Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
– Frank Outlaw

Falling into Forty. Growing. Changing. Becoming better than I was. Working hard everyday to make myself proud. Looking in the mirror and liking the person I see. It isn’t all about losing weight. To really mean something, it has to be about making myself better in ways that truly matter. And my primary personal growth effort is as difficult to do as it is simple to define. Stop gossiping.

1 – Truth that is nobody’s business

Gossip needn’t be false to be evil – there’s a lot of truth that shouldn’t be passed around.
– Frank A. Clark

What could be wrong with saying something that is true? Simple. Some things are no one’s business. So what if someone lost their job? Or is fighting with a co-worker? It may be true, but what is really served by sharing that information with another person? Nothing. It just magnifies the negative and makes everything worse.

2 – Lies

What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth.
– Jewish Proverb
Trying to squash a rumor is like trying to unring a bell.
– Shana Alexander

Why relay something that you don’t know to be true? More than likely, all you are doing is fanning the flames of ignorance. The truth will come out in good time, so why be the one to further spread rumors and guesses?

3 – Mean spirited opinions

No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.
– Bertrand Arthur William Russell

There are things that are not so clearly true or false. Some things are merely opinions. But who am I to share my mean comments about someone else? If I have an issue with someone, I owe them at least enough respect to talk to them directly about it.

I am hardly perfect, and I know that a change like this does not occur overnight. But, neither did losing weight or getting into shape. To make change that is long-term, I need to work at it everyday. When I fall back into old habits, I hope to catch myself right away and stop doing it. The responsibility is mine. And if I falter, and my friends notice, I hope that they will call me on it.

So I turn now to one of this nation’s true treasures, a man seemingly wise beyond his years. The advice he gave is both two centuries old and timeless.

I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and upon proper occasions speak all the good I know of everybody.
– Benjamin Franklin

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