Today I found this index card among my stack that I bought at an estate sale years ago. It is typed but is not signed. It reads:
Short Course in Human Relations
The 6 Most Important Words:
I admit I made a mistake.
The 5 Most Important Words:
You did a good job.
The 4 Most Important Words:
What is your opinion?
The 3 Most Important Words:
If you please.
The 2 Most Important Words:
The 1 Most Important Word:
The Least Important Word:
I was struck with this card, mainly for its wisdom in providing guidance on how to not only get along with others but also to bring some real peace to oneself.
If I had to pick the most important of these lesson for me it would be the wisdom of simply admitting, “I made a mistake.” I have gotten much more comfortable with taking responsibility for my mistakes, but I will admit I spent way too long coming up with creative excuses for why something I was responsible for didn’t turn out quite as well as it should have. I used to resist simply owning what I had done and instead wiggled around it, I’m sure making me look more like an ass than my mistake actually did. Now, I just bite the bullet and say, “Yes, I’m sorry. I made a mistake.” If it’s small, then I leave it at that; if it’s big, I hasten to add, “Please forgive me.”
“You did a good job,” speaks volumes about how important it is to honor other people and their efforts. I know I feel good when someone takes the time to let me know they thought my work was well done, I’m guessing that is universal. It really gets down to recognizing the individual and his/her effort.
“What is your opinion?” also is in the category of honoring the individual. Nothing feels better than to have someone actually say, “What do you think?” since that suggests they honor what you have to say. It also is a chance to broaden a conversation from that least important “I” to the most important “we.”
“If you please” is a phrase you don’t hear as much anymore. I remember it used in the context of men opening doors for me and then giving me a little bow. “If you please,” they said, as they waved their arms to invite me to go before them through those doors. I remember thinking of these men as true gentleman and it felt lovely to be treated with such respect.
And a simple “Thank you,” of course, makes all the difference in almost every relationship. Nothing seems easier to say yet goes further in helping others feel valued and cared about. One often takes “thank you’s” for granted until stumbling upon someone who is miserly with them. At that point, it’s easy to feel resentment start to build after each silence where a “thank you” normally would go. It’s not long before one starts thinking, “Hmmm, I need to go somewhere I will be more appreciated.” And certainly that’s the right action. There’s no fun in life where “thank you’s” are lacking.
With that, let me say, Thank you, dear readers for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate your presence and certainly love it when you share your thoughts and opinions with me. Keep reading, if you please. I’ll do my best to value our relationship (the “we”), and try not to dwell too heavily on me (the “I”). You’ve done a good job reading this all the way to the end. For that, I thank you again!
Talk again tomorrow.