11 March 2007

What's the matter Mr. Crabbypants?

Seth Godin has a great blog. It's mostly about marketing matters but it's not your stereotypical "blah, blah, blah" business blog. It has personality. His posts are usually fairly short which is nice if you want to grab a quick diversion at work.

The other day he talked about the messages that people send by their actions.
I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that there are really only two attitudes that people bring to work with them. Either they park right out front [e.g., in spots that should be reserved for customers], or they park down the street in order to send a signal to their staff, their customers and themselves. (Read more.)
Info in italics is mine to clarify the context.
I don't think this is a just a work thing. I was just talking to a colleague about the underlying anger that's so pervasive in society. Where are all the Mr./Ms. Crabbypants coming from? OK, everyone has bad days but it does seem that incivility is the norm. Is the world increasingly joyless? These questions have been occupying my mind for quite awhile. I keep digging for the "why" but I'm not getting anywhere.

Here's a little experiment. The next time you're at a store or a restaurant, really acknowledge the employee with whom you interact. Say "Hello," smile and ask how they are doing (say it like you mean it). Then watch their reaction. It might be the first time all day that someone has treated them like a human being.

When I think of joy I think of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Look at those faces. They are imbued with joy. Have their lives been traumatic and difficult? Yes. But they still find joy. When I was in South Africa, I heard Archbishop Tutu speak. He laughs often and when he does the laugh comes from his toes.


rigtenzin said...

I like your post. I don't understand the quote though. Is he saying that the people who park in front of the building are the crabby pants ones?

Eclectchick said...

I do enjoy bringing someone out of a "bad day" (in quotes because there is no such thing, ala Wayne Dyer) by interacting in a "you're a human, too" way. However, I also maintain that your attitude is YOUR responsibility. My observation it that it takes a LOT less energy - actually breeds MORE energy - to smile, laugh and be kind to people. If you're having a "bad day," try smiling at someone and cracking a joke. It is transformative.

Sophzilla said...

ElectChick -- except the finger clipping guy, right?
Rig -- I think he means that the front-of-building parkers are the Crabbypants. Or, they at least believe that the world ends at their own skin.