"œSmile at strangers and you just might change a life." "“ Steve Maraboli
One of the most underrated activities, but most thoroughly appreciated ones, has to be the art of giving and receiving of a smile.
One of the hot topics almost every day in the business world is poor customer service"¦ which I think relates to smiling or the lack thereof. There are tons of posts on Facebook and other social media sites telling tales of how such and such a company "˜shafted"™ someone out of money by refusing to issue a refund, or how the cashier at a local grocery store practically bit someone"™s head off when they questioned whether the price of the kumquat"™s they were purchasing was correct. While some of the beefs are definitely legitimate, I believe I"™ve stumbled on one of the biggest flaws in providing excellent customer service. And do you know what it is? (more…)
I have a confession to make. I love dirt"¦ and I love cows. Read on and you"™ll find out what they have in common in my mind.
I love the smell of it, the feel of it in the springtime as it "˜smushes"™ between my fingers while I"™m digging in my flower beds "“ I love everything about it. Even when my fur-babies track some of it into the house from playing in the backyard, it doesn"™t bother me.
For the first 18 years of my life I lived on a working farm near the ocean. While a lot of my friends loved winter, I detested it from a very young age. I"™d wait impatiently for warmer weather to arrive and with it the promise of spring.
Things would slowly start to thaw, including the huge manure pile outside the barn door. Melting mounds of snow would create little rivers cutting through the thawing ground on their way to lower elevations. Everyone seemed to be happier, livelier in some way, as if we humans had been in semi-hibernation along with the bears and wildlife that lived back in the woods at the edge of our property.
First Spring Flowers 2014
Living on the farm, I"™d know exactly when that wonderful day that I called spring would arrive. It never ceased to surprise me when that special occasion suddenly snuck up on me, but I was always overjoyed when I "˜smelled"™ it.
That special day happened anywhere between the middle and end of April, depending on how much snow and cold weather we"™d had that winter. I usually arrived home from school between 3:45 pm and 4:00 pm. The bus driver let my younger brother and me off the bus at the lower part of our circular driveway and we"™d dash up the coal-ash covered lane to the front door of our farmhouse.
Yet on "˜spring"™ day, I"™d linger on that walk, savouring the announcement of my favorite season "“ the smell of rotten cow shit permeating through the air. You see, once the ground had dried up enough so that the tractor wouldn"™t make ruts in the pasture ground, my Dad would start cleaning out the cow pens that were 3"™ to 4"™ high in manure, and spread it as fertilizer on our land.
Man, it stunk! Nowadays most people living next to a farm probably file complaints about air pollution when a farmer spreads manure on his property. I don"™t even know how they dispose of a full winter"™s worth of cow dung these days as I"™ve lived in the city for most of the past 30+ years after leaving my family home and am out of touch with today"™s farming protocol.
But I still miss that smell.
The only thing that comes close to it is when I"™m out cleaning out my flower beds after a hard winter spell. When my nose is close to the earth and that pungent aroma of half-thawed dirt mixed in with last years decayed leaves reaches my nose, I am one happy camper. Those first little tender green shoots of leaves and flowers to come and that amazing one-of-a-kind smell serves as a wonderful reminder that even after a period of harshness, a reprieve of happiness follows.
I love dirt"¦ and I love cows. I think I need to make a visit to a farm in the country to welcome in spring properly.
Yesterday I watched a short clip that a friend had posted on Facebook entitled "œWhat If Money WasÂ Â No Object?" and it was so good that I shared it on my own wall. It made me stop and realize that for a good part of my life, money was my motivator "“ the driving force behind 90% of every decision I made.
For a lot of people, their life"™s equation looks like this: work + money = success. Yet at what cost to human creativity? I wonder how many of us reach a certain age, stop and look back over our lives and wonder, "œWhat if I"™d done something different. How would I feel today?" Even worse, there are far too many people who lay on their deathbed and think, "œI wish I"™d followed my true passion of "¦" you fill in the blank.
Yes, money is important, to the extent that we need a certain amount of it to live a reasonably comfortable life. We all need a dry roof over our heads, clothes on our back, and food on our table. These are the basic necessities of life and in order to enjoy them, we need to earn money to pay for them doing some type of work. However, where is it written that we have to stifle our dreams and desires for doing what we truly love to do in order to be considered a success? Who, exactly, dictates that we need to work at a 9 to 5 J.O.B. that we detest simply because "œThat"™s what everybody does!?"
I wonder if people like Monet or Rembrandt thought, "œWell, I"™ll never be rich and famous because I"™m "˜just"™ a painter" or if writers such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, or so many other literary giants decided, "œI"™m going to write because I"™ll achieve critical acclaim and be revered for my work when I die." I suspect they, along with thousands of others who have followed their passion, did what they did because they paid attention to their innate intuition to follow what made their heart sing "“ to do what fulfilled them and made them want to get up in the morning, EVERY day of their life, and do it all over again.
The title of this piece is "œWhy Money Should Never Be Your Motivator" and here"™s why I believe this statement to be true. If you base your sense of self-worth and self-esteem on the size of your bank account, you run the risk of having a zero balance "“ in both your wallet AND in your life. Finances have a way of ebbing and flowing, much like the tides of the ocean are governed by the moon. If your moral character is based on hard currency, then what happens if you lose all your wealth? What do you have in your "˜internal"™ safety deposit box to fall back on to get you through such a hardship? Probably zilch.
I have no children of my own, but I do have nieces and one nephew whom I adore, as well as an extended family of great-nieces and great-nephews. If I were allowed to share with them only one piece of business advice, it would be this: Choose your career path by that which makes you feel happy. For if you follow your instincts and take the path that fills your soul with satisfaction, the money will eventually come. And when it does, you will most likely be more appreciative of those dollars and cents, and share your wealth (and joy) with others in the world.
Pay attention to your dreams as they will provide you with a lifetime of joy.
PS: By the way, here"™s the link to the video clip should you like to watch it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siu6JYqOZ0g