Today something happened in my personal life that made me reflect on a rule for life. This rule applies for both your personal and professional life.

That rule is niceness is contagious. Often in business and in my personal life I’ve noticed when people want something they go about getting it in a hostile manner. They scream, hoot and yell. They are mean to people and bully their way into getting their way. Usually they get their way but the party being asked is never happy and they take their time and give in only to make them go away. These hostile people feel acting in any other way is a sign of weakness. They are scarred that if they don’t act that way they will not get what they want. I say that this is the wrong way. This is not a sign of strength; it is a sign of weakness.

When you are nice and upfront with people they don’t feel abused and are happy to help. This really came through to me today. Someone really close to me injured their leg this last week. They will fully recover but for the next little while they will be on crutches or in a wheelchair. During this recovery time, we have tickets to see their favorite band. Seeing this band is really important to them. Today I called to see if our tickets where wheelchair accessible. I didn’t see a problem; we had general admission tickets so it was a stand where you want thing but I wanted to check. So I was on hold for one hour to talk to an agent only to find out that due to fire code they could not be in a wheelchair in the general admission section. I explained nicely what had happened and how important this concert was to the person. The agent said they would look into it and get someone to follow up with me tomorrow. The office was closing in half an hour, the people they need to speak with at the venue had left for the day and they where off until Sunday. I thanked them for their help. About an hour after the office closed I got a call. It was the ticket agent. She had stayed late (which cut into her weekend), tracked down the people from the venue and had found us tickets in a wheelchair accessible section.

The moral of the story is if you are nice and up front with people and you will be surprised. Being nice and upfront no matter what is not a weakness it is strength. So this weekend and beyond, I challenge everyone not to get upset but instead smile and be upfront, honest and nice; it will get you further in your personal and professional life.

Courtesy of
Cyrus Jeejeebhoy
M.A.Sc., P.Eng.