Four key habits will help every day go better!
Over the years I have learned that life really does hold some secret keys that benefit us greatly when we learn and employ them in our daily living. I like things that are simple and I have discovered that there are some simple things that we can do, regardless of our situation or circumstances, that will help make every day go a little better.
1. Say “please” and “thank you.”
I am amazed at what a simple thought this really is. It takes so little effort to say, “Please,” at the beginning of a request and, “Thank you,” when it is fulfilled. Yet, often we get in a hurry and forget to do something as simple as that.
Just today, I was working with someone on a project and we both were “cranking” as hard as possible to meet our deadlines. The room in which we were working was a little warm so I thought it would be nice for us to have a drink of water. Because I didn’t want to stop what I was doing, I asked a teen-ager who was helping us if it would be possible for him to bring a couple of glasses of water for us. I caught myself right in the middle of the process when I realized that I was telling him what to do, rather than simply asking, “Please.” I re-worded my sentence and said, “Would it be possible for you to please get us both some ice-water?” He was more than happy to do that. Then after he did as I had asked, I said, “Thank you so much. I appreciate you taking the time to do that for us so that we could keep working.” (And, even if I am an adult who is working with a teen-ager or a child, it is still always appropriate to say, “Please,” and “Thank you.”)
It might be interesting if you listen to yourself carefully to see if you practice this habit in your daily life.
2. Do what you say.
My father taught me many important lessons, but none was more important than this one. He would always remind me that a man is only as good as his word. Sometimes he would even go so far as to say that “word” and “worth” are very closely related. If a man’s word is no good, then his worth is no good. That may seem a little harsh or extreme, but I have come to realize that this statement is very often true.
And, sometimes my father would put his hand on the side of his neck and tap it two or three times. One time when he did that, I remember asking what it meant. He told me, “From the neck down, a man is worth a dollar a day. You can find someone somewhere who will do any job you want done for a dollar a day. But, from the neck up, that’s what makes a person a success.” I realize that times have changed and it would be hard to find someone who would do something for just a dollar a day, but what my father was saying is still valid. Are they a person of their word? Do they know how to say things that are helpful and encouraging? Do they know how to think? Do they know how to get things done? Are they honest? It is a lesson I have never forgotten.
3. Finish what you start.
This one is sometimes difficult. It is one thing to start something, but quite another to see it to completion.
In order to be admitted into graduate school I had to take the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory). It is a test that has over 600 questions to see if you have some kind of emotional disturbance. I still cannot believe that I passed it!
Anyway, I will never forget what happened when I went to see the school psychologist to get the results. I entered the office of Dr. Frank Wichern and sat down. I had never met him before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. He looked at my test and then looked at me; looked back at the test and looked at me; looked back at the test for a third time and then back at me. Then he asked, “Do you want the good news or the bad news?” Well, I was totally surprised by his question, but I answered, “I think I’d like the good news first.” He smiled and said, “You will do well in whatever you do in life. You really enjoy people and you have a very optimistic outlook. You are fun. You are positive and you tend to create enthusiasm in everything that you do.” I was very glad to hear that. And, of course, it encouraged me greatly.
I braved the question, “What is the bad news?” He frowned a bit as he answered, “People with your profile rarely finish graduate school. They quit because it is just too difficult of a process!” I was amazed! I had already considered quitting and I had only been there for one semester!
Graduate school was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. But, I got through it, even though it was very challenging, because one of my philosophies of life is, “Finish what you start.” I believe that if you take the time and effort to begin something then you should take the time and effort to complete it – even though you may experience unexpected challenges along the way.
4. Be on time.
I have heard so many variations of what it means to be on time that it has become almost amusing. I have heard it said that you should always be five minutes early. That way you will be able to get a good seat or perhaps may avoid being surprised by something at the last minute.
Some are of the opinion that it shows respect to others to be on time. It shows that you value them and creates an atmosphere of respect.
Still others think that it is appropriate to be fashionably late by five minutes or more so that it keeps you in control of situations. Although I do not adhere to that philosophy, I certainly know a lot of people who are late to everything that they attend. I think it has less to do with trying to control the situation and more to do with the fact that they should have gotten started five minutes earlier in the beginning of the process.
My personal view is that it is better to be five minutes early. That has always helped me to have a little less stress. I have discovered that if you have a little more margin in your life, you can live with fewer crises, and that certainly does a lot to help your blood pressure, as well as your productivity level.
These four key habits are really not that hard to accomplish. It just requires taking the time to be thoughtful.
Years ago, people were raised with these common sense ideas. They were taught to us by our parents and were considered good manners. Come to think of it, I still think they demonstrate good manners today. Don’t you?
Let me encourage you to give yourself a “check-up from the neck up” to see how you are doing in these areas. If you need to improve on one or more of them, start today! It will make life go better for you and for everyone with whom you come in contact this week.
Have a great week! God bless you!
Robert A. Rohm, Ph.D.
Personality Insights, Inc.
Copyright 2010 Personality Insights, Inc. Reprinted with permission. You may subscribe to the “Tip of the Week” for free at http://www.personalityinsights.com and receive Dr. Rohm’s weekly Tip every Monday morning.