Chew On It – Richard Chew

Be Considerate. Be Nice.

As I abide by my principle of ‘Life is not simple but don’t make it complex’, I am mindful of being nice and considerate with the people around me.

If your life is full of drama and chaos, the common denominator is you. Many people are not self-aware enough to see they are the cause of their problems. When life goes haywire at times, I always question if I am the cause of it, and what I need to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

When the problem is the other person, I will find ways to resolve it. But if that person is a constant source of chaos, then I avoid that person. Some people thrive on causing drama.

Some time ago, I went to Service NSW to change my car’s number plate. When my ticket number was called, I approached the counter. The person barked at me and said, ‘You’ve picked the wrong ticket. Now it’s going to take a very long time.’

Had I reacted badly, it would have only compounded that person’s mood and made the whole experience worse. Instead, I said with a smile, ‘That’s ok, I am really patient.’ She smiled, laughed, and then became most helpful.

When an interaction can become potentially unpleasant, you have the chance to change it with the way you respond. Bearing in mind the wise words of philosopher Seneca, ‘The greatest remedy for anger is delay.’

Side note: I only recently discovered that many Greek philosophers and free thinkers abruptly withheld their views when threatened by religious leaders. It also happened to the world of Arabic mathematicians. In the 13th century, when Arabic science was the most advanced in the world, religion halted their progress. The effects have lingered to the present day as there is now a scarcity of scientific literature from the Arabic world.

Anyway, I digress!

Being nice and trying to find ways to turn unpleasant interactions into positive ones will only make life far more enjoyable. Some people can be very nasty. I think they believe being rude helps them get what they want. Those are the type of people I keep out of my life.

That reminds me of a time I was asked to meet with a potential membership salesperson to provide my opinion of them. We were at a café and the waitress accidentally spilled some coffee on the saucer. The potential employee glanced at her with a nasty look in his eyes — a big red flag to me. When he was later informed that he was not a successful applicant, his response was, ‘Well, it’s your loss.’ That sums up the character of a person I would not want on our team, as we are also defined by the people we associate with.

I believe everyone can pretend to be nice, but no one pretends to be nasty. When you experience nastiness from a person, believe it. Because it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

We live in an interdependent community, so we need to be considerate of others.

When I was at a red light a few years ago, a McDonald’s bag was tossed out of a car in front of me. It upset me that someone would be so disrespectful of our beautiful city. I came out of my car to throw the bag back into the offender’s car. Walking towards them, I was hoping it was not a car filled with bikies. Fortunately, it was just a young couple. They were quite shocked when I threw the rubbish back in their car. Then they responded with some colourful language.

You can be considerate all the time, it is just a matter of awareness. Like, after a dinner party at a friend’s home — if you wish to help clean up, don’t ask as your host would graciously decline. Just step up and help. I know it will be truly appreciated. At Elixr, doing things like putting away equipment after use, cleaning up after using the change room and toilet, and not speaking on phones in the studios, weights area or cardio room. Elixr is virtually a second home to many. Treat it with the respect you would for a friend’s home.

I can thank my mum for teaching me to be appreciative and considerate of other people. It is satisfying to be respectful of others. It also creates harmony in your life.