Polly’s pondering’s are very quick posts (that I can type into the WordPress App during my lunch break!) It is just me chatting about something that I have ‘pondered’ today and speedily typed up while munching on my bread-sticks and hummus. Consider it a take on modern miscellany with an older person’s perspective. This weeks pondering? Can polite people make it in the modern world?
Does politeness pay
In a world where it seems that the rude, pushy and abrasive people seem to be getting ahead, is it even worth being polite anymore? I am obviously going to say yes, it is literally my greatest skill, and here is why you should keep it up too.
You can’t escalate if you go in rude to start with.
I personally think everyone should, as a kind of National Service, work in retail for a time, just so you will always appreciate how horrible some people are to shop workers and why you should never be like that. If you have suffered at the hands of obnoxious customers you will possibly also be the kind of person who now uses this tactic when you want to complain. You go in polite.
“Hi, I am so sorry, but I need to bring this back. I’ve only had it five minutes and the hem has started coming away, is it alright if I swap it for another one?”
If you go in screaming about how rubbish the shop, their stock and their staff are straight away you have nowhere left to go. It is the same with children. You don’t threaten to deny them the internet for all time, because that is neither reasonable nor possible. You calmly explain what you would like to happen going forward (and confiscate their X- box for a day, because they have to learn)
If you are calm, reasonable and polite you will probably get the same response you would have received by being rude i.e. your money back or the item replaced, with the added bonus that now there are not people somewhere who think you are a bit of a shouty dick.
People just aren’t expecting it.
Two examples for you:
I was in a Primark queue, they are like the Post Office, they call you forward ‘Till number 3 please’ style. I had been on the phone, but as I approached the till I said ‘got to go, about to be served in the shop’, put my phone away and actually engaged with the guy behind the counter.
He seemed genuinely surprised. He thanked me for coming off my phone and said that most people just keep talking and throw the things they are buying at him. I got a cute smile and the knowledge that I had cheered the lad up for my efforts.
Sometimes you get more than a smile!
We were at a carvery the other week for Sunday dinner. The people in front of me were quite abrupt, ‘I’ll have the turkey, yeah with stuffing’ and they snatched the plate away and went on with filling their plates with veg.
I handed in my ticket.
‘Please may I have some of the turkey, and if I’m allowed may I have a bit of the beef’.
‘You want a Yorkshire Pudding?’
‘Thank you, yes please’
I have never seen a slab of beef like it! She handed the plate back, thanked ME and pointed out all of the veg to me. I am not saying being polite got me more food, but I think being A LOT politer than the previous people certainly had an impact on that server’s mood and attitude towards me.
Be the Change
Claiming the world has changed and that to get ahead you have to be as equally pushy and rude is a lazy-ass cop out! If everyone was out there being polite there would still be people who wouldn’t feel the need to follow suit and would keep on being abusive. So why should we, the polite minority, feel we need to change to fit into a system that is actually wrong. Everyone should acknowledge that their actions have implications, and try to leave any situation better than when they entered.
You will always have someone argue that you need a tough, no-nonsense, straight talker, to get stuff done, but they generally only have to step in when a previous shouty, tough, no-nonsense, straight talker, caused trouble in the first place.
My Pondering take away this week:
If you get to the root of every religion or belief system there is one basic theme that runs through it: Try to be your best version of you, and be nice to other people.
To summarise even further the meaning of life is ‘Don’t be a dick’. Words I think we should all live by.
With thanks to the University of Bolton for listing these on their website and making my research so much easier:
Basic Religious beliefs
Key beliefs include belief in one God; the unity of mankind; equality of opportunity for men and women; and elimination of prejudice.
The Five Precepts are the basic rules of living for lay Buddhists – refrain from harming living beings; taking what is not given; sexual misconduct; harmful speech; and drink or drugs which cloud the mind.
Based on the teaching of Jesus Christ:
Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Humanism is the belief that we can live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs. Humanists make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values and aim to make the best of the life we have by creating meaning and purpose for ourselves. Humanists work with others for the common good.
Core ideals and values shared by most Hindus would include respect for elders; reverence for teachers; regard for guests and tolerance of all races and religions.
The essentials of Muslim practice are summarised in the five pillars of Islam – declaration of faith; ritual prayer; welfare; a month of fasting and pilgrimage.
The main principle is ahimsa – the avoidance, where possible, of physical or mental harm to any living being. Jainism is a religion without a belief in a creator god.
Jews believe they are challenged and blessed by God. Love of one’s neighbour is the great principle of social life and the founding inspiration of the Jewish community.
There is one God, people should serve by leading a life of prayer and obedience. Sikhs believe their soul then passes through various existences and will become one with God.
Zoroastrianism is a religion founded in ancient times by the prophet Zarathushtra, who taught that Ahura Mazda (Lord of Wisdom), the all powerful and perfect creator, grants humans Vohu Manah – a clear rational mind with which to dispel ignorance.