How To Be A Good Human – Two People I Look Up To
When you think about what you want to be when you grow up, what comes to mind? That’s kind of a cliché I know, but recently I’ve been thinking a lot about WHO I want to be when I grow up. Maybe this is another branch of my self-improvement tree that started with giving up caffeine and grew to include taking a break from social media. I’ve been consciously thinking about the things that make a good human.
We’re social people. We meet all kinds and types of humans. We have many friends and acquaintances that have varying lifestyles and priorities. I like to observe people (not in a creepy way, my fiancé calls it people watching) and just see how they carry themselves.
You can learn a lot about a person when they don’t realize you’re paying attention. Everything is important, the words they use, their tone, the nonverbal cues, where their eyes go during the conversation.
If I notice these things, I know there are people out there who notice them about me. It makes me think about who I want to be and how I want to be perceived. What kind of human I want to become.
Just a heads up, this is a little bit of word vomit. I like to get these thoughts down because it is a mental reminder of what I want to strive for. But I hope my reflections will inspire some self-reflection for you. Maybe it will help both of us to really think about our interactions with others.
Now, I realize that life is a never-ending process of growing, learning, and developing who you are. But what if we could get to the best version of ourselves more quickly?
I don’t know the answer to that question, but I know I’d love it if we could. And I think that’s a pretty good goal to set.
Now, to be honest, I have written this next section three or four times, I lost count. It started out as comparing two different types of people who I called Person A and Person B. Person A was good, Person B was annoying and bad. After re-reading it and *almost* publishing it I realized it was just too negative. So I deleted it all.
Negativity solves nothing so I cut that part completely out. Instead, we are going to focus on just the positives that I have seen. In addition, none of these observations are of my parents because well, that would be cheating.
I want to explore a couple of interactions I’ve had with two people who I think are great humans and portray the characteristics I’d like to be known for. They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery.
Two Good Humans
These two people remind me of each other very much. My most recent conversation with one of them was almost identical to a conversation I had years ago with the other. I look up to them both.
I’m not going to say I know either of these people really well because I don’t. But each time we see each other we have a lighthearted and engaging conversation. I feel like they want to be there at that moment and genuinely care.
My most recent interaction with the first good human we’re highlighting really made an impression on me and my fiancé. It was a sticky summer night and a group of us were having a few drinks and playing bags, or cornhole, whatever you call it depending on where you’re from. After playing a couple of games, we learned that we were actually celebrating a big event.
The big event (and she would have never mentioned it if her husband hadn’t) was a huge promotion. This wasn’t just a small shift in her career, but a gigantic one that I’m sure she deserves. Actually, after hearing her response to it all I KNOW it was deserved.
We all congratulated her and the second thing out of her mouth (the first was thank you) is something that I will always remember. She didn’t say how excited she was for the new responsibilities, or the inevitable pay raise, or even the corner office.
What she mentioned was her team.
She bragged on her team and how great they were. How without her team none of this would have been possible. For someone in her hard-earned, impressive new position to refer to that as the first thing was badass and something I will always remember.
Then at the snap of a finger, the conversation shifted, and she began asking questions about our recent engagement, our travel plans, our careers, and goals. There was so much graciousness and humility in her tone and then she immediately participated in engaging, thoughtful conversation with two kids who know nothing.
If you are reading this, we think you are a badass. Mad respect.
Our next good human is a corporate leader. He had reached the top of the corporate ladder, which was once the position I was shooting for. In my attempt to do so, I came to a crossroads where I either had to continue reaching for it or take a completely different route. I reached out to this good human to see if we could meet. I valued and wanted their advice.
He was obviously extremely busy, and his time was much more valuable than meeting with me but he agreed anyway. We had a short meeting but it helped me more than he could ever know. I changed my whole direction and that conversation helped me make that decision. For someone of that prestige to take an hour out of their day to meet with a 21-year-old just shows the type of person they are.
Since our conversation, he left corporate life somewhat abruptly. I don’t know why but I have my guesses. Either way, I’m happy for him, and from what I’ve seen he is in a better place. I hope that we cross paths again someday soon and we can have another one of those life-altering meetings.
The Bottom Line
These two have a couple of major characteristics that I think make a good human. They show respect to everyone, no matter your status. They are gracious and humble in all interactions. They know their worth but also understand the value of the people around them. And they never pass up an opportunity to form a real relationship with other good humans.
To both of these good humans, I want to say thank you. You are the type of successful, driven, down to earth people that myself and many others strive to be.
None of us will ever be perfect so the opportunity for growth is always there. These two individuals are living, breathing goals to shoot for on how I want to be as a human. They’re the kind of people who can be hugely successful in their field but gracious enough to catch dinner with a 21-year-old kid that needs career advice. And they might just change a life doing it.