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You Got To Accentuate the Positive

I love this story.

It reminds me of two times in my life.  Well, that is to say, it reminds me of one story about my life and another I do remember.

Family lore has it that once, when I was a toddler, my parents tried to take me with them out to dinner.  Apparently, I was so fussy my parents ended up taking me out to the car rather than cause a ruckus in the dining room.  The story has it that a gentleman at the next table offered to pay for my parents meal as a reward for being good parents and not putting the rest of the guests through a miserable evening.

The event I do remember, because of the mother’s reaction, was one time I was out to brunch and was headed into the men’s room, when two young boys, maybe 10 – 12, followed me in.  As we all left together, I followed them to their table and asked the woman seated there if they were her children.  She looked terrified and said, “Yes?” I told her what polite gentlemen they were, how well behaved they were, and how they’d washed their hands and put the paper towel in the wastebasket.  Their mother sighed relief and thanked me.  I had, accidently, frightened her by coming up to her, but she truly appreciated hearing that what she’d taught the boys had stuck.

I’ve always believed in rewarding the positive.  If you see behavior you like, say something, and more than likely it will be repeated.  This is a habit that can be used in business and your personal life.

It’s always a good idea to speak up in a respectful way, whether good or bad.  If you’re speaking up about bad behavior, you can change things; if you’re speaking up about something good, you positively reinforce doing that good again.

– Russell

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