As we enter the holiday season we are reminded of the importance of family, friends and colleagues. With a very challenging year behind us, maybe it's time to make a greater effort to "just be nice."
A famous (anonymous) quote reminds us, "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice." What would it take to treat everyone you meet with a little extra compassion this month; to wake up on the right side of the bed and greet every day with a smile?
As a professional driver, you meet people every day who are complete strangers to you. At the truck stop, the scale, when you deliver to a customer, even in your own terminal if it's a larger company. When you're out on the road, you might not have the benefit of working with the same folks each day, so you have to define your relationship each time you meet someone new.
If you approach the fuel desk associate with a scowl on your face because you just had a disagreement with your dispatcher, expect the encounter to be unpleasant. No one wants to deal with a person who's obviously in a foul mood. You're not making the other person feel very important and you'll probably receive the same indifference in return. This sets the tone for negative interactions the remainder of your day.
What if we all decided to "just be nice", to treat others with decency and respect and throw in a smile once in a while? It's called "relationship marketing" and it will help you develop a stronger bond with those you meet in the course of doing your job.
If you don't expect any benefit other than showing the other person courteousness, you'll be further ahead. Don't assume that your pleasant attitude should result in better treatment or special favors. That's not the reason to be nice.
Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you - not because they are nice, but because you are.
When you encounter a surly person, don't take it personally, and don't return the gloom. As Plato reminds us, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." The waitress at the truck stop might have a sick child at home. Your dispatcher could be having a rough day as well, so don't assume it's your fault they're short with you. Give each of them the benefit of the doubt and "just be nice".
There are many benefits to being nice, but according to Jeff Nichols, who calls himself "just a regular guy" in his blog, "My Super-Charged Life," being nice to others can be good for you! Pleasant people are a pleasure to be around, so you'll be more popular if you are nice.
Being nice also helps you feel better about yourself, which leads to increased self-confidence. It also helps reduce stress and guilt, and encourages you to feel more thankful, regardless of your own situation. Being nice and focusing on others can even distract you from your own troubles.
Nichols claims that people who are nice help foster a greater sense of community and family. Who knows, being nice and helping others might even help you find talents or abilities you didn't know you had. When you make the world a better place, you add meaning and significance to your life. After all, we all like to feel we've made a positive difference to others.
One other benefit to being nice is that people are more inclined to help you when you're facing your own challenges. By helping them overcome their trials, they will be more inclined to help you succeed as well. It's human nature.
Think about ways you can change the environment around you by just being a little nicer. Try it and see if it helps you become a better person as well. Just be nice, or there may be consequences. According to Willie Davis, "If you step on people in this life, you're going to come back as a cockroach."
We don't need any more cockroaches, so let's all learn to be nice.