P.M. Forni, 2004


Dr. Forni is a professor at Johns Hopkins University and co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project in 1997.


Our treatment of others suffers when:


We constantly feel that we need to prove ourselves and compete


We are poorly trained in self-restraint


We are used to seeing others as means to the satisfaction of our needs and desires rather than ends in themselves


We are overly concerned about financial gain and professional achievement


We are constantly besieged by stress and fatigue


We are surrounded by strangers who will remain strangers


We take everything personally


We are insecure about our competence or talent


We feel threatened by those around us and are determined to defend our territory from encroachment


We are in the grip of jealousy or envy


We feel that life is or others are unfair to us


To be at your best with others:


Think of yourself as a good and accomplished person who does not have to prove his or her worth all the time


Exercise restraint and practice empathy


See others as ends in themselves


Look at financial gain and professional achievement as means rather than ends


Defend yourself from toxic stress


Get to know the people around you


Do not shift the burden of your insecurity onto others in the form of hostility


Ask yourself, is this merely self-serving or is it the right thing to do?


Consider the consequences the action you are about to take will have on others


Wonder whether for others your presence is preferable to your absence


In a challenging situation (confronting an angry colleague or customer, for instance) imagine that you are being videotaped and that your video will be used to train others in handling such situation


On Being Accountable to Yourself


Think before acting. Step outside yourself and see yourself in action. Ask yourself: Am I doing this just because it feels good or is it also the right thing to do? Always be aware of the difference between what feels good and what is right.


How is what I am about to do going to affect those around me? What are the likely consequences of my actions?


Would I like it if someone did that to me? If not, I should not do it to others.


Am I manipulating this person? Am I treating him or her as a means to the satisfaction of my needs and desires rather than an ends in himself?


When facing a choice, choose not what makes you feel good now, but what will make you glad with your choice ten minutes from now, tomorrow, and next year.. Wisdom is acting in a way that makes you feel good later.