Being courteous shouldn’t be an afterthought. Unfortunately, it often is. We are prone to criticize more often than praise, especially those in the service industry.
Consider the stereotype we’ve developed for the DMV folk: sour, nitpicky, legalistic people who would rather make your time there more difficult than go out of their way even a little to help you. Perhaps you’ve met someone like that in other service industries.
We laugh at them on tv and movies. We growl about them to anyone who will sympathize. But how often do we think about what their day must be like?
How often do we take the time to be the positive influence in someone’s life, if even for one moment?
One of my favorite bloggers had this to say about being positive:
The key ingredient that makes the difference between failure and success is attitude. People LIKE positive people. We can’t get enough of them. We love them and want to help them. Their energy refreshes everyone around. Be one of those points of light, and others will want to support you.
It takes no great effort to be negative, but there are no monuments erected to critics. Criticism is easy and it’s lazy. Anyone can find problems, but it takes character and creativity to find a bright side, to look for solutions.
It reminded me of one my daughter’s favorite movies, Ratatouille. The food critic Anton Ego is suddenly faced with the idea that his original critical attitudes were wrong. He chooses to be the positive influence in the end and is much happier for it.
The truth is we can choose to complain about anything and everyone, but it will never make us happier. Being a positive influence in any situation, on the other hand, can lead to a better, more peaceful life.