It’s the most wonderful time of the year [the song is in your head now, isn’t it]. The mindset most people have around Thanksgiving and Christmas is something we should embrace all year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see people focused on being thankful, giving to those in need and spending time with family. These are activities that we need to put in play throughout the year.
How much different would your day be if you started, perhaps on your way to work, thinking about all the good in your life? You may come up with one thing or 20. Either way, thinking on such positive meaningful aspects of our life can only do one thing, warm our hearts and lift our spirits. I’m not suggesting the Pollyanna approach, you may have a delightful ride into work and get there only to find the same personnel issues, budgetary problems, or deadlines not being met. This state of mind isn’t meant to have us living in la-la land. It’s merely a manner by which we will approach our day and all that it holds both positive and negative.
What if those who post daily thankful messages in November do it in May (half way between)?
What if we worried as much about the homeless and hungry when they can’t escape the heat as when they can’t escape the cold?
How would this new mindset change ourselves? Our world?
One of the first things we learn is to say, “please” when requesting something and “thank you” when receiving. These two phrases work wonders in making progress on a task, duty or need. While these manners are taught young in life somewhere along the way they seem to wane and by adulthood for some they are entirely absent. Saying please and thank you shows respect for the other person and puts a value on what they are offering or can do.
Common courtesies and respectfulness to other humans seems to be losing out to everyone’s efforts to just ‘get a task done’ and selfish thinking. Instead of going through the day working our jobs and along the way building relationships, people are isolating themselves with a laptop and a cell phone and are all about just getting the job done. Its a very self-centered existence. This may please employers in a cut-throat environment, but it’s no way to build a life. Maybe the workplace has become so competitive there is little mutual respect because tomorrow the next guy may have your job. Seriously though, is that anyway to live AND build a career?
Back to the original thought, have you ever walked up to a counter to place an order only to be greeted by a server who is obviously harried and busy with customers. As the customer, you are thinking, that server’s job is to serve. But what about your responsibility in the exchange. Your role is to place your order. Given your observation of the server, what can you do to help the order-taking and the order-receiving process be positive for both? Just be kind and considerate — please and thank you. Try it sometime and see what happens.
As long as we are talking about basic manners, let’s venture into the world of technology. It is a wonderful thing and does provide opportunities to communicate and connect with others, but it is absolutely no substitute for person to person interaction — a phone call, visit or even hand-written note. Texting and email have their place, except when sensitive information is being shared. That is just rude. And if there is a problem being worked out, pick up the phone and call the person, don’t just pass emails back and forth. There is a great deal to be lost in the tone (real or perceived) in an email. If settling the problem and making things right with another person means that much, then it’s worth the time and effort to pick up the phone.
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