Over the past 40 plus years of my career, I’ve made many observations about people and how they interact with other people. I’m sure someone has written about these things before, and I’m sure someone will write about them again, but these are my personal observations.
Common Courtesy isn’t quite so common anymore – When I was being raised by my Protestant parents, I was taught the basics of common courtesy – say please, thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me, hello, good bye, etc. You probably get the idea. Over the years, these basic expressions of common courtesy have come to be less common, to the point where when one does use them, they seem to stand out as being different. I rarely get a “you’re welcome” when I tell someone “Thank you”. Instead, I get “no problem”. Let’s put “no problem” back to where it belongs – where there is no problem – and put “you’re welcome” back in our vocabulary. You’ll find that when you express yourself in a courteous manner, courtesy does become common again.
Politeness – How difficult is it to be polite? It seems we’re all caught up in being way too busy and in too big of a hurry, and our manners suffer greatly. It’s much easier to ask someone to do something in a polite manner than to bark at someone. And the response you’ll get by showing a little politeness and a little kindness will be returned many times over. Sure, you may get a response if you bark at someone, but the response may not be what you’re looking for, and doesn’t plant the seeds for a better relationship with the barkee.
Slow down! – Medical professionals will tell you that one of the biggest contributors to poor health is stress. Professionals in other fields will tell you that one of the biggest contributors to workplace accidents and highway accidents is people being in too big of a hurry. Slow down, do things more methodically, and as Aaron Rogers (Green Bay Packers Quarterback) said – Relax. You’ll find that your productivity actually improves when you take things a little slower and more methodically. And is the extra 10 miles you got by driving 80 mph actually worth the increased stress and the dent in your wallet from that speeding ticket?
Don’t sweat the small stuff – Yes, I know that term has been used (and over used) many times over the years, but it still holds true. Save your sweat for those things which really require it, and learn to not sweat over those things which do not require it.
Invest in yourself – I, like most people, certainly appreciate it when someone else picks up the tab for training, or lunch, or a book. (And I say “Thank you, I appreciate it” when it does happen!). However, I find it much more satisfying to invest in myself. When I am the one footing the bill, I become much more interested in seeing things through, whether it be a nice relaxing lunch, or reading a new book, or sitting through a class – either virtual or in person. Over the years, I’ve learned that the investment one makes in ones self returns many times over.
Put yourself out there – As much as I sometimes get tunnel vision when I’m working on a deadline (or anything which is on my priority list), I try to find time to connect with new friends and co-workers and reconnect with old friends and co-workers. I know I’m guilty of not doing this often enough, but that’s on my list of things to improve about myself – and it definitely needs a higher priority than re-organizing my sock drawer!
Talk to someone without an agenda – This goes along with Put yourself out there. Talk to someone without having an agenda for the conversation. If you are in sales, try stopping in on a client, or prospective client, just to say hello. No glossy sales brochures, no briefcase, no agenda – just say “I was in the area and wanted to stop by to say hello”. Sure, you may get a “I’m too busy to talk right now” more often than not, but you may get pleasantly surprised. And, even if you’re not in sales, maybe you’re in an office environment – stop by someone’s desk just to say hello. Again, the return on your investment of time to just say hello or ask someone how they’re doing is well worth it. You may put a smile on someone’s face, and I know they’ll remember your consideration.
As my father used to say when he read us the Christmas story from the Bible every year, “that’s about it … “
Note: This article may also be found on my blog at https://www.jamieadennis.com/blog
About the author
I’m just a Southern Ohio boy, born and raised in Chillicothe, OH (about 45 miles south of Columbus on US Route 23). I now reside in Delray Beach, Florida, and love it here. I’ve traveled widely, worked in many organizations of varying sizes, and learned something every step of the way.
I do not claim to be an expert on anything – I reserve that title for those who create and improve technology, but I’ve been successful throughout my career by applying common sense to complex problems, whether those be technology problems or people problems. I continue to learn on a daily basis, which is the nature of a career in Information Technology, and life as a Pre-Sales Consultant/Solution Architect.