Courtesy is one of the best ways we have of affecting the world around us!
With courtesy, politeness, and good cheer, we can have a measurable ripple effect that has lasting consequences. A cheerful smile, a kind word, a sincere compliment, unexpected forgiveness for some small slight, all have an impact that is incredibly powerful. The best part of it is that it spreads. Being angry or sad is contagious too so if we consciously choose a positive attitude (even if we don’t feel it) we can gain better lives for ourselves and benefit everyone around us.
I know I am repeating myself a bit here but I can’t understate the importance of this idea. Consider going through a checkout line. Everybody is tired and hungry. It’s rush hour, and people just want to go home. Think about the difference, and the ripple effect, of behaving in an impatient way versus behaving in a calm, polite way. If everybody is grumpy, everybody stays grumpy. It leads to a worse day with more stress for everyone.
Now, what if ONE, just ONE person in line smiles, says a kind word to the checker, thanks the bagger for their hard work, and makes way for the lady with the walker? Everyone’s day is brightened, just a tiny bit, with no added effort. Maybe the checker with the sore feet smiles at the next customer. Maybe the bagger takes a little more care with the next customer’s eggs. It pays forward and helps everyone.
At work, I do a lot of customer service. 9 times out of 10 I am able to calm an angry customer simply by letting them know that I care about their problem and I want to do anything I can to fix it. Then, even if I can’t fix it, they are often satisfied with me because they understand I did my best. I have seen so many times when an angry person calls up tearing my head off. I listen, I demonstrate understanding and caring, that human connection is made, and we end the call amicably. Then, at home, they have a good memory of someone helping them, they have less stress, and they might be nicer to the next representative they talk to. If I had been rude, that would have been an endless chain. The same is true of my fellow employees. A little friendliness spreads.
It’s a really amazing thing once you start noticing this. People are more positive toward you, you have more people behaving nicely toward you, you get more opportunities, and most importantly, you have an impact on how people treat you. You are no longer at the mercy of the world, you are changing it for the better, just a little bit. Sure there are other ways to make a change but this is a great start.