Self Expression Magazine

Old Truths Die Hard

Posted on the 30 September 2011 by Fiafox @SofiaEssen
Old Truths Die Hard
As a Coach and Speaking Partner, I like to keep up with new coaching methods and tools. Some are great, many are theoretical, and a few are downright improbable. What I have found is that Old Truths Die Hard. Growing up, most of us were taught to smile and say thank you. As adults, we forget the impact a genuine SMILE and “Thank You” can have. From my boyhood until the present, I have always said thank you with a smile when appropriate. That’s who I am; a decent human being. It makes me happy when someone else feels good because I gave them a simple smile and showed them my appreciation. On top of that, a little smile and thank you can get you a long way… Thanks to my job, I’ve spent a lot of time travelling in Japan. On the way back home from one of my trips, Narita airport was in complete overcrowded chaos. People were anxious and stressed, which made them behave rudely to the woman at the check in counter. When I finally got my boarding pass, I smiled and said, “Thank you! I hope you have a break coming up soon so you can relax for a few minutes.” She smiled back at me as she handed me my boarding pass and then I stepped away to let the stressed, sweating and swearing man behind me get his boarding pass. A short while later, I heard my name called over the speaker system; “Mr. Essen, please come to the check in counter”. I did as I was asked to do and found the same woman waiting for me. “Hello again, Mr. Essen,” she said. “The plane is overbooked so I have upgraded you to first class”. I thanked her, of course, and she whispered, “You were the only one who was friendly to me all day.”When I lived in Thailand, I had to take the highway to the office every day. Being stopped along the way by the police for no particular reason was a common occurrence. People, especially foreigners, were expected to hand over some cash in order to get out of the situation smoothly. I usually smiled, paid, and then said “thank you” when they let me continue down the highway because I didn’t want any unnecessary problems. One day, I was stopped by a police man who recognized me. “Good morning,” he said and actually smiled a little. “Today you only have to pay 250 Baht, not 500”. I thanked him and drove off. A week later, the same man stopped me again. “Hey, it’s you!” he exclaimed with a big smile on his face this time. “Today it’s free. Have a nice day!” We both laughed and then I proceeded to navigate the outrageous rush hour traffic with my money still in my wallet. My family and I take a walk every morning and we usually end it by sitting down in a café for a cup of coffee. When we visited a particular café for the second time, the waiter recognized us and gave us a plate of cookies on the house. He told us that he’d had a really rough morning on our previous visit but our polite greetings, smiles, and thanks had made him feel better. Now he insists on plying us with free cookies every time we visit and I can see that other customers wonder why we get such special treatment.I can give you hundreds of examples like these. My point is that some Old Truths Die Hard. Genuine common courtesy, which is sadly growing increasingly uncommon, has helped me many times in challenging situations and indeed given me some preferential treatment. The interesting thing is that it always goes two ways; my smile and “thank you” makes people feel good, which warms my heart as well. That’s at least what I feel and firmly believe. Have fun and keep smiling! 

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