May 302013
 

Over the years, I’ve often wondered how it is that little things can make a big difference.

photo nick_lonesomeTree

Take the words “please” and “thank you” – my dad use to say that civility doesn’t cost you anything; and that you attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

If these things are true, then why aren’t simple manners and courtesies used more widely? Some possibilities are:

  • Many believe that saying “I’m sorry” shows a kind of weakness, so they prefer a more aggressive approach…. tough guys don’t apologize for anything… why should they?
  •  Skepticism: a lot of people who say “I’m sorry”, often don’t mean it, but it’s expedient.
  • Cultural myths: When legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi, made his famous remarks about winning, he didn’t say “winning is everything”; he really said “the will to win is everything”. But, because his philosophy about winning was his legacy, this misquote was never challenged and became the mantra for sports and business ever since. The problem is that there’s a world of difference in the meaning between the two quotes. 

One thing is certain: if you’re always putting others first – with no regard for your true needs – there will always be those who will take advantage of your good nature. When the chips are down, they cash in. It’s just business.”, becomes a cover for a multitude of sins.

In the end, I’ve found that it’s critically important to stand up for yourself, but that doesn’t mean walking all over someone else’s rights. The world is too big to be small. Being considerate of others may seem self-defeating in the short run, but in the long run, having a healthy self-respect wins.

You still have to live with yourself – which means acknowledging your short comings – but you don’t need to psychologically beat yourself up. We all make mistakes that we later regret, because we are imperfect, and there is nothing we can do about it. Remember, however; that one negative event doesn’t define your whole life. You’re more than that. And, sometimes your gallon-sized plans are too much for those of pint-sized imaginations, who often feel threatened.

The best advice I’ve heard was that beginning is half done – small steps are important.  You may not be what you want to be tomorrow, yet looking ahead, what steps do you need to take now, to get there?

Your passion and God-given talent is all you need, because your gift can help others. Always consider: is this ‘something’, bigger than you are? Otherwise, life can seem like such a tossed salad.

“Take it or leave it, or try to believe it/ If you’ve been down too long” Gordon  Lightfoot’s ‘Rainy Day People’    

Finally, we worry about things as if they matter when they don’t. As a wise friend shared, it’s pointless to compare yourself with others. All that matters is that you work with honesty and with as much skill as you have. And, remember: the more you do it, the better you get at it.

Fred Parry

Fred Parry

www.fredparry.ca (May,2013)

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