Be mindful of the person in front of you, such a simple idea. I was on bus heading to Ko Phi Phi Island when I was making small talk with a man from the Netherlands. He was telling me about his time spent up north in Chiang Mai and such that they had a very simple rule for driving, be mindful of the person in front of you. Let’s talk.
One of the things that I noticed while in Thailand was the lack of road rules. Looking back at my conversation with the Netherlands man, I don’t recall seeing hardly any street signs in the islands or anywhere for that matter other than in Bangkok. It is a simple rule, but very effective. In a country like Thailand that is rampant with tourists, I think having simple rules such as that, begin to make us more mindful of being aware of the people and culture around us.
Help others. Simon Sinek talks about how we have created a culture in which we no longer help or care for each other. He often says in his talks that when we genuinely try to help someone else we find that the other person gets defensive in thinking that you want something from them. Simon also speaks about the self-help industry. He says that its always about us, and how we can make ourselves better, but never about helping each other. This is true in business! We find that big companies often look out for themselves and their bottom line rather than the greater good of our societies. This creates a huge siloing effect on the different departments in companies as well. It lowers employee engagement and often raises attrition rates. It is such a sad thought that in a rapidly advancing society technology is creating a society in which we become more obsessed with our own interests rather than taking the time to help someone out.
The theme I am continually pushing and want you to take from this article is helping others. I want to talk about the Spartans. I am guessing most of you have seen the movie 300 in which Gerard Butler and his crew of “jacked” Spartans fight the Persians in an epic battle of good vs. evil. The bigger picture though is the belief that the Spartans had. There was a scene in the movie where Leonidas (Gerard) was talking to a commoner who had aspirations of joining the Spartan army. He had also brought valuable information to the king about a hidden goat path, which was the ultimate downfall of the Spartans in this fight. Leonidas asked the man to raise his shield thigh to neck, in which the man by no fault of his own did not have the strength or mobility to do so. This resulted in the king not allowing him to join. The belief that the Spartans had was that they belonged together in battle in one single unit, meaning that everyone would protect the person to the left of them and to the right. That is why they were often so successful in battle. It was such a simple idea, yet a drastic result for an entire army of people.
I think also in today’s society we not only have stopped caring for one another, but we have also begun to lose perspective on each other’s lives and cultures. We often jump to conclusions and find ourselves aware of our own beliefs and unconscious of others. I want to talk more about this in my next blog so I won’t drag on, but we need to start the wheels of change.
Be mindful of the person in front of you. I think as a society we have this capability and I know that there are companies and people getting behind this concept more and more each day. From startups to large corporations it starts with one idea, one person, one belief that we can make our companies and our cultures more about each other and less about the bottom line. It is amazing how one trip to a new area meeting a group of new people can change your perspective. I think we can continue to drive this into the workplace as the millennial generation has a stigma of being more invested in a company’s ideals and culture. So start today, why wait? Find someone and hold the door for them. When you go out to lunch, invite the new guy with you. All it takes is one small act to get people to start caring and working with each other, rather than against. Its a world I imagine and a world I know we can create.