Monthly Blog - June 2017

The Four Legs of the Table: Four Things All Well-Mannered People Do Daily

Ready, Set... Time to Say Please and Thank You Again.

Build a Longer Table: The Four Legs of the Table

Put Your Best Foot Forward
How Good Manners Enhance your professional and personal life.

“If you are more fortunate than others,
it is better to build a longer table than a taller fence.”

Four Things All Well-Mannered People Do Daily

Over the past several months, this blog has discussed information formulating the symbolic legs of the table.

The four legs of the table symbolize the four principles of good manners.

The four legs are Trust, Respect, Love and Honor. It takes all four legs of the table to live a principled, well-mannered life. If one of the “legs” is missing or lacking, then our persona will be off-balance, just as a four-legged table with only three legs would be unbalanced.

The surface of the table represents the one force driving all of human behavior: desire.

This powerful force called desire is a human trait that our brain constantly assimilates, no matter our position in life. We have a tendency to always desire more or better or different. The Four Parts of Desire: Acquisitiveness, Rivalry, Vanity and Love of Power.

Last month, we discussed How We Got “Please” and Why It’s Important.

This month, let us explore The Four Things All Well-Mannered People Do Daily.

The Human Condition: Imperfect and Complex

Each of us wakes up each day with a new, bright day ahead of us. It is a great gift…this option of starting each day anew.

All of us wants to live a life that we want to live. With all of its busyness, stress and jam-packed days (and nights). These are facts that require no explanation.

But if we ask how we want to live, what makes life meaningful for us, then we may get many different answers.

Some will want power. Some will want love, others security, others sensuous pleasure or comfort, others may want fame. Many philosophers and theologians will say we strive for happiness. But happiness can be fleeting, as the bright shiny moments of our lives come to being then pass into our memory.

Perhaps we would do well to strive for peacefulness. An internal peacefulness that fills our days with work we love, people we love and things that we love. A seasoned therapist once stated, “She is so wonderful to be around. She has conquered all of her enemies.”

In other words, this individual recognized that her life would have stressors, that people may not always be kind and yet, she made the choice to live fully and completely despite the occasional bump in the road. This life of ours can be a messy affair, and the last time I checked, no one had a handbook of ‘How to Do Life’.

Is there a way to go about our daily lives with a sense of peacefulness and fulfillment?

After teaching manners for more than 15 years, I discovered four common things that have risen to the top. These are things well-mannered people tend do on a daily basis.

The Four Things All Well-Mannered People Do

The Four Top Traits of Well-Mannered people:

  1. Their everyday language and syntax includes phrases such as:
    • Please
    • Thank You
    • You’re Welcome
    • How can I Help?
    • I’m interested in helping…
    • Can we talk more about this?

    This language, once internalized, will present you as a person who cares about others and who wishes to let others know your appreciation. These are simple phrases, yet seem to be sorely lacking in today’s vernacular. Kindness seems exude from their very being.
    Well-Mannered people get weary and tired and at the end of their ropes. After all, they are human. Yet they still continue to use kindness in their interactions with others. And well-mannered people also know when it is time to call it a day, and get much needed sleep.

  2. They are better at small talk than anyone else.Why is this important? Because interacting with other people in a positive way is the one of the keys to getting along well in life. We all want to belong and feel a part of something outside of ourselves. Having the bank teller look you in the face and say a cheerful ‘Hello’, then look you in the face at the end of the transaction to say ‘thank you’…feels very affirming and caring. It makes us want to return to interact with the nice banker again.The specific ways to get better at small talk:
    1. Ask more questions.
      When you are meeting someone for the first time, ask questions of them.

      • What brings you to this conference?
      • What exciting things are going on with you?
      • How is your family?

      Once you ask a question,

    2. Listen more effectively.
      Listen to what the speaker is saying, then respond in a way that shows you are actively listening. Look at the face of the speaker. Make your nonverbal behavior match your interest in what the person is saying.Build credibility and trust with empathy by listening more effectively.


  3. They have the ability to laugh at themselves and not take life too seriously.A good sense of humor is vital to getting along in this life. Self-depricating humor is even better. When people can laugh with you, it dumps all sorts of good hormones into your brain, which in turn, lowers your blood pressure. It is a very good thing.

    People who are self-confident and secure in themselves possess the innate ability to laugh at themselves. Doing so shows depth of character and the ability to accept the human condition at face value.

    The ability to show one’s self as being vulnerable sometimes…is a very good thing. None of us is perfect, and to pretend we are perfect, is well, disingenuous. We all have our weak spots.

    We sometimes observe others, and wish we could be like them (whatever that is). But the fact is: we can only be ourselves.

    Actress Judy Garland said it best: “Always be the first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of someone else.” -Judy Garland.


  4. They consistently do the right thing……Even when its hard; especially when it’s hard.

    This is called integrity and leadership.

    Well-mannered people are often purposefully passionate about life. They are self-aware and introspective. They are curious, continual learners. They are team players, resilient, agile and tenacious. They know what matters. And they are accountable—instinctively giving credit and taking the blame. They go the extra mile. Yet they don’t others skate by.

    These traits make doing the right thing a bit easier.

    Well-mannered people make mistakes sometimes. Yes, indeed. But they own up to the mistake, then work to correct the mistake, offering apologies where needed and suggesting help in any fallout from the mistake. They do not hide behind their mistakes, not do they berate or insult others through social media or otherwise.

    In fact, apologies seem to be in such short supply these days, that when ‘I’m sorry’ or taking ownership is offered by a public persona, it tends to be big news.

    Do you possess the four traits that many well-mannered people do?

    If so, bravo!

    If not, it is never too late to learn.

Ready, Set…time to say please and thank you again.

Remember: Share your goodness, far and wide, as much as you can, with as many people as you can, for as long as you can, with as much respect as you can.

Coming in September 2017: Building Trust, Respect and Inclusion in the Family Farm Business.