The One Basic Rule for Consistent Living

I share my personal story that leads me to believe in the one basic rule of life.

A company hosted an annual workshop for change management. The company opted for the same lecturer for two years and then invited me for the third year.

My workshop went smoothly. The company invited me again to run the workshop for the next year.

I noticed that all trainees were new except for one who attended my previous workshop. The company organized a ceremony to give certificates to trainees who completed the workshop successfully.

As I handed the trainee who attended the workshop for the second time his certificate he requested to say few words.

He said that he attended all previous workshops. The reason is that he wanted to find out what is new on this topic. He said he was glad that I updated my previous slides on change and did not repeat the same slides as the first lecturer did. He then asked a surprising question

How could a lecturer lecture on change with nothing changing in his previous slides?

The One basic Rule

The story was an awareness call for me. I concluded from it that You cannot ask people to do something before doing it yourself.

You cannot ask people not to get angry if you show anger.  An easily angered person should avoid advising other people not to get angry. Start with self first.

You cannot ask people to change if you do not change yourself first.

You lose credibility and trust when you call for any action that you cannot keep yourself.

The recent research findings from Stanford research on emotions show that people’s motivations are a driving factor behind how much they allow others to influence their feelings, such as anger.

If we easily lose our temper, it means that we allow the feelings of others to inflame our anger. It reflects our inability to control ourselves. How could we then ask others to control theirs?

This is a source for a mocking paradox.

You expose yourself if you ask people to manage their times when you show clear signs that you do not manage yours.

Never ask people to do something unless you have the proof you can do it yourself. This is a basic rule for living in consistency.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. This one’s a Gem Ali! I too, swear by consistency as one of the greatest leadership traits and “secrets” to success.
    I found this line particularly powerful: “You lose credibility and trust when you call for any action that you cannot keep yourself.” Because credibility and trust are an intangible, and can’t be touched, people often disregard the incredible amount of value they possess in human interaction! Thanks for writing such a beautiful reflection!

    • Your comment is brilliant, Leticia because you highlighted the core message of the post.

      Human performance depend highly on credibility. Credibility brings trust and spirit of people to work as team. This spurrs their mind and bodies and become more productive.
      I do appreciate your great comment.

  2. Dear Ali,

    Such exceptionally wise words. One sentence stands out. We are angry because of situations visited upon us. We can make people angry or visa versa. Anger dilutes the message.

    Regarding a student arriving for the ‘same session’ and pleased not to have been experienced the same ‘words’ or routines, but the same ultimate message of the session delivered through a carefully enhanced delivery sais it all. Also, delivering the same message in exactly the same way, can be done via Zoom.

    Questions can be answered with passion and obvious enthusiasm.

    You obviously enjoy what you do and that means those on the receiving end will be open their minds.

    A fine article, Ali

    • Dear Simon- such a great value-added comment to the post. “You obviously enjoy what you do and that means those on the receiving end will be open their minds”.
      This is the other side of the “coin” of this post. It is true, valid and simply effective. I love it..