I have wanted to do a series on values for some time as I think they are important tools which, when combined with free-will, help us to live better lives and to make the world a better place. Values are, in my opinion, an important gift from God. The Foundation for a Better Life whose billboards or TV ads you may have seen, has served as an inspiration for me and my strong belief that human beings have a duty to live a life centered on values, that is, ideas which are useful, or to quote Webster's 7 : something (as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable

Today I will start that series, with the value of courtesy.

Webster's defines courtesy as behavior which is marked by respect for and consideration of others.

So often in our daily lives, we become caught up in our own emotions and needs. In other words we become selfish-which is the opposite of being courteous.

Courtesy is not hard, it doesn't cost anything, it just requires us to refocus our mind to include others and not only ourselves and our wants and needs. Being discourteous can quickly, and easily hurt others.

An example: let's say you are in a position of people management. One of your employees has told you she has plans that evening to attend a concert with an old friend who is visiting. In spite of knowing this, you call your employee at the end of the day and insist she participate in an after-work conference, to which you had not previously invited her. Your employee's attendance is not going to make or break the business; but you want her there and while not ordering her to attend outright, you make allusions that it would be better to be there than not to be.

This is an example of how we put our own desires above other's; in the example, you have not only inconvenienced your employee, wasted her time and money (concert tickets), but also done the same to her friend. Moreover, you have made it harder for her to trust your judgment, and undoubtedly her mind will not be focused on the conference, but on how you hurt her.

So if we're keeping score here, discourteous behavior has negatively impacted your employee, her friend, yourself (because an unhappy employee is not a productive employee) and maybe your business. You have damaged your own leadership, and made others angry for no substantive reason.

My goal is to demonstrate how these seemingly old fashioned, simple and cliche ideas still have usefulness, how not living according to the values I will discuss is harmful to self and others, and how much easier life can be when we simply do what is right.

I'll end with a quote from the Foundation for a Better Life regarding courtesy:

“In life you can never be too kind or too fair; everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load. When you go through your day expressing kindness and courtesy to all you meet, you leave behind a feeling of warmth and good cheer, and you help alleviate the burdens everyone is struggling with.”

—Brian Tracy

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