There are two types of people in the world; those who complain about things others do that they themselves do to others, and those who go out of their way not to exhibit behavior that they hate.

Something I’ve always tried to live by is never do something that I know I don’t like. For instance, I’ve never said a curse word in my life because I have never wanted anyone to feel uncomfortable. I also don’t want that kind of reputation attached to me, that being someone who doesn’t know how to monitor themselves. There’s this courtesy thing I have that reminds me it’s not always about me. Sometimes I get irked at myself for it, like when I open or hold open a door for someone and they stride through as if I was supposed to do it.

Yet, there are many people in today’s world who will use bad language no matter where they are, no matter the audience. They say “everyone here is an adult”, and that might be true. But if that was their mother or father in there, we know that most of those people would temper their comments because they wouldn’t want to make their own parents upset or embarrassed.

The same goes for being on time. If I’m not on time, you can bet there was an accident, road closure, or my car broke down. If I make an appointment, I’m going to be there on time, if not a little bit early. I don’t make time commitments I’m not going to keep. I have this thing about trust that makes me want to make sure I always follow through on things I say I’m going to do.

While we’re on commitments, I never make a commitment I’m not going to keep either. If I say “we’ll see”, that’s not a commitment. But if I say “I’ll be there tomorrow by noon”, I’m going to be there tomorrow by noon. I don’t care what else comes up, I’m going to be there because that’s the right thing to do. Of course there are always emergencies, but if there’s no emergency, I’m going to be there, or else I wouldn’t have ever committed to it.

These days, it seems that the concept of “it’s all about me” is being taken to an extreme. If people want something bad enough, they’ll be on time, follow through on commitments, and there won’t be any problems. But it’s all about them. If it’s about someone else, someone else who has given their time and energy to make themselves available for someone else, and it’s suddenly not as convenient for them to follow through, they won’t, and oftentimes without any explanation. Or, if there’s an explanation, it’s weak or insulting or insightful of what that person is really all about.

I have a three strikes rule; you get three times to waste my time, then I change the rules. Some people don’t like it; hey, they had their chance. And I stick to my decisions almost all the time, until I’ve seen that there’s been some kind of change. Change happens rarely; all of us get wrapped up in our own habits, and if there’s nothing in it for us, we fall back into what we’re used to.

Part of being a good leader is learning how to change for others. Making everyone live up to your standard, or down to your level, isn’t fair if your habits aren’t in the best interests of everyone. This type of thing doesn’t only affect leaders, but leaders need to pay more attention it because so many people are depending on them to do the right thing, for the right reasons, for whoever the employer is.

If we care about someone else enough, we’ll change. If not, you might find that something changed that negatively affects your life. And there’s no one to blame but yourself.