The Gift of Thoughtfulness

– Is a Gift to Yourself –

Thoughtfulness. A simple enough concept; yet not always easy to practice. Once mastered, however, it is the greatest gift you can give; and not just to friends and loved ones on special occasions and holidays…but to everyone, always. And, as you establish yourself as thoughtful to others, they'll go out of their way to please you back.

Thoughtfulness is a habit; internalized, it becomes a way of life, a part of our being. But it does take practice. Where do we start? Our daily life. Here are some good practice exercises. Do this for 21 days, as that's how long it takes to form a new habit (actually, we don't "form" new habits as much as "replace" old, ineffective ones).

Thoughtful people don't wait, they "create" opportunities to make life brighter and more enjoyable for those around them. But, how? Simple things. Holding the door open for anyone near you, regardless of gender or appearance. Soon, it's automatic, and even comes with a smile (and a smile back in return). When a baby in a restaurant is making a bit more noise than is comfortable, and you see the parent looking embarrassed, smile and comment on how cute the baby is.

A thoughtful person is always quick to pay a compliment (especially to those who don't often receive them), realizing the value it sometimes has beyond the obvious!

As you begin to pour your coffee at the local 7-11 store, and spot the next customer in line waiting for you to finish, pour the coffee into their cup first. He or she will be amazed (believe me) and delighted. They'll have learned something as well, and possibly do the same for another person tomorrow.

A thoughtful person parks a bit further from the entrance to the store or the post office, leaving closer spaces for those not as nimble, not covered by handicap status, or really in a hurry. You might ask, "Why should I do that? Nobody will know why I'm doing this."

Two reasons: Number one, it's the right thing to do, which makes you feel better about yourself, which in turn enhances self-esteem. Number two, as touched on earlier, by repeating thoughtful acts, they become habitual. Then, when it really counts, you'll already be doing them naturally.

Not only will you make the world a kinder place to live, but because of the precedent you've set with people, they'll go out of their way to make you happy as well. Amazing how it works. Again, try it for the next 21 days. I guarantee you'll see a delightful difference.

Bob Burg


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