What does it mean to have a standard? What are your standards? Ever ask yourself these questions? No, I didn’t either until a few years ago. What my standards were just varied in different circumstances. You have heard the saying stand for nothing and you will fall for everything, right? Well, I was that schlub.
Then one day I was wondering why in the heck I was still at the bottom of the pile. I was being overlooked by the bosses, I was not able to really get a foothold anywhere. As I started out on my path to find out why I was nowhere close to where I wanted to be at my age I came across several people talking about having standards. As I read blog post after blog post a few times I came across topics talking about your standards. I realized that my standards were simply nonexistent.
I realized I needed to set up a set of standards and found that they help in many different ways, much like having values. Having standards and setting them as high as you are comfortable with will help you out of the limiting beliefs like a scarcity mindset and a victim mindset.
What are Standards?
Standards are the baseline for living your life. This is the bare minimum you will put up with. Standards are in the same line as guiding principles. Are you willing to settle for a $50,000 a year paycheck or would you rather have a $50,000 a month paycheck? How many people would live the later but their standards won’t allow them to make that.
Do you have a standard of watching 5 hours of television or do you have a standard of reading one book a month? Do you tolerate people who gossip all the time? Do you allow yourself to gossip? Is your standard to wish for success or are you actively pursuing that goal?
Do you have a standard on the women you are dating? Are they unmotivated and only care about themselves? How about you? Is your standard for being an available man the best catch out there or are you just, Meh? So many of these are standards that surprisingly you do put up with. Your standards are low or nonexistent.
We sometimes expect others to have a higher standard than ourselves. You tolerate your cluttered house. Yet you want your son to clean his room? Then there are times where others have a higher standard than ourselves. This can make us sometimes very uncomfortable. Your son is trying to achieve a standard that doesn’t match yours. Say he is wanting to have his own business and you are trying to talk him out of that.
Yet many times we discover that we have standards we never thought of. Take my daughter for example. She is learning about what her standards are right now. She heard that there was this place she could make $200 on the weekends just waitressing. She is great at customer service but when at a pool hall, she found out that she will not tolerate the hands of unknown men on her butt. Then she also found out that she has a standard of having management that is supportive. Not what she was getting at this establishment. So she told them she will not tolerate it and left.
Is she better for it? Shoot yea she is. She learned many good lessons from that experience. All because she has her standards. She knows that money isn’t free if you are doing something that looks like “easy money” the value is being created from somewhere else.
Maybe you have standards but they are low. You may want to up your standards. Your standards are like propellers boosting you to a higher level.
Why do we need high standards?
As mentioned before they set the limit of the bare minimum you are willing to put up with. If you don’t set the limit you will put up with you will find yourself actually sacrificing your own self-worth. You can’t be successful without knowing how much you value yourself.
We actually see standards all the time in the marketplace. You see a car that costs $10,000. That is the value or the standard someone has put on that car. You go and look at it you see that the window is cracked, the right quarter panel is crunched in and when you fire it up the engine is knocking. You wouldn’t value that car at that level. Your standard is much higher. If you are wanting a Buick Enclave, your standards are going to be set for a particular value. You won’t buy just any Enclave. It probably has to have low miles, certain features, and within a certain price range. If it falls below that you aren’t interested. If it meets those objectives and has extra goodies then bonus!
Standards keep you from being taken advantage of. They can lift you to the levels you want. You have seen people who are below your standard, and when you lower that standard they often drag you down.
When you have standards that are in alignment with how you are living you find that you have integrity. With integrity, you also have confidence in your actions, confidence in your decisions.
How do you set a standard?
Now when you decide that you want to have standards or that you want to up your standards there are few good ways to set your standards.
Decide what you want to be known for?
How do you want people to think of you? Is it honesty? How about a defender of the downtrodden? These can be standards. Maybe you won’t live in a cluttered house anymore. Yet a great way to set a standard is to look at how you would like for people to view you.
Make a list or even better write your own obituary. Yeah it is a bit morbid I agree but it really helps you get in the mind of what you want to be known for. How do you want people to remember you?
Look at what irritates you
What do you tolerate? You may find that you tolerate a good deal more than you want to admit. To really understand what you are tolerating why not look at what irritates you yet you do nothing about. Do you watch people gossip about others and not stand up for them? Guess what, you tolerate gossip. Even though you say you hate gossip yet you listen to the juicy details like everyone else.
This is a problem I have. I find gossip irritating but yet I still find myself drawn into the drama from time to time. Yet I am getting better and better but throwing wrenches in the conspiracy theories and giving alternative motives for why someone did something. Often try to make it a positive spin or hold the problem up to the other folk’s faces as a mirror. I still have work to do on this though.
When you find yourself tolerating something ask yourself why do you tolerate it? Does it go against your values? If so then change your standard by raising it.
You may decide that you want to live in a house that is free of clutter and has a more positive vibe about it. If that is the case then you may have to be the one who starts the trend of cleaning and throwing away the unused stuff. Much like the broken window policy that Rudy Guliani implemented in New York City.
This is based on the observation that if a building window standard is based on the broken window theory that when there are signs of crime, and social disorder in a neighborhood it is an encouraging element for those unsavory elements to grow.
So if you start decluttering a room it will take a while to change the attitude of that room but eventually, pride in that room will start to grow and your family members will actually start making sure they don’t clutter that room. Perhaps you are changing a room to have a better feel for it. You will notice that your family will start flocking to that room more.
The changes though have to start with you and the results will reflect in your family.
Maybe you want to be treated with a higher standard. Then it would be good if you start acting that standard and treating others to that standard.
Maybe you want to start getting your priorities in check. Then you need to decide what your priorities are. Maybe you start doing God, You, the Family, followed by friends and then others. You may have to write down new standards as they come about so you can see them on a regular basis. That way they stay in front of your mind.
Your standard may be to be present with your kids more often. Then if that is the case you have to start taking actions such as Setting your phone down when talking to your kids. Facing your children when they are talking to you. Yeah, it may be irritating when they are hitting you with a rapid-fire question session but you give them your full attention and you are present with them not off thinking of what you are going to say in an email.
Maybe you get tired of your kids not paying attention to you when you talk. This could be a sign that they are just mimicking you. This could be a point that you are tolerating. And so you can start building that standard by looking directly at them and talking with them with your full attention.
Let your son have his own standards
Your standards don’t always reflect what your son has for his standards. This is where the mentoring aspect of parenting comes into play. You can help guide him but be ok with when he doesn’t take your advice. More often than not he has to struggle through the problem the same as you did for him to see the wisdom in what you say.
The key is to talk to him on a steady basis. Allow him to express his thoughts and don’t dismiss them. He doesn’t like it any more than you do. There is a reason you had to struggle to learn an important lesson. Maybe he has to have someone lie to him to understand why lying breaks trust. He will earn and will see you as a person who is helping him more than someone trying to squelch his dreams and aspirations
It takes work
No matter what change you decide to make, understand that it isn’t just flipping a switch. It takes the presence of mind and dedication to making those changes. With that work, you will fail. You will break that standard time and again but with each time you see that you are violating that standard you fortify it for the next run. So don’t be too hard on yourself or on your son. Guy has open and honest discussions and you both will become stronger and build even stronger integrity with each other.