Coffee Conversations Ep. 13: Behave!

November 03, 2021
  • David VanderMolen
  • David VanderMolen
    Learning Sensei

It’s always a good thing to engage in activities to improve ourselves.

It may also be good to share the knowledge we’ve learned with others.

But you should always remember that your focus should be to change your own behaviors instead of calling out or seeking to change the behaviors of others.

As I’ve found through teaching our Barry-Wehmiller University classes, it’s a rather consistent experience for people who participate and complete our courses to feel enlightened. They have a better sense of themselves, knowledge of why other people behave as they do, and they now know how to better communicate with others at home or at work.

But with this new sense of enlightenment – armed with dozens of new principles and practices on how to behave and better relate to others – there’s a temptation to stop working on your own self-improvement and start working on improving the behaviors of others.

All of these newly acquired insights are beneficial when they are focused on fixing one’s own behaviors and bettering one’s own relationships. But when the focus shifts from a focus on our own personal development to finding and fixating on the foibles, faults, or flaws in other people’s behaviors and communication practices, this newly acquired insight tends to turn into something insidious to both you and your relationships with others.

In this sense, insight is both beneficial and burdensome. Its beneficial when it is focused on self-improvement. It turns into something burdensome or worse when it is focused on fixing others.

As you put into practice the ideas, axioms and principles found in this video series, or any other self-improvement activities, pledge to focus on your own personal development and avoid correcting or coaching others.

Working on self-improvement is more than enough work for most people.


Reflect on this...


  • Am I aware of my own inclination to use my newly found insight to find fault, fixate, or focus on changing other people’s foibles and flaws?
  • How, when or where do I specifically shift my focus away from my own personal growth to fixate on finding fault in others?
  • Who am I most likely to fixate on changing over fixing my own behaviors?
  • What one action, protocol, or practice can I put into place to prevent me from misusing the insight I’ve learned? 
  • What one behavior am I committed to change in myself or in the way I relate to others in the next three months?


David VanderMolen is a former professor in Barry-Wehmiller University and the host of Coffee Conversations.

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