Mr. Manners: Of Gratitude, EQ, And Journeys—How Manners Maketh You
As I continue to write about etiquette and manners, I get to be more mindful of others and myself. I have lived a peripatetic life, and it has brought me to so many places. I’ve met so many people, and at certain points, I’ve forgotten my true self.
I realized today, under this veneer of aloofness, I am just a little boy looking for approval and support. The path to being self-aware has brought me to this point in my writing journey. I think of what my parents would have said to me right now, and what path I should have taken.
Honestly, I am really quite a recluse, and very, very cloistered. Yes, I guess for those who have met me, I may appear different. And that difference is what I struggle with. The matter of self-identity.
What does that have to do with manners and civility? Well, everything! Rules are rules. They are written to present a sense of order in this loopy world of chaos. It helps us focus during a time when the attention span is but a nanosecond. It presents us with lessons learned throughout our lives.
I have been through my own right of passage. I have struggled with my own demons, and foisted myself ahead in my career. But, as I look at it, 30 years later, what do I have to show for it? It is beyond the material things. I think the journey has brought me to understanding the kindness of being.
Civility begins with gratitude. First, you need to thank yourself for what you have been able to achieve, and that the universe has conspired to work things for every individual.
The whole ethos of gratitude is always looking at every moment as something to be grateful for. Every day, every person struggles. I often hear people say “the struggle is real.” And it is, but if we looked at life with contentment, the day will always be well spent.
The whole point is not aiming for that picture-perfect Instragrammable moment. We don’t live in flat lay perfection, but we do have so much to be grateful for. In doing so, remember to always say “thank you” to everyone—the Uber driver, the janitor, the security guard—and do so with deep-felt humility. That will always make you a better individual.
Emotional intelligence is the crux of understanding people. In the span of three decades, I have learned that being intuitive is as important as being smart. I have known so many that have been top dog, but they fail at relating with others. Good leaders, I have learned, may not have all the answers, but they know how to motivate and understand people.
My own mentors, like Charo Santos-Concio, have shown me that authenticity is one of the key tenets of being a good leader. The skill of reading people comes only when you are true to yourself and your weaknesses. It comes with learning to listen. This way of thinking and living is how manners evolve. It’s about being ever present and ever kind.
Always remember to be calm and hopeful. While we may say we’re having a bad day, remember others may have it worse. The storm will always pass. So, be kind to others and learn to understand where they are coming from. Listen intently, and maintain eye contact. Be genuine. It comes from within.
With traveling being more accessible now than ever, our wanderlust brings us closer to learning about the world we live in. The Internet has exposed us to so many cultures, but there is nothing like experiencing them first-hand. The best teacher is experience. Be it a drive to Tagaytay or a long journey to Africa, getting exposed to so many people and cultures helps us center our values
You will be surprised that people are more alike than they are different. In doing so, we mold our own moral compass as we “see the world.” Travelling is a tactile and emotional experience, and with it comes our understanding of ourselves. Make it a point to understand how things work at the places you are visiting. Brush up on a few phrases. Don’t be a boorish tourist. Go with the flow. Be involved in the moment.
Manners remain the same, but the convention may evolve. As I continue to write, I will share the lessons I’ve learned from my ongoing journey, and the changing “rules” that make etiquette a way of which we should act.
Be grateful for today, keep listening, and enjoy the ride.