image

Alyssa has studied psychology, philosophy, religion, and the arts. She loves sharing her thoughts, ideas, and papers with the world.

What the world needs now is...

Did you finish that sentence with the word love?

Undoubtedly, the world could benefit from more people being loving, spreading kindness, and just being decent to each other. We all should strive to do more of that every day in our own communities. When we see others exhibit those qualities, we're pleasantly surprised and it's like a breath of fresh air. We often say that our faith in humanity has been restored.


Where did that faith go in the first place?

Those same qualities we hold in high regard are rare to find nowadays, both from people in the spotlight and those we interact with on a daily basis. Society as a whole seems to be more consumed with what everyone else is up to and more often than not, the news focuses on the negative. Don Henley and Danny Kortchmar wrote an entire song about this back in the 80's. It's a great song, and the line, "people love it when you lose, they love dirty laundry," is a potent statement. While they may have been referring to the media, vain news anchors, and the paparazzi, it's a statement that rings true today, not only for traditional media outlets, but also in our vast world of social media and online news.

Dirty Laundry by Don Henley (News Parody) - Global News

In the court of public opinion, you're guilty until proven innocent, and good luck building your reputation back up if news comes out that you were innocent all along. Cancel culture is toxic and hypocritical. Many of the people who jump on the bandwagon to tear someone down are the same ones preaching about love and kindness. The ones so quick to get a hashtag "someone's over" trending would do well to examine their own lives.

We've all made mistakes. No one is perfect. What sets a person apart from the rest, is how one continues to better oneself. Learning from those mistakes and applying those lessons in life moving forward.

What the world really needs is a shift in focus. Change starts from within and radiates outward. Stop worrying so much about what everyone else is doing and focus on becoming a better person yourself. Drop the blame game, take responsibility for your own life, work hard to make something of yourself, and be the example of what you'd like to see more of in this world. Below I've outlined four important categories of how to be the better person.

1. Due Diligence

In order to better your life, you first have to take responsibility for it. Understanding that you are in control of your actions and your reactions is paramount to success. You decide what you're going to do each day, whether it's something that gets you closer or further away from your life goals.

For some people, this is a hard pill swallow. For others, it's incredibly empowering.

Every action has a consequence: sometimes it's a good one, other times not so much. How you react to that consequence is also your decision. You can choose to blame everyone and everything around you for not being where you want to be in life; you can choose to yell back at someone who yells at you; you can choose to participate in gossip and drama. Will those actions and reactions make you feel better in the moment? Maybe. Will they help you become a better person? No.

In order to better yourself, you must have due diligence. Work hard, do your best, and be respectable in all areas of your life. Respect isn't freely given and you can't demand it. Respect is earned. Fulfill your promises, put forth effort, be willing to do the mundane tasks as much as the exciting ones, and always leave people and places better than how you found them.

2. Courage to Fail

Failure is inevitable, but many do their best to shy away from it. The thought of making a mistake or failing inspires a deep fear, so much so, that many would rather just give up than risk not succeeding. This fear becomes so ingrained that giving up is an automatic habit when times get tough. Before long, all the goals and dreams people once had seem so far out of reach that they no longer try, settling for a ho-hum life.

No one wants to be seen as a failure; we all want to project the best versions of ourselves to the world. But it's through failure that we learn the important lessons of life. Admitting to our mistakes, owning them, learning from them, and then applying that newfound knowledge is vital to success. You don't get anywhere standing still and life will move on, with or without you.

As long as you allow the fear of failure to rule your life, you'll never be able to better yourself. Avoiding problems and skirting blame only perpetuates conflicts, and that pesky habit of giving up in times of adversity not only leaves you feeling disappointed, it also leads you down the long road of regret.

Making mistakes is a part of being human. Failing is human. No one is perfect. Channel that fear into energy, allow it to fuel you, propelling you forward in your endeavors. If you mess up, pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and use that new knowledge as you try again. Have the courage to take a risk, knowing that you might fail, but that you'll be okay if you do. You will recover and bounce back, and you'll be a better person because of it.

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.

— Henry Ford

3. Perseverance

Along with having the courage to fail comes perseverance; Not giving up when the going gets tough; Continuing to work hard, believing in yourself, and achieving what you set out to do despite what others may say or think. There's a lot of negativity in the world and if you allow it to, it will tear you down. You have to rise above the naysayers, focus on the task at hand, and continue down the path that will lead you where you want to go. Don't allow the fear of what others will think stop you from achieving your goals. If you find yourself getting caught up in worrying about the opinions of other people, ask yourself this simple question: Is this person or are these people paying my bills? If the answer is no, then what is there to worry about? When you start something new, people will be quick to judge and ask you why. When they start seeing you succeed, they will continue to judge and might even get mean with their comments. Once you've achieved success, there will be people who try to chip away at it with negative thoughts and people who will try to be your best friend. At each stage, you will be met with criticism. Sometimes it's constructive, and that's wonderful! You can use that to reflect and improve, but most of the time it's just negativity; the peanut gallery weighing in just because they can.

Will Smith said it best:

"Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings, and emotions."

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what other people think or say. In order to be the better person, dig deep. Continue working hard, doing your best, and focus on your goals. Don't give in, don't give up, and never let anything or anyone stop you from living your best life.

When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven't.

— Thomas Edison

4. Patience

Finally, patience. This is often the hardest one. We live in a fast pace society where everyone wants instant gratification. But success doesn't happen overnight. It can take years of hard work and sacrifice: late nights, early mornings, blood, sweat, and tears. All that suffering isn't for nothing. It teaches you the important lessons: the value of hard work and time, integrity, quality over quantity, among many others. It will also teach you who and what is important in life. Having patience certainly isn't easy, but in the end it's all worth it. If you work hard, put forth honest effort, learn from your mistakes, and keep a positive mindset, you will get there. Trust yourself, be patient, and don't buy in to negativity. Always be respectful and respectable. That's what being the better person is all about.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Alyssa


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    • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR


      4 months ago from Ohio

      Thank you Richard!

    • Richard Hampton profile image


      4 months ago from Texas

      Absolutely love these thoughts and your willingness to prod others to practice these qualities. It reminds me so much of the "Fruits of the Spirit" found in the Bible. Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all did this?

      Thank you for this reminder

    • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR


      11 months ago from Ohio

      Absolutely. Thank you for stopping by!

    • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR


      13 months ago from Ohio

      Thank you so much for stopping by Dora!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      13 months ago from The Caribbean

      "More often than not, the news focuses on the negative." Thanks for highlighting these positives that we all do well to remember and dwell on.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR


      13 months ago from Ohio

      Same here, Bill. Thank you so much! Have a wonderful rest of the week!

    • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR


      13 months ago from Ohio

      Thank you so much!

    • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR


      13 months ago from Ohio

      Thank you, Pamela! Patience is also the hardest for me. :)

    • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR


      13 months ago from Ohio

      Thank you, Lorna!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I know some people who need this article stapled to their foreheads for a daily reminder. :) Loved the spirit of this article. Well done my friend. Happy a super Hump Day!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      13 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I really enjoyed reading this article, Alyssa. You offer very sound advice and guidelines on how to be a better person.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      13 months ago from Sunny Florida

      This article is full of good advice, and the way to live. PaItience is probably the toughest for me. I appreciate the chance to take a bit of an inventory while reading this very good article. Thank you.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      13 months ago

      This is an excellent article with sound advice we should all take on board. Thank you for sharing.


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