Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

Thoughtfulness - An Impetus for Positive Behavior


Before you make your next decision regarding anything, ask yourself, does this decision include being thoughtful of others? How many decisions are being made based on self-driven agendas, rather then reflecting on how the decision might impact others negatively, or contribute to the betterment of all concerned? I have no doubt there would be considerably less gridlock in our political spheres of influence if our leaders were more thoughtful, and their need for self-preservation was not such a priority. It transitions into being vulnerable to the demands of special interests, cronyism, and ultimately corrupt and deceitful actions. I am not suggesting that all those in public service are thoughtless. I believe most are thoughtful at the onset of their careers, but the political system has a way of tarnishing that ideal desire of selfless thought and service. Although there may be many public examples of a lack of thoughtfulness, we as individuals have the opportunity to buck the thoughtless trend of such behavior each day.

Thoughtfulness is defined as, “showing consideration for the needs of other people”, and “showing careful consideration or attention.” When someone is thoughtful, it demonstrates a kind and a generous personal character. Thoughtfulness is the precedent for being considerate, caring, attentive, understanding, sympathetic, solicitous, concerned, helpful, obliging, neighborly, unselfish, kind, compassionate and charitable. These are all synonyms for being thoughtful. Acting thoughtlessly stems from personal insecurity, and what I term as, misaligned needs. A misaligned need is a need where the outcome of what you want is at the expense of others around you. If the need for wealth, and fame tramples those you love and care for, then those needs are misaligned. Aligned needs are those that favor the individual as well as those you love, work with, and possess benefit to something bigger than yourself. Aligned needs are those that also compliment the very core values you believe in. For example, if your need for recognition overrides your core value of being humble than that need is misaligned, and you are less likely to be thoughtful in striving for recognition. If the need for power overrides your core value of virtue, (behavior showing high moral standards), then your need for power is misaligned. The desire for recognition and power is a personal insecurity that needs to be addressed before it becomes an excuse for failure.

The more you adhere to the values you believe in, the greater opportunity you have to be thoughtful of others in your decisions. Why? The more secure you are with what you stand for and believe in. When you demonstrate thoughtfulness it reveals contentment with your sense of self, and a level of personal honesty revered by most. I say most because it can be a threat to those whose needs are misaligned. The threat stems from resisting the necessity to be personally accountable for the misalignment, and that is not enjoyable to contend with. Unless your needs are aligned with your core values, the attainment of those needs will never be enough to reach a level of contentment and personal satisfaction. You will always be dissatisfied.

Thoughtful people are those who generate friendships and family bonds that stand the test of time. They are thinking more of others then themselves, and who does not appreciate that level of selflessness? As heard in the teaching halls of sales and leadership, people do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Be thoughtful in thought, word and deed during your decision making process, and the implementation of your decisions. There is thoughtful, honest and genuine decency throughout human existence, and it is a joy to be around those who are more selfless than self-centered. Being thoughtful exposes an understanding into your character. It reveals a genuineness and sincerity of commitment toward bettering the world around you. You find happiness in thoughtfulness, because thoughtfulness is reciprocated, and how could that not make you smile. As the noted American anthropologist Margaret Meade stated. “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only things that ever has.”

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