It has been said, if you expect perfection from people, your whole
life will be a series of disappointments, grumblings and complaints. Be
kind. Remember everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
the contrary, you pitch your expectations low, taking folks as the
inefficient creatures which they are, you are frequently surprised by
having them perform better than you had hoped.
Here’s a short
story about teamwork taken from a 1977 issue of Bits & Pieces.
During a hike in the woods a troop of boy scouts came across an
abandoned section of railroad track. Each, in turn, tried walking the
rails but eventually lost his balance and tumbled off.
two of the boys, after considerable whispering, and displaying their
scout training, offered to bet that they could both walk the entire
length of the track without falling off. Challenged to make good their
boast, the two boys jumped up on opposite rails, extended a hand to
balance each other, and walked the entire section of track with no
There, in a nutshell, is the principle of
modern business and community living. The day of the hermit and the lone
wolf are gone forever. We do things better, we produce more, and we
live better by helping each other.
The fellow who lends a helping
hand benefits himself at the same time as he helps the other fellow. The
reverse is also true. When we don’t help each other, when we don’t
cooperate, the whole system starts to rattle and shake.
work or at a community event, when people help each other, freely and
voluntarily, there’s a spirit of teamwork that makes a project or event
really go. The result is often a rousing success to be celebrated by
Dog lovers will appreciate this story found
in The Rotarian magazine. A man answered his doorbell and a friend
walked in, followed by a big, shaggy dog. As they sat talking, the dog
bumped into an end-table, sending a lamp crashing to he floor.
the dog chewed on an expensive oriental carpet. Restlessly he roamed
through the house, his route marked by crashes and tinkling glass.
Finally, he jumped upon the sofa with muddy feet, and curled up for a
The homeowner, outraged at last, burst out, “You are a dear
friend, but if you can’t train your dog better than that, leave him at
“My dog!” exclaimed the surprised friend, “I thought it was your dog.”
person’s self-esteem can be very fragile. Many years ago, Robert
Skogland of St. George, Maine, known as The Humble Farmer, wrote this
telling story about his neighbor Mark who seemed to have everything: a
wife, three kids and a successful business.
No man in town could
come close to him when it came to providing for his family. Mark and his
crew of woodcutters were at work at daybreak. During the day, Mark
would deliver several truckloads of green firewood to customers and
drive away with his pocket stuffed with money.
Bob said he
complimented Mark for his industry one Sunday morning as he watched him
change the oil in his log skidder. “How do you work so hard?” Bob asked.
“What keeps you going?”
“I have to work hard,” Mark confessed. “I
have to prove I’m as good as anyone else. I have this feeling that
other people can do things better than I can. I guess I work hard just
to get praise from my wife and friends. I have to please them before I
can feel good about myself.”
“Your problem is low self-esteem,” Bob told him. “Most men who work hard are very insecure.”
had to admit. “No matter how much I earn I don’t feel any better. I
live with a constant fear of failure and rejection.” With that, Bob
loaned Mark a book that told how people can achieve personal happiness
Mark did his homework and soon built a new life
of self-esteem. His feelings of inferiority and inadequacy melted away
and were replaced by a new sense of his importance, power and
No longer afraid to let people see his Real Self, Mark
stayed home and watched soap operas and game shows. His crew worked
alone until the machinery broke down because they forgot to oil and
Mark had a new-found confidence and he felt no need to
defend his actions. His business failed and he cheerfully applied for
welfare and unemployment benefits. His wife had to walk to the Goodwill
Store to rummage for winter clothing.
“I finally feel good about
myself,” Mark confessed. “Reading that book on self-esteem was the most
rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I’ve got a whole new viewpoint on life
and I’m equipped to enjoy it.”
As Mark leaned back in a worn stuffed chair he smiled as he reflected.
mastered self-discipline and have learned how to let go. Now no one in
town has the power to put me down.” he said. “Since I’ve taken total
responsibility for myself, I’ve been able to create the worry-free life I