One of the unanticipated questions I often throw at the customer service people as they extend their warming handshake and conniving smiley faces (as if they were robotically controlled) is: “Is that a real or fake smile – I hope it comes from the heart?” It is purely an act of gimmick to get you sign that paper. Well at least I am pretty much changing that status quo by daring to ask the bold question.
Being good is simply a clever maneuver to get what you want. Let me explain why.
Recent studies suggest that the incidence of incivility at work is disturbingly high – and that it’s on the rise. Deliberate arrangements to curb this numb are already underway as business leaders nest plans together to castrate incivility at work. However, because workplace incivility is so widespread these days, business coaches emphasize the importance of genuine customer service as a way to curtail incivility at the marketplace. Other than putting up a positive facial but “fake” attitude of friendliness in order to pull the customer to your side, business coaches educate about Emotional Intelligence, a more humane appeal to better manage our emotions in order to lead inspiring lifestyle at the workplace.
Apparently, it is no easy thing to recognize the emotional state of others, neither is it a small feat to engage with people in a way that draws them to you in a positive way. Believe it or not, we all struggle with it. It requires great self discipline to understand emotions. Unfortunately, we see a lot of people stage a performance of being goodto stimulate a stream of connection and get to your heart for selfish reasons. It is a scary and treacherous way to build a relationship.
Recently I watched The Ultimate Gift. The movie is a story of an extremely wise and wealthy grandfather who gave his shallow, spoiled grandson Jason the ultimate inheritance. The grandfather looked past the exterior and saw something of value hidden in Jason’s character. In his Last Will and Testament he offered him a series of “gift challenges” that were wisely crafted to transform him into an agent of good deeds and bring those rare character qualities to the surface through the refining fire of 12 difficult life-lessons. At first he started off acting to be who the grandfather wished he were. However, that did not last for long. Not until after completing few tasks, he miserably finds himself being ejected from a private property he wishes to rest on, and wanders the city for the first time truly alone. It is while sleeping in a park that he encounters a woman, Alexia, and her hyperactive daughter Emily who was suffering from leukemia (and would soon die), and saw this family as a chance to develop a strong bond with someone. From that point onwards he tries as best he can to help Emily have a great life while it lasts. Jason learns the gift of work, friends, the value of money, the gift of family, laughter, dreams, learning through pain, the gift of giving, gratitude, forgiveness and love. But more than that, he learned how our central purpose in life is to do good for the sake of others. Ultimately he transforms into a person of depth and moral strength, receiving the “gifts” that his grandfather knew were far more precious than money. With these gifts, Jason can now make the world a better place.
Most of us are like the pre-enlightened Jason. Money is everything to us. And as a result we wind up building pseudo relationships to get that contract and live life to the fullest while it lasts. There’s more to life than money. In between those insincere escapades you will certainly discover for yourself that you don’t always get the price when you stage a performance of friendliness and claim to be good. Money is simply a tool to do good, and not a goal in itself.
Perhaps I am wrong. It could however be that being good is not an end in itself but points beyond itself to a final actualization of morality – doing good. However be the case, the former is what a scary percentage of people practice today. What is lacking here is the basic understanding that life is all about service and nothing more. It is about giving back to the society through trading our virtues for its disarray.
However, while the emphasis on being good is a way forward to nowhere, the irony or possible consequence of this approach to life is a mutation of smiley-but-unaffectionate and iron-hearted desperadoes who are out for what you have than what they can offer. Our approach to life and business must be in such a way that it inspires others to model our good examples. Business is more than getting people to buy from you. It is about helping people. It is about empathy. It is about spontaneity. More to that your expression, be genuine so that you can change lives even at the marketplace.
According to Mary Fairchild, “We gain most when we give ourselves in service to others.” It is called doing good for the sake of others so that we may be called to perfection. And that, my friend, is the summary of the Bible.
Don’t be good, rather do good for the sake of others. Indeed, no people give so much joy as those who go about doing good for the sake of others.