It proves that you don’t need much to change the entire world for the better. You can start with the most ordinary ingredients. You can start with the world you’ve got.” – Pay It Forward
A few days ago, I walked down the stairs to the kitchen confused, disappointed, and frustrated with a situation that was seemingly out of control. Despite having trust and faith in God, it was still emotionally troublesome.
In a flurry of commotion, my brother and sister ran down the front staircase and out the door. As soon as they returned to the kitchen, my younger sister exclaimed “Rocket must of sent this.” Before I knew what she was talking about, my brother walked in carrying a familiar decorated black box. Unbeknownst to Rocket, the flowers arrived at the perfect time. I couldn’t wait to open the box.
The note that accompanied the gorgeous display of sunflowers was simple and yet, so powerful in that moment of despair.
“Hope my best friend is having a bright day!”
I hadn’t shared the disappointing news with Rocket yet. He sent the flowers….just to brighten my day. Then I started to think about all the little things that we could do to brighten someone else’s day.
I have heard it plenty of times growing up…
Treat others like you want to be treated.
Unfortunately, this principle is often forgotten. When frustration hits, it can be difficult to remain calm. When we interact with someone, we don’t know how their day has been. Who knows how one simple kind gesture could brighten someone’s day?
Through the past year, I have watched Rocket (the extrovert in our family) and admired the way he treats those around him. I watched his actions and their response noting similarities between the two. It’s an artform:
- Ask for names. In every interaction whether it’s a networking event or dealing with customer service on the phone, address people by their name and use it to greet them in the future.
- Listen. Work hard to understand another person’s point of view. Listen to what they tell you with a genuine intent on learning more about them. Asking pertinent clarifying questions will let people know that you are truly listening and care about what they are say. Try to refrain from judgement while asking questions.
- Body Language – Although it may depend on the culture, a smile goes a long way. Using appropriate expressive body language, keeping arms uncrossed and looking people in the eye will draw them in and make them feel welcomed.
- Consistency – At church (in Dubai), everybody remembers Rocket because of his smile and welcoming personality. His demeanor doesn’t change week-to-week, and accordingly, it engenders respect. Remaining consistently kind and respectful in interactions despite your mood can be challenging, but it can have such a positive impact.
Recently, I have witnessed instances in which kindness wasn’t the default and it was painful to watch. If we take time to consider how other people may feel instead of reacting harshly, our interactions will be infinitely better.
So the next time you talk to customer service, first ask for their name and assume they aren’t the ones causing the problem. When a waiter approaches you at a restaurant, ask them about their day. If someone is talking about a complex topic, instead of tuning them out, ask them to explain things in a simpler way. Send someone you love flowers “just because” and you’ll never know how you might brighten someone’s day!
I’ll end by quoting one of my favorite song lyrics…can you guess what song it is?
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change