Hello-hello, friends. The Princess Consort here striding mikeside while The Princess spends quality time in the dentist’s chair. When I last saw her she was muttering under her breath about a crown. How fitting. I don’t envy the fair Princess today.
While marking the passing of some great people these past few weeks I got to thinking about what I’ve learned in my life. We all learn at our own pace and are formed by our experiences. Here are some of my favorites:
1. In the Big World not everyone gets a ribbon. Seems pretty simple but some people don’t seem to understand that you have to do more than just show up in life. You’re not in second grade all your life. There will be days when you will lose. Be gracious on those days; learn from the experience and do better next time.
2. Be a gentleman. I can’t speak to being a gentlewoman but I’m sure there are similarities. Act and dress intentionally. If you have any questions about being a gentleman consider spending a little cash and picking up this book when it hits the shelves in a couple of days.
There are any number of excellent guides, including Gentleman’s Quarterly magazine. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed the rules published each month in Esquire magazine. The magazine has also put together a compilation book that is well worth reading. You’ll laugh, cringe and learn.
3. Treat all people as you’d like to be treated. Hold it a second – isn’t this the Golden Rule? How often do we snap at someone in a service position? Or treat them off-handedly? Anyone who has ever worked in a service or sales position knows exactly what I’m talking about here. I remember when I was just a young Consort my parents took me to my first “Grown-up” dining experience. They had reminded me beforehand to be polite to the people who would be bringing us our food and drink. Mr and Mrs Consort also reminded me to eat and drink everything I was served. After I drank about five glasses of water they realized the waitperson would fill my water glass and I would drink it down in an effort to be polite. They gently explained that if I didn’t want any more water I could just say “No, thank you”. I could say “No” but I had to add “Thank You”. That lesson stayed with me. Being polite will take you further and pay more dividends than you might realize.
4. Money is being printed every single day. You cannot have it all. If you are money motivated you will eventually become frustrated because enough is never enough. When I was managing people the largest struggle was with pay scales. I would hear complaints that “I’m not being paid what I’m worth”. I would ask the complainer what they decided they were worth and how they came up with that figure. That would lead to some interesting discussions, often including the classic line “I’d work harder if I were paid more”. People still ask if I miss managing a large staff. Gosh, I don’t know. What do you think?
5. Celebrate life’s little victories. Every single day things will happen to you, both good and bad. Shrug off the bad as best you are able. Hold the good times close in your mind. You will find that more good is happening to you than bad. That doesn’t mean you have to become a Pollyanna; this is a tough world in which we live. What I’m saying is that being a positive person will attract similar people. They will surround you and support you. Your setbacks (and there will be plenty) won’t seem quite so monstrous. Quick example: The United Way where The Princess and I used to live raised an enormous amount of donations this year despite a 15% unemployment rate and the overall dismal economy. The donations were overwhelmingly pledging gifts of $20, $10, $5, even $2 a week. People doing good even though their personal resources were strained. That positive attitude, that willingness to share, is more prevalent than you might hear. Life’s little victories add up.
Enough of my introspection. What lessons have you learned in your life experiences? Leave a comment and share with us. After all, we’re friends here.
Now I have to get to the warehouse and pack some boxes. You’ve been great today and I appreciate your careful attention and willingness to humor the lunatic fringe. The Princess will return tomorrow with news of some great bargains she has found.
As always, I remind you that we have a two-drink minimum today and don’t forget to try the veal. Take care of your waitperson, they’re working hard for you tonight. Now relax and enjoy a little musical number by a young guy with a lot of talent… some fellow from New Jersey named Bruce.