How often have you witnessed people being rude to staff in shops, restaurants, hotels or any other public venue? I’m saddened to say I see it all the time. I wasn’t at all surprised when I read an article recently by a flight attendant who complained about being treated with contempt and disrespect on a daily basis. While I read the article a while ago I was inspired to write this blog last night on a flight from Melbourne to Brisbane.
First to board the plane and sat in row 3, I had a bird’s eye view of the other passengers as they boarded. It caught my attention that very few greeted the hostess or even bothered to look at her when showing their boarding pass. Despite her warm and friendly greeting most ignored her or grunted a word or two at best. Drawn back to the article and I found myself reflecting on what I believe is an acceptable standard of conduct in these circumstances. The answer I came to is this: enough to have a positive impact.
Throughout each day our spirit can be drained or energized by our interactions with other people. While working or simply going about our daily lives our experiences of other people have the potential to strengthen or diminish our spirit. The good news is we aren’t all together at the mercy of how other people choose to behave. We have the power to choose how we feel and therefore ultimately the impact people can have on us.
We also however have the power to choose the potential impact we have on other people. Let’s face it, while it’s easy to say people choose how they feel it can be a lot harder to do in practice. Particularly when we are already drained and yet another person comes along with their crappy behavior. Some of us do have the ability to ignore or disregard other people’s destructive opinions and behavior; for many of us however on some level our energy is drained when people behave badly toward us.
The role we play in impacting the spirit of other people isn’t limited to avoiding poor behaviors that drain their energy (and often our own). It’s also about positive behaviors that have the potential to energise people. Seven simple things you can do every day to energize the spirit of people around you are listed below. If you need a little more motivation to apply them in your life, reflect for a moment on how energizing it can feel to do the right thing.
- Look people in the eye and greet them with a warm smile
- Give sincere thanks; show your appreciation for the things people do no matter whether they are paid to do them or not
- Laugh with people; amusing things happen all the time – you may need to slow down a little or lift your head up from your phone to notice
- Lend a helping hand; it doesn’t have to be big – open a door, help a mother up the step with a pram, pick up things accidentally dropped
- Go out of your way just a little; call out or jog a few steps to catch up to the person who has left something behind
- Show you care; you don’t need to ‘get involved’ to demonstrate compassion when people are unhappy
- Behave with respect; see people as neither above nor below you, simply doing a job that contributes to the workings of our world.
And so no doubt the list goes on. What would you add to the list? What are the most important things you do or experience that strengthen the human spirit?