Personal Development

Terrible Role Models Make Great Teachers — Frank Sonnenberg

Everyone knows someone who’s a terrible role model. Some folks have character flaws; they’re rude, selfish, entitled, mean-spirited, or deceitful. Others exhibit poor behavior; they treat people like dirt, break promises at the drop of a hat, and refuse to accept responsibility for their actions. Terrible role models also make bad choices; they surround themselves with toxic people, live on the edge, or sell their soul to the devil. Last, some folks have their priorities backward; they’re all work and no play, forfeit long-term outcomes to satisfy a short-term gain, and do anything to get what they want.

While it’s easy to criticize terrible role models, it’s better to learn from them.

25 Lessons from Terrible Role Models

There’s more to life than increasing its speed. Happiness is a result of balance rather than intensity.

Everything you do today will impact your tomorrow. Your life is determined by the sum of the choices you make.

Choices are easy — the tough part is living with them. You have the freedom to choose, but you’re not free from the consequences of those choices.

People can’t make you do things without your permission. Never lower your standards. Never!

Your job doesn’t define you. Make a life while you make a living.

Make your priorities a priority. You are replaceable at work, but irreplaceable to your family.

Everything worthwhile in life requires an element of sacrifice. Judge your successes by the sacrifices made to achieve them.

Those who love to find fault in others rarely find fault in themselves. Virtue isn’t demanding more of others; it’s expecting more of yourself.

Never win at the expense of a relationship. When everyone tries to gain the upper hand, we all lose hands down.

Invest in relationships to avoid the time repairing them. It’s easier to treat people properly than to repair broken relationships.

Love doesn’t have an expiration date. Never stop courting your spouse.

Trust takes a long time to develop, but it can be destroyed by a single action. It takes a lot more effort to rebuild trust than to establish it from the start.

Money should never become the cornerstone of your life, nor should it define you as a person. Know when enough is enough. It’s not what you have, but who you are that counts.

It’s easy to lose sight of the things you can’t see. Our most prized possessions don’t always have a high monetary value — love, trust, honor, respect, and credibility are a few examples.

Words express what’s on your mind, but your actions say what’s in your heart. The true meaning of your words is not what you say, but what you do.

Appreciate what you have, while you have it, or you’ll learn what it meant to you after you lose it. When you take things for granted, you diminish their importance and may even jeopardize their very existence.

Your reputation is like a shadow that follows you wherever you go. Protect your reputation like it’s the most valuable asset you own. Because it is!

Ability determines if you can; attitude determines if you will. If you stop focusing on all the reasons why you can’t do something, you just may surprise yourself to see what you can do.

Excuses proclaim an unwillingness to learn. Personal responsibility can’t be delegated. If you look into the mirror and don’t like what you see…don’t blame the mirror.

It takes many years to become an overnight success. Hard work isn’t a punishment. It builds character, provides a sense of purpose, and promotes confidence and self-esteem.

You don’t get what you want; you get what you deserve. People stop trying when there’s no benefit for being exceptional and no consequence for being mediocre.

The journey is the destination. The greatest reward of success isn’t the money or acclaim; it’s the confidence and self-respect that success brings with it.

Live the way you want to be remembered. Parents give you life. Only you can give it meaning.

Some people will stop at nothing to get what they want. Follow your conscience. You have to live with yourself for the rest of your life.

Be a good person — everything else is secondary. Moral character is the DNA of success and happiness.

Learn from the Best — and the Worst

Sometimes, people do things they come to regret, such as taking foolish shortcuts, craving instant gratification, or selling their soul to the devil. Even though it may yield momentary pleasure, it may eventually come back to bite them. The truth is that mimicking a poor role model is like eating food past its due date. While it may look good on the surface, it’ll ultimately make you sick. Therefore, focus your energy on learning from good and bad role models and adjust your behavior accordingly. Remember, people ultimately get what they deserve — that’s karma.

Check out Frank’s latest book, The Path to a Meaningful Life.

What Have You Learned from Terrible Role Models?

Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.

Additional Reading:
Who’s Your Hero?
13 Ways to Be a Good Role Model
Critical Lessons that They Fail to Teach You in School
Change Someone’s Life and You May End Up Changing Yours
15 Ways to Pass Your Values On to Your Kids
11 Ways to Earn Respect
Live By Example and Inspire Others to Do the Same

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