Optical Retail Success 174
Tasty nuggets of random goodness; tips, stories, and science hand-picked to help you find the most success in your life and optical retail business/career.
Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?
—Henry David Thoreau
Investing in Kindness
Guy Raz, host of the podcast, How I Built This when asked by Jimmy Fallon for the one piece of advice he could give to aspiring entrepreneurs that he’s learned from all the amazing people he’s interviewed:
What I told Jimmy, the people assembled in Studio 6B, and the viewers at home across the country was to be kind; that kind leaders have kind companies; that kindness is a powerful tool; that kindness is free—it costs nothing!—and that the return on investment for kindness is bigger than that for any financial investment an entrepreneur can make.
Fundamentally, I don’t believe a company can stand the test of time if people will not stand for the company. And I find one of the most reliable ways the vast majority of entrepreneurs inspire people to do that is with kindness. I don’t know any other way to put it. So many of them are just kind! They treat their people well. They do the little things and the big things. They pay their success forward. And with rare exceptions, they are also highly ethical. They act with an integrity that seems to come from a place of deep morality.
Investments in integrity and kindness are without a doubt two things we could use more of these days.
Or perhaps, more importantly we should be investing in empathy. In which case the integrity and kindness come along for free.
I am about to get more political than usual. Don’t worry, I promise not to tell you who you should vote for. Nonetheless, I believe these ideas are vital to our future, our success, our happiness, maybe even our survival, no matter which “side” you profess to belong to.
I was recently asked, “If you could teach everyone in the world one concept, what concept do you believe would most positively impact humanity?” My answer, as you might have guessed was, “empathy”, which is the idea behind the Thoreau quote above.
As difficult as it may be to get our heads around, with very few exceptions, everyone (you, me, the woman down the street with your least favorite candidate’s sign in her yard) all believe we are doing the right thing and making the right decisions. All we have to do is open our ears and listen, really listen, (to people not the talking heads) to understand this to be true.
I, like you no doubt, have some strongly held political beliefs. Although, I try very hard not to hold mine too tightly. I recognize my ideas have changed over time and I still expect them to change in the future, so clearly I haven’t always been right and could very well be wrong today. But, the reality is almost certainly, that if we had the same upbringing, the same friends, the same experiences as “the other guy”, we would have the same beliefs. And if we had the same beliefs, we would not only make the same choices, but we would believe those choices were right and good.
All of our thinking—what we believe to be right, or rational, or moral—is colored by our own biases, experiences, and even genetics. The more can we remind ourselves of this, the closer we can get to Thoreau’s idea of a miracle.
What’s more, each of us is far greater than the little boxes our media, politicians, and social media buddies try to shove us into. Once we discover that we don’t have to conform to narrow ideologies, that we can actually talk to each other, that we’re all just humans trying to do what is right for ourselves and our families, that we can evaluate ideas based on their merit rather than where they came from, we will be able to see the man behind the curtain for what he is—a peddler of fear, division and ultimately hate.
What would happen if you were to talk to the guy with the Confederate flag on his truck, or the woman with Wicca, LGBTQ and Green Party bumper stickers, or the kid in the BLM shirt, or the open-carrying couple wearing MAGA hats? What if you were to talk to them before you knew about their affiliations? You wouldn’t see them as the enemy. You’d see them just as people and probably good people at that. Yet, our instinct is to be infuriated by their beliefs and immediately make assumptions about the kind of people they are. That’s because we’re being manipulated and conditioned. More anger and more fear means more clicks and more votes, which equals more money and more power. Instead, of looking for what divides us we should be looking for what unites us and learning from people like Daryl Davis, a black man who has spent much of his life befriending Klan members.
For some reason, I am reminded of two things:
Apple’s “1984” ad. Although, I’m not so sure the Macintosh can save us.
And if you are old enough to remember living through the Cold War, how the media and politicians dehumanized the Russians and kept us in a continual state of fear, prompting songs like Sting’s, I Hope The Russians Love Their Children Too. Now, the same thing is happening within our own borders. and instead of dehumanizing people across the globe, we’re dehumanizing each other.
Yes, at some point, we all have to make decisions about what we believe is right and wrong, but let’s keep reminding ourselves, that’s exactly what “the other guy” is trying to do as well; that they do, in fact, love their children too.
Last week I wrote about improving our abilities to be more human, more helpful, and more empathetic as a way to succeed and bring value when more and more of our work is done by algorithms and AIs.
It turns out AIs aren’t the only thing we have to learn to live with. We still have to learn how to live with each other.
OpticianWorks Video of the Week: Suns, Socks & Sandals
Through the OpticianWorks free videos, Laramy-K Optical is making every effort to provide better and more accessible (and yes, even free) education for opticians everywhere, but we’re only able to do it with your support.
You can help keep it going in two ways:
Become a paid-member of OpticianWorks.com for access to the best in online optician training (The videos are only a small portion).
Or, even better, open a Laramy-K Optical lab account for the very best in independent lab work and we'll throw in the OpticianWorks memberships for your entire staff for free! Your customers and your staff will thank you!
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Until next time, stay safe, be strong, and don’t forget to love one another.