The Civilized Minute

a minute of manners and musings

goodness gracious

All the comments floating around during World Gratitude Day about goodness and gratefulness has inspired me to DO something. I don’t know what, admittedly.  But, something. Something that will make a difference for someone… or something…in some way. All sounds rather vague, I know.

This morning, I’ve been tossing some ideas around in my head, but I keep eliminating one after the other. I thought about surprising the fam with a dinner out, but determined that was rather self-serving. I thought about baking a buttermilk pie for a friend who is having some health issues, but realized that wasn’t appropriate for someone on a strict diet. Then, it struck me…there is actually the right way to do good and that’s why I’m struggling to figure out what I can do in just the right manner.

I hope World Gratitude Day made you think about the good things of which you are capable. Even little things can be good! Don’t rack your brain for an act that will put you in the running for the  Nobel Peace Prize (the internet can only be invented once, after all) when you could change the course of the day for your next door neighbor or cube mate. So, when just the right good thing settles in your mind, remember these pointers so you can be gracious in your goodness.

Not everyone will think the idea is good. That’s to be expected! If everyone had just the same ideas and desires, there would be no variety in life. So, if someone should bring up all the things that could go wrong with your idea, don’t get defensive. Listen to these comments carefully. Digest this new information and use them to make your idea workable.

Make sure the idea is for them and not you. Remember, goodness for others isn’t supposed to throw you in the limelight. This is about the deed, not the glory.

This isn’t a one man show. Don’t be afraid or hesitant to ask for input, advice or help. If you believe you have devised a new way of processing customer requests for your company, seek out the stakeholders and ask for feedback. Put the idea on the table and let the group work through it together.

If your idea is grabbed by someone else, let it go. Unfortunately, some are more interested in getting the credit than getting it right. Rise above something so petty and certainly don’t try to announce that you were actually the mastermind.

Do the good, then move on. Let’s say you decide to whip up a couple of batches of your most delicious chocolate chip cookies for the office. Simply put them in a basket or on a platter and leave them in the break room. You might put a Post-It nearby that says ‘Enjoy!’. But, don’t sign your name. It will look like you are being showy. Also, there is no need to ration them out from your desk where people may feel awkward having to ask for one. If you truly want to share the cookies with your coworkers, make it easy for everyone to enjoy them. 

Now, I will dance at the funeral of anyone who can show me how my getting a massage today could be viewed as gracious and good for the world in general. Please. I’m begging.


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