A little thankfulness goes a long way
After a 6 hour of doing the flying sardine can experience from Miami to San Francisco, we finally arrive. Nice day and not one cloud in the sky; I hate cloudy landings. The plane pulls in to the tarmac and comes to a stop. Passengers seemed irritated as they hurriedly picked up their bags and marched towards the exit trampling others trying to get out as quickly as possible.
I waited patiently for my turn because I’m so nice. On my way towards the front of the plane I see the captain standing by the cockpit door; a tall and serious man with as many flight hours as wrinkles on his face. He looked at each exiting passenger saying something along the lines of “Have a nice day”. Passengers barely acknowledge as they hurry out the door. I don’t know what possessed me but without thinking I said – “Thank you so much for flying this machine safely, I appreciate your knowledge; I certainly could not do it myself. I feel very happy to have arrived here in one piece. Thank you so much for your knowledge and experience.”
The business like facade of the captain melted away as he seem to instantly turn into an old friend. I could see the appreciation in his eyes after a simple and spontaneous acknowledgment. I was surprised too, because it came out of my mouth without thinking – it just flowed out. I fell like I can complement others sincerely, when I finally pay attention to what others do for me.
We tend to take our modern living for granted. We go on using our services, buying things online and relying on others for everything. But we usually never give much thought to how much love and dedication went into creating and maintaining our civilized living. But this appreciation thing is even more complex.
People that came before us built the world we enjoy. Knowledge and discoveries have been passed down from generation to generation. And because of that we’re surrounded by a wealth of knowledge and skills.
People learn their professions and provide us with amazing products and services. Factory workers produce our gadgets overseas; we don’t know them, but someone out there is doing the work so we can enjoy our Christmas gifts. If we think a little deeper, everything we enjoy are gifts of humanity.
We work for a paycheck day in and day out as a routine, and at times we forget that we’re proud of what we do. Even though it is all just business as usual, we appreciate immensely when someone notices what we do.
Our working routine has two sides: one side is just a daily routine in pursuit of a paycheck. We just want to do our job get out. We don’t think of what we do in terms of adding a benefit to others.
But on the other side of things, we think of what we do quite a lot. We want to be the best and we have a desire to contribute to others, even though it isn’t always on the forefront of our attention. We know that to be true when someone come to us with a complement. Our boredom at work can be transformed in joy as we focus on helping others.
This is very noticeable in nursing. When a patient goes through a hard time, they are often brought into an appreciation space. They look at the nurse with a sincerity of heart and say how much they appreciate you being there. They mean every word they say. Patients are in a way forced to see what others do for them, in a very real and scary way.
Those are perhaps the best moments of our professional lives. No pay check could come close to the satisfaction a little recognition can bring. On the other hand we notice and miss when someone doesn’t appreciate our work and just feels entitled to what they paid for.
It is pretty amazing how you can turn dull moments into the most joyful ones, by just appreciating other people’s work; specially when our comments are sincere.
We dedicate hours of labor in order to do our jobs well. We do it for money but money alone would not keep our focus for too long. We chose our professions because it is something that speaks to us. Our daily activities are for others – in essence we live to serve. So when someone pays attention to what we do, it is the ultimate validation for our own working existence and there is nothing more fulfilling than that.
The truth of this statement is easy to test: just ask someone to tell you what they do at work and watch how their faces light up like a Christmas tree; they become very interested in telling you every detail of what and how they do.
Some people say when receiving recognition is better than money. Spiritual fulfillment goes way further than cash. I think what makes us joyous is to be acknowledged and to know we are useful.
I noticed that in the captain’s smile when I told him I was thankful to be alive and his contribution and dedication in those 6 hours in the air made a difference.
Image credit: flickr.com