Any Person, #3: Develop a strong sense of personal dignity.

The second trait to making a positive difference in your organization is to develop a strong sense of personal dignity.

With a strong sense of personal dignity, you can make a positive difference in your organization. If you lose your personal dignity, it’s going to be very, very hard for you to make a positive contribution. In the book, Maslow on Management, Abraham Maslow essentially said that true self-esteem rests on a feeling of personal dignity, the feeling that you are in control of your own decisions and your own destiny.

No matter how bossy your boss may be and no matter how much you are told what to do by other people, you can still maintain a very strong sense of personal dignity. Let’s make this as practical as we can.

You can always choose to control two areas: your mouth and your brain. You get to choose what you eat and what you drink. You get to choose what you say. You get to choose what images and ideas you allow into your brain and you get to choose your values, beliefs, and attitudes. For example, you get to choose during your non-working hours what tv shows to watch, what to look at on the internet, what books to read, and what music to listen to. Even if those are your only choices, you can still strengthen your sense of personal dignity by being in control of them.

If you choose to let other people tell you what to eat, what to drink, what to say, and what to think about, then you have made that choice. Just know that at any point in time you can make other choices.

The key here is that when you consciously make choices in some aspects of your life you automatically increase your sense of personal dignity. You are now becoming more in control of your own decisions and your own destiny. The more you do this, the stronger your sense of personal dignity becomes.

Remember: dignity is increased by making conscious choices.

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