Oct 14, 2013

Are You Present? What Do You Remember About Your Day?

Over the last year my writing has forced me to choose content.  Like anyone that writes, we begin a journey to tell a story, share our knowledge, or entertain.  I first started sharing comedic monologues on the subject of manners.  I enjoy sharing protocol, laughing about regional differences, and encourage readers to inspect behavior at work, family, and social gatherings.....All, with a little advice and fun.  

Yes, it's true that someone will always seek recommendations for seating guests at a dinner party or how to address an envelope to a same sex couple who are also physicians.  Drs. Jane Smith and June Jones.  I am finding that manners' lessons are being replaced with a passion to improve upon social interactions vs. what to wear to a fiesta de quinceaƱera social event.  I'll follow the heart for now.

The passion is driven by an unreasonable inability to look the other way.  There are public
outcries and pleas to reform inconsiderate, rude, and self-absorbed people. I've read books promoting lesson plans to deal with rude people.  Some advocate that rudeness be addressed with calm and almost apathetic avoidance at all costs.  Isn't this counter intuitive?  To ignore is to omit.  No, I am not Catholic nor do I have vigilante initiatives.  In fact, we have all been witness to a good Samaritans willing to step up and confront a rude or obnoxious person to result in violence.  I don't suggest this and it is not worth the physical repercussions.   I do advocate action.  Here are ways you may easily address and provide a friendlier more civil society today.  

Be Present 

The key to practicing civility requires us to be "present".  When we are aware of our time and place, we are in tune with effect.  Believe this is simple and obvious? If so, ask yourself, "do I enjoy quiet time during my commute to and from work"?  We have replaced this opportunity to plan and reflect with chatter of our loud voices on mobile phones. As I sit in traffic waiting for a driver to kindly allow me to merge out of my subdivision, every single driver is glued to their phone.  These passersby are not flying at high speeds.  These vehicles are rolling and are no more than 15 feet in front of me blocking my way. Not one driver makes eye contact.  They are all miles away with Walter Mitty or texting the latest hump day joke.  Without their acknowledgement no courtesy is extended.  Without them aware of their surroundings, they are void.  And this is how many of us begin our day. Robotic we speed up to brake and wonder how we made it to work without remembering what we experienced.  We must be present, and connect with others.

Get Social - The most successful way to learn is to collaborate. We accelerate knowledge by sharing ideas, asking questions, and problem solving...together.  In order to successfully share, we must extend kindness to one another.  But many traditional learning institutions have been replaced with digital technology. We can enroll, attend, test, and graduate via on-line vehicles. Remote teams in "virtual offices" contribute to business success via Unified Communications' capabilities.  At any given moment, clients and co-workers know the "presence" of an individual, how long they have been "idle" or "away from their desk".  We can now contact them anywhere and anytime no matter their device.  Yes, we are efficient, productive, and can do more with less [people]. But at what cost?  This isn't the presence to which I was referring. 

With advanced technology our core social skills are in need of a major tune-up. We are not practicing patience, basic protocol, or manners.  We are missing the cultural and social opportunities only learned from face to face interaction. Yes, with one another.  

In the early 1990's while working at Xerox, a colleague made a comment I remember to this day. With the personal computer and internet readily available, she scothed at the future and a society lacking interaction and social skills. Like any skill, social ones are learned and are best when practiced and acknowledged. Are we there yet?  I may need to ask her for the winning lottery numbers this week.

Want to make a difference proactively? 
  • Yield to allow "one" to merge into traffic
  • Hold the elevator for someone
  • Walk a dog at a shelter
  • Lend a hand to your neighbor
  • Notice a stranger in need?  Offer to help (directions, heavy luggage, etc.)
  • Read to a child - slow down.  In fact, read to a dog.
  • Acknowledge and "SMILE" at someone next to you
  • Spread The Word
  • Attend a meeting in person and contribute 
  • Walk the campus of a university or museum and open your mind - It's autumn!
  • Be present and be aware.  There are people next to you 
Want to make a difference dealing with rude people
  • Kindly ask someone to lower their voice
  • When shoved, kindly say, Oh,excuse me!  It will wake them up.
  • When ignored in a meeting, ask for everyone's permission to speak 
  • When interrupted kindly acknowledge the interruption and ask if you may continue
  • When observing a young lady or young man oblivious to elderly people on public transit, kindly bring to their attention and ask them if they would relinquish their seat
  • When someone is short on cash at check-out, offer to assist based on your capability.

Need more recommendations?  hopehighbrow@gmail.com


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