It seems that we live in a thankless world and this void seems most pronounced in day-to-day business. The ever increasing pace of commerce in the new millennium seems to leave little time for a thank you or even common courtesy. Global competitiveness seems to have sapped us of empathy and compassion. Yes, this is a cynical view of business today but I fear it is true. It is my opinion that we are mired in a deep dark thankless funk that rivals the world of Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens lore.
For example, advertising is overwhelmingly negative. Charles Schwab, a brokerage company without analysts, ran ads a few years ago showing other brokers to be commission-hungry con artists, pushing a bad stock; in the advertisement a full commission broker joked about “putting lipstick on that pig.” The pressure of controversy seems to have gotten the better of them (i.e. Schwab). Although Merrill Lynch was shown by New York City prosecutors to have very similar internal email conversations, CBS, thinking it too controversial, refused to run the ad. (The ClickZ Network).
One only has to turn to YouTube or most anywhere on the web to read the smear campaigns that tear down political candidates in our 2008 Presidential primaries. Barack Obama is a victim of a Republican smear campaign which spread false information about his family history, religion, and background using a false Wikipedia citation. This is an example of negative advertising at its best with lies included. Regretfully, this negative viral message spread like crazy, misinforming thousands of readers.
Presuming that you buy into my harsh view of current affairs in the world, what should you do? I suggest that you do the opposite. Greet the world by saying thank you to your customers, colleagues, suppliers, and competitors. Be different than the rest and look for the good in things and be grateful. At the very least, it will make you feel better. I can only imagine the shock on people’s faces when you greet them cheerfully and express good tidings.
William Arthur Ward said that “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” Give the gift of your gratitude. Give often.
John Bradley Jackson
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