Updated: Jun 30
Are manners outdated?
Have the rules of etiquette that were ingrained in the generations before gone out the door in the midst of Shelter & Stay? If you base your answer on what you see on the news and social media, it would appear that the generally accepted answer to this question is a resounding yes.
People fighting about needing to wear a mask when out in public. A desire to put money in a corporation's pocket over the health and well being of those around us. But is this right? No, absolutely not. How we choose to behave today, for the first time in modern history, could determine whether someone lives or dies.
“But, but,” I can hear you say, “but no one else is wearing a mask, why should I? Why can’t I go hang with my friends at a party? Who cares if I go get a haircut? So what if I don’t know the names of the people who serve me in a thousand different ways every day? It’s not my job to have to focus on those things, I just don’t want to be stuck at home anymore.”
There is something in this world I call “The Invisible Economy,” and it is the goodwill that you bank every time you treat someone with respect and kindness.
All of the kindness and goodwill you pay forward comes back to you in an infinite number of immeasurable ways throughout the day and it is this positive karma that makes your life run more smoothly and efficiently in a million small ways.
It’s almost as if there is a bank in the universe that lends us goodwill and help when we need it, but only if we have paid in beforehand by showing kindness and respect to every single person we meet, whether they deserve it or not.
“Be Kind Whenever Possible. It is Always Possible.”
Here are 5 simple ways to Crack the Goodwill Code
1/Learn everyone’s name that you have an interaction with, whether in person or someone over the phone. The service people at the stores and coffee shops are putting themselves at risk to keep these places open. And be sure you thank them for their help. People are the key to keeping all of this running. I don’t care if you never leave your house to talk to another human being throughout the course of a day. Businesses don’t run themselves, they are managed on every level by a human being.
2/Ask people how their day is going and seriously be interested in their answers. We were a culture of busy pre-COVID, but now we’ve been forced to slow down. Take this extra time to genuinely connect with those around you. Isolation is tough, but if you seriously try to make connections or make connections stronger, it will not go unnoticed. People are longing for genuine connection, now, more than ever.
3/This next one is easy. When out on the road, let that car merge into the lane. Be a considerate driver. And if you don’t drive, don’t worry. There will be plenty of times where you can let others go before you.
4/Take a moment to write a handwritten letter to someone you care about. As adults, we very rarely get something in the mail that isn’t a bill. How great would it feel if out the blue you got a letter from someone you love saying how much they appreciate you? Depending on the situation, for some people, going to get the mail is the only time they are outside of the house.
5/Finally, treat others the way you want to be treated. Honestly, if all you can do is this one, you will be set. Before you take any action that may be unkind, stop, and ask yourself, would I be okay if this was done to me? Now I’m not saying that you have to be super sweet to everyone or not let people know if they’ve pushed a boundary, but there are ways to handle that with kindness and respect.
If you treat people with kindness and respect, you may be overwhelmed at first by the goodwill coming back at you in return. But try it.
I firmly believe that no matter how difficult at times it may be to remain compassionate and kind in the face of challenges, it will pay off major dividends in the end.
The Beatles said it best; “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make...”