As a motivational keynote speaker, I love sharing stories with my audiences about how I learn things. And I'd like to share one with you about the time I experienced first hand how to turn someone who is angry – into someone nice, very quickly.
I was driving in the fast moving left lane of a four lane road in a rather busy section of town. My friend Kathy was with me and we were having a great time talking as we rode along when suddently, the man in the lane to my right started drifting into my lane. At first I thought he would just drift back, but instead he encroached further into my path. I hit the horn to alert him to what he was doing, but to my chagrin, my horn didn't work. I started moving further left toward the oncoming traffic lane. He kept coming toward me. Just about the time I was starting to drive up on the median, he noticed what he'd done and swerved hastily back into his lane.
My heart was in my throat. I was livid! How could he be so stupid? I couldn't wait until we got to the first red light so that I could tell him exactly what I thought of him!
As luck would have it, the very next light was red. As I started to slow down, I noticed that he was lowering his driver side window. I couldn't believe it! Was he going to tell me that I had done something wrong? Could he possibly be that idiotic? I was ready for a fight!
I started remotely lowering Kathy's passenger side window. She looked like she wanted to jump in the back seat and started pleading, "Oh Linda, you don't want to do something stupid here, right?" I totally ignored her.
Just about that time we arrived at the light. Both our windows were down. I was glaring at him for all I was worth, waiting to see what he would say.
He took a deep breath, and with the utmost respect said, "I am so very, very sorry."
Huh? He was sorry? I felt like someone popped my balloon. All that anger just deflated. Why did he have to be so NICE, for crying out loud! I couldn't be mad at him if he was so darned NICE!
This happened along time ago, but the lesson stays with me. If we want more nice people in our lives, then we must be nice first. And the graduate level verson of this message includes the following:
We must be nice first –
even when it would be
most justifiable to be otherwise.
Ah yes. Not easy, but extremely effective.