Have you ever walked by someone and avoided all eye contact because you didn’t want to have any type of personal exchange? Come on, admit you’ve done this once or twice at least. Well, if you haven’t, you are probably one of only a few people in that category. I have done this in my youth because I didn’t want another person (probably a cute guy) to see me without makeup or nice clothes. As I have grown older, I realize no one cares if I wear makeup or designer clothes. However, people will remember my smile, a nice compliment, or a kind gesture.
I know… I know… I am sure you have heard that people remember the negative more than the positive. This does happen. We all know gossiping people exist who love a sad or tragic story to share. However, in the end, people make mistakes. People are not perfect. There will be another poor soul on the gossip stage soon enough. In the end, we are all going to leave this beautiful earth and what will it matter? So, don’t get caught up in the gossip and negativity. I challenge you to this! If you take the high road, you’ll probably rest better at night.
Oddly enough, I was recently reading the book, “The Accidental Instructional Designer: Learning Design for the Digital Age” by Cammy Bean. Of all the books I have read, I never really thought a book about Instructional Design would include this, but it did. In fact, Bean (2014) says, “… we seem to remember the bad things about people we meet more than the good” (p. 136). She goes on to say we learn from mistakes and this is why she added this to her book about e-learning. (Designers can use stories about mistakes to teach lessons.)
Thus, the reason I decided to discuss this today is because I feel strongly that reading about the usefulness of negativity (through mistakes) combined with what I am about to share is no coincidence. Earlier today, I received a kind message from a former Starbucks Barista in Georgia that I barely knew. She was always pleasant and a great Barista, but I only knew her briefly. Six years ago, she was pregnant. I told her wonderful things about being pregnant and positive things I learned while pregnant. She reached out to me today to let me know how big of an impact this had on her and her son. She emailed me the following.
… Idk if you remember but when I was pregnant with my son you were so excited about that kid even though we didn’t really know each other! That love you showed, believe it or not, has shown through that kid! I wish you could meet him just to see the love he gives off! Everybody falls in love with that kid! Believe it or not, he’s six now.
So, in the end, people do remember the nice things. Even though it may be beneficial to create a humorous story about a goofy, mistake-prone character to teach a lesson online, in the real world, kindness must prevail. I may never have heard that story, but I did hear it at the perfect time. I had to share it with you as proof that small things do matter. Small things can turn into big things! (After all, she made me smile 6 years later and thousands of miles from the original place where I shared my love and warmth with her.) I CHALLENGE you to avoid the negative and embrace the positive each and every day. It will make a difference.
Hugs and Kindness,
Bean, C. (2014). The accidental instructional designer: Learning design for the digital age. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.