Updated: Sep 16, 2019
We have all heard the statement that the enemy of great is average. In my profession as a consultant, I often come across incredible individuals with vast potential to live their lives in the realm of the extraordinary, but they have often sabotaged themselves with the fear of looking different or sounding different from the crowd. Everyone wants to blend-in, everyone wants to avoid sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb.
In my first year at university, my dean of students made a statement that has stuck with me throughout the years and perhaps even shaped my desire to make a difference while I was at college. She stated that the one thing that will make one stand out from the crowd was leadership. I was 17 years old at the time and having survived sticking out like a sore thumb at a new high school which I had attended for nineteen months prior to graduation, I was no stranger to not being a part of the crowd. I was used to being different.
Being different is often frowned upon by those who lack the courage to make a change in their lives. It is often frowned upon by those who lack the desire to make a difference. Envious and jealous people will never encourage others to step out of their comfort zone or make that vital change that could transform their lives
To be highly successful in life, you need to be able to pay attention to the small details. We all agree that you don't get a second chance to make a good first impression. We also agree that those whom we admire, whom we uphold in society, or use as role models are a notch above the rest when it comes to personal development. It does not make sense to drive a the latest Mercedes Benz, park it at the car lot, walk into a formal dinner in your tuxedo that cost thousands of dollars, and then exhibit terrible dining etiquette. I have seen this happen too many times.
The other unflattering scenarios that I have seen are: beautifully dressed people who have poor diction, and ladies who walk like men. Life was meant to be lived in such a way that you enjoy being a man or a woman. Who said you cannot be sexy and intelligent?
So what is social intelligence worth? What price tag would you place on the polishing of a gemstone without which the gem would remain without any beauty and fail to radiate or reflect light?
How do you make a polished exit at an occasion? How do you introduce your acquaintances to each other in a manner that will mark you as a gracious and refined person?
How do you stand up without looking common while maintaining posture skills that will pay off in your old age? How do you make the most of a photography session such that you enter the photogenic hall of fame?
Everyday we come across drop dead gorgeous ladies scratching or heavily patting their heads, others slumped in chairs, yet others not knowing the proper gestures to make or even the proper way to sit or cross their legs. We watch handsome men who pick their noses, shout over their cell-phones or lack any form of social courtesy.
So what is etiquette? Etiquette is often looked upon as a set of mannerisms for those who are "into the subject". Do you think that etiquette is for those who do not have problems in life? Do you think that social intelligence should be reserved for those who lived in certain parts of abroad for a long time, or for first ladies?
Like John Maxwell said, "Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less".
Deborah Smith Pegues said in her book, Socially Smart in 60 Seconds, “…etiquette is consideration, common sense and convenience.” Nothing more, nothing less.
Anyone who takes a close look at the rules of etiquette will come to discover this truth. And it is a most profound truth.
Jesus Christ once said "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". I am yet to meet one single person who would not like to be treated with consideration, common sense and convenience.
So next time you come across an article or a book, or an electronic media program on modern manners and simple courtesy, do not fast forward your life to the next best thing. Take a moment to reflect on how you could be more considerate, use more commons sense in your daily activities and take advantage of that which is convenient rather than that which would pose more complications in your everyday life.