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Two simple questions that will make the world a better place

There is one simple aspect of humanity that is often overlooked but could hold the key in ending all of our frustrations, regardless of our social-economic background or level of education.


This is the civility or courtesy that we show to one another. Unfortunately we live in a world where “I” is king and this unfortunately leads to conflict, frustration and, quite often, lots of swearing.


Too many of us are so focused on our own lives that we fail to recognise the small things we do which negatively impact other people and cause them stress. I’m sure that many of us don’t do this on purpose (though there are unfortunately people out there who do). What is missing is a
method for reminding us of how powerful we can be in causing stress for others. There is one extremely simple method that only requires you to ask yourself two easy questions:

  1. How will my actions impact other people?
  2. How would I feel if I was that person?

For example:

If I change car lanes suddenly without indication then the person I pull in front of will have to brake sharply. If that was me I would at first be scared of hitting the car that pulled in front of me, then I would beangry with that person for nearly causing an accident and endangering the lives of my passengers and I.


Now with these two questions answered you will feel more inclined to alter your action so that it doesn’t have a negative impact.


I will wait for a suitable gap in traffic and then indicate before changing lanes. Once I have changed lanes I will accelerate to match the speed of the traffic in the lane so as not to force any cars to brake. I will also acknowledge the car behind if they created a gap to allow me to change lanes safely.


Another very simple example is if somebody holds the door open for you somewhere:

If I do not say “thank you” to the person then they may feel offended. It that person was me I would be quite angry at the ingratitude shown to me, I am not paid to hold doors open for people so why is it hard for people to simply say “thank you”?


However if somebody did say “thank you” to me I would feel pretty good about myself because I have done something positive and have been acknowledged for it. Therefore I should also say “thank you” to people to make them feel good.


It’s not rocket science by any means, but people often overlook it. Largely because they do not take the time to consider how they would feel if it happened to them. Once people start thinking about this then they are more likely to alter their behaviours accordingly. So next time you see somebody doing something uncivilised, rude or stupid just ask them these two simple questions.

  1. What impact are your actions having on others?
  2. How would you feel if you were one of those other people?

If we all did this a large amount of stress and frustration would be removed from the world, and that can only be a good thing.


This article originally appeared in my old blog on 14 August 2014.

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