Stop Trying to Fix the Mirror

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I don’t know what world you live in. I mean that literally. I don’t know what business you’re in, what your customers think of you, how people treat you–I don’t know any of those things. I don’t know what world you live in. But one thing that I do know, with certainty, is this:

Your world is a mirror that reflects who you are.

Motivational Speaker Bill Stainton
That’s true for you, it’s true for me, it’s true for everybody. Our world is a mirror that reflects who we are. If you have a cheerful disposition, the world tends to be a cheerful place. If you treat your customers with respect and integrity, they’ll tend to treat you the same way. If you are open, loving, and honest with your significant other, they’ll tend to be the same with you. On the other hand, if you think that all people are out to take advantage of you, then that’s what you’ll see in the people you meet. If you think your customers are a pain in the neck and a waste of your time–well, pretty soon you won’t have any customers to worry about.

There are exceptions, of course, but by and large your world really is a mirror that reflects who you are. And that’s not really news, is it? I mean, come on now–didn’t you already kind of know that? So that’s not really very surprising. What is surprising to me, though, is how many people don’t seem to be aware of how a mirror works!

“Okay, you just lost me Bill,” you’re thinking. “Everybody knows how a mirror works!”

Well, apparently not. As a motivational speaker, I see it all the time. There are still many of us out there who routinely follow this 3-step process:

  1. We agree that the world is a mirror that reflects who we are.
  2. We look into that mirror and don’t like the reflection (i.e., we don’t like the results we’re getting in the world).
  3. We start looking for somebody to fix the mirror.

Not happy with your income? Ask the President, or Congress, or Superman to fix the economy. Don’t like the way your friends treat you? Get new friends. Not liking the way your marriage is going? Get a new spouse. Fix the mirror.

The only problem is that it’s almost never the mirror’s fault.

Look, here’s the bottom line: your business, your relationships, your world–they’re all your responsibility. Nobody else’s. You’re the person in the mirror.

Have you ever heard Michael Jackson’s song, Man in the Mirror? In it, he sings:

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer:
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change

Now, I’m not saying go out and do everything Michael did (please don’t go out and do everything Michael did!). but he did get it right in that song. If you’re not happy with the results you’re getting in your world–if you’re not happy with what’s being reflected back to you–“take a look at yourself and then make a change.”


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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