Extracted from Shine from Yahoo (11/2/2010):

As humans, we often focus on those who are negative or toxic leaving it difficult to appreciate those who are positive and healthy. Seeking out individuals with healthy, positive traits, however, may do a lot of good. The more we can surround ourselves with those who are positive and healthy, the more we may model those positive behaviors.

If you really think about it, once in awhile you come across a person who knocks you off your socks…legitimately. Maybe they have a fantastic outlook on life, even during difficult times. Maybe they are really humble, although they are extremely gifted. Maybe they make you feel special. All of these are good.

Below, I've listed some of the traits I admire most in people. Although I could probably list a dozen characteristics, I thought I’d list those that seem to be the rarest or most difficult to find.

Selflessness: In a world where many people don’t have the time or the interest in others, selflessness is a quality that seems to be less and less common. People can be selfless in the time they give, the ability to listen, their level of patience and the love that they give. Those who are giving and generous in nature have the power to make others feel loved, appreciated and special. While those who are self-absorbed tend to do the exact opposite.

Tolerance: Those people who are tolerant make us feel comfortable with who we are and special as individuals. All of us are different, and many of us have quirks and idiosyncrasies. After all, these differences make the world go round. Having the ability to accept people for who they are and not expect them to be who we want them to be is important in life, happiness and in the health of our relationships.

Genuineness: Having the ability to be real, authentic and honest is unique in a world where we put so much emphasis on the superficial. Feeling comfortable in one’s skin and being true to one’s self is one of the most beautiful traits one can possess. To have a REAL relationship with someone requires honesty…it requires hearing and giving input or feedback that may not always be popular…it means having the strength to tell it like it is and to not be afraid to face the consequences for doing so…it means loving people for who they really are…deep down…and not for what they appear to be.

Sensitivity: So often we are focused on what is important to ourselves that we can forget about those around us. Those who are sensitive are often thoughtful, appreciative and loving, in a way that makes you feel understood, valued and respected. Often, sensitive people are also smaking them mindful of how they impact others with what they do and say.

Integrity: Call me cynical, but I think this characteristic is especially difficult to find. In a time when people will do things that are underhanded to make an extra buck (Bernie Madoff…can you hear me?), expose their personal lives to the public so they can be famous (balloon boy’s dad and any other reality TV mongers) and do what feels good in the moment without necessarily thinking of the consequences (Tiger Woods), integrity is a characteristic that is especially unique today.

Humility: Whether someone is super-smart, extremely talented or drop-dead gorgeous, there is something extra special about them if they don’t come across as though they know it all the time. Humility in those that possess extraordinary traits make others feel special too.
It is good to increase one's inventory of words (if possible, on a day-to-day basis, just like your wealth) because it doesn't quite feel right when a much younger person speaks words you have never heard before in your life which when upon finding out what they mean, it turns out to be a rather speak-for-itself word and you go like "I can't believe I didn't know that one. My goodness."

I probably have an inflated ego that I don't speak off (and this is one mention of it - wow to ego) but I thoroughly don't enjoy being slapped in the face with things that I have not heard of before or not understand which someone of my age ought to.
This kind of event inadvertently permits my ego to label itself for the next couple of days as 'ignorant'. (on an embarassment scale of one to ten, this gets an '8.5')

I now don't think much of using long, bizarre sounding words when a shorter, concise equivalent would do the job. Hail to all ye sticklers of character-rich words, especially journalists who make the average layman all confused. But on the contrary, the average laymen should keep up just so that they don't puncture that ego of theirs (just like how mine does).

I can look back now and slap my then-ego for thinking that the more bombastic words I use, the better I'll score.
Utter rubbish!
Maybe there were some aspirations lying in all that ambition, but they either died, or the ambition took a different route instead.

Now, the aim is to always keep it simple.
Keep your writing simple.
Keep your everyday lives simple.
Everyday lives can avoid being a hassle-full drama if everyone just kept it simple and NOT instead make the simple, complex.
Such idiocy.

Ok, what on earth am I talking about.

Right. So.
I know that knowing words and using them are two different things, and the art of finding the apt words to use (which may get progressively harder as the inventory of words grows bigger) is certainly one to master if one desires to write well.
I am in no way a good writer(though writing a book would be quite an adventure), but I think this is a simple enough rule.
ANOTHER rule of thumb in good writing is also knowing the direction of your story/topic/discussion (as you can see clearly now that I'm a long-winded, beat-around-the bush pain)

All I think I want to say is that there is a fine line (or maybe not THAT fine) between good writing and excessively pretentious writing (unless if you're some award winning writer that no one fully understands etc etc).
Speak plainly and work on the things you want to say first. It helps if you want people to understand you.
But then again, the way you write is a peek into the type of person you are, somewhat. I guess the pretentious style shows you're... pretentious? And the defensive style, defensive?
Mine? Long-winded and non-directional. Yeap.

Words aren't just limited to the written form. Yes, speaking is important too. Some people have the ability to speak in a very engaging manner, while some others can explain something and you would understand it fully the first time round. Some are hilarious without being dirty/hurtful. Such admirable speaking qualities ain't it.

So, dear friends (and non-friends lol), strive for a better command of the language, by adding to your word inventory. Read more, speak more, watch more, and baby, you'll delight in the results.

*And the word of the day is : pensive*
What do you tell someone who is worried to stop worrying? Tell me, WHAT?

What if that someone was yourself? :S

I hate this looming day when I fly back to Sydney. Oh dear.
I know I shouldn't be thinking about it and just bask in the coming days as they arrive.

Oh dear. Another 9-10 (??) months of being away again.