A Fool For You
Two fish were swimming upstream. One of them hits his head and turns to the other. He says… “Dam”.
A guy walks into a bar with a set of jumper cables in his hand. The bartender looks at him and says… “Don’t come in here starting anything”.
Ever wonder why you don’t see any elephants hiding in trees? They are really, really, good at it.
Two guys walk into a bar. The other one ducks.
Had enough? Everyone I meet will have had enough. Everyone I work with has had enough. Just in case you have not had enough, here is one more.
What do call the child of an elephant and a rhinoceros? Elephino. Take a minute… There you go.
Hours of my time are spent listening to authors go on and on about how simple life is. Most of my study time for work is use for reviewing video and reading masses of information on the best methods of training team members, how to effectively manage people, and conveying a message that a company has a positive culture that cares for both customers and employees. Before you point out the irony of my writing four or five blogs a week, all over a thousand words, to convey the very simple message that people are better than they think and that kindness is worth the effort, please know I understand the folly of it all. At some point, if life is simple, all we are to do is allow it to be so. Training is only showing someone the chosen way to accomplish a task, managing people is as easy as encouraging the positive and actually helping when the negative pops up. And for the love of all that is held sacred in the eyes of humanity, the best way to demonstrate that a company cares for a customer or employee, is to actually care for the customer and employee.
What is difficult about it all, is that kindness on a personal level, and effective management in the workplace, is a lost art. At some point in our recent history, there was a shift in the mindset of the general population, which created doubt and suspicion when we are met with kindness and caring. Those that genuinely care about what they are doing and who they are doing a thing for, are facing the task of first putting a person at ease with being cared about. There are authorities on most subjects, there are practitioners of methods, and there are those, who day in and day out, simply do. We have heard the quote from George Bernard Shaw’s play “Man and Superman” stating, “Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach”.
If we are to learn a thing, it is best to spend time with those who do. Teachers have a place, but those that do, are not as far removed from a thing we would like to learn. And with regard to the general suspicion of those that do the things like exhibit kindness and express concern for team members, most of those “that do”, would never comprehend that suspicion. That suspicion is only for others to deal with. Kindness and caring, effective management and training, even the enjoyment of living, are at some point, not cerebral activities. They are simply to be done. Before I write further, it is important to note, that I Googled the author of the aforementioned quote. Did it make you think I knew what I was talking about in a more real way because I quoted George Bernard Shaw?
And about the jokes. I tell them almost every day. I Googled them, also. They are not told to get a laugh, and admittedly, some of them just are not funny. They are shared with those I meet, lest they start to think that anything I have done is important enough to be only replicated without thought or critical thinking. When I advise a team member on the correct way to practice safety, wear a uniform, report, or when someone reads a blog post or hears some seemingly profound thing I have said, it helps to bring me, and them, back to the reality that though a thing, at the time, may seem like the most important thing in our world, it is not life and death. You may be thinking that people will not take me seriously if I act goofy or silly. I hope that you are right. What I want is for people to take an idea, a policy, or an encouragement seriously. What I want is for others to consider that what I have said makes sense even after I have left their sight (or more accurately, after they are out of my sight). Believe it or not, I am not in it for the opinions of others.
As for encouraging others, it is noble. As for showing kindness, it is healthy. As for providing feedback and not criticism, it helps others more than it makes us feel somehow superior to those same others. All of these things require us to do one thing. Get. Out. Of. The. Way. When we develop a genuine excitement about how we might change the world of those we meet or work with, by being attentive to what they may need, we can feel good about the day ahead. When we realize that even those that need kindness or instruction are just as able to share compassion or instruction to us, we have everything to gain from going about our work. In this way, we become the teacher, the student, and the doer of things. In this way, we are creating lessons to be both learned and taught, affecting others and being affected by others, and doing what needs to be done while discovering what needs to be done.
Our worth comes from our willingness. Our willingness to be both a fool and a sage. Our willingness to be both the novice and the expert. Our worth also comes from our ability to learn big lessons from big books and small lessons from small children, and to value each of those with the same passion. What we learn about a subject or a vocation is important, but what we learn about ourselves is more important. What we learn about a subject or a vocation will be enhanced when we use situations, that find us teaching and that find us learning, in the same way.
And as far as it goes, personally, I would rather be remembered as the guy that told a simple joke than the guy that could quote George Bernard Shaw. For what it is worth, I would rather be remembered by “that guy” who bought me an Arby’s sandwich that day, than “that guy” who bought me an Arby’s sandwich and talked for thirty minutes about how important compassion is and told me how my life could be better. What would be best for me, is that twenty years after I retire, today’s new team member that I advised on a particular procedure or practice in my company, finally realizes, that as the new CEO of whatever company she or he is working for, it made some sense to learn that particular procedure or practice. It would be nice also if they asked their ten year old child if they understood why they do not see a lot of elephants hiding in trees.