Self-Help: Keeping the Luster in Your Life – Earl Nightingale
Have you ever thought much about newness? You know, it’s the quality people talk about when they say, “A new broom sweeps clean,” or “Turn over a new leaf.” Well newness, like most things, has its good side and its bad, depending on how we look at it.
A person in a new job, for instance, may feel he’s at a disadvantage. He may be nervous, uncertain of just what he’s supposed to do and just how to do it.
Sometimes he’s bewildered by all that’s going on around him. Maybe he’s even a little scared. Even so, the person who’s new to a business has a unique advantage over some of the other more seasoned women or men in the company. His job has a sparkle about it, there’s a luster, a challenge in a new job that isn’t always present once that position becomes familiar.
Do you remember your first day at work? I do. I can remember the first time I sat down in front of a microphone as though it were yesterday, instead of a good many years ago. Even though it was a radio station so small they used an old walk-in refrigerator for a studio, to me it was one of the most exciting days of my life. I was scared and nervous, and I sounded like a man with his neck caught in a car door, but I was thrilled, too.
How about your job? Does it still hold the excitement it did that first day? It should and it can, but does it? One of the most common mistakes we make is to let the luster fade from our lives. As it does, we gradually lose our enthusiasm, and if we’re not careful we’ll settle down into a worn, tired groove of boring habits. We become like oxen yoked to a mill, going around in circles with our eyes fixed only on the worn path of our feet.
People who allow themselves to get in a rut usually don’t realize that a rut is little more than a grave with both ends knocked out. Now how can we stay out of this deadly rut? How can we keep our enthusiasm and maintain the luster in our lives instead of allowing it to fade with time and familiarity?
The answer lies in reminding ourselves of things we already know but sometimes tend to forget.
A Chicago executive once told me how he maintained the luster in his job, how he charged his batteries during the early days of his career. Whenever over-familiarity with his product and service, or the negativism of some of his prospects or associates began to undermine his enthusiasm for what he was selling, he’d simply make a service call on one of his best customers.
There he could reassure himself of the excellent results being realized through the use of his company’s products. Then my friend would head out again with renewed confidence in himself, in his ability to be of service, and in the benefits he could deliver to every new prospect.
You see, even though the everyday details of our work may seem old hat to us, we should remember that those we serve look forward eagerly to the product or service. A person may be indifferent about many things, but the things he spends his money on aren’t among them.
We shouldn’t be indifferent either, and we won’t be if we look at our product or service through the eyes of a happy customer.
People are on stage every day. Like the actors in a Broadway play, they’re sometimes required to say the same words and go through the same basic actions day after day and week after week. The professional actor learns his lines and movements, and then performs the part every day, often twice a day, for as long as the play will run. He can never allow himself to become bored with the role, any more than we can afford to become bored with our work. The actor knows his audience is a new one for every performance.
What he is doing isn’t boring to them.
What does the actor do to maintain enthusiasm, to keep excitement in his acting? He studies and works. He continues to improve his role. He lives his part, constantly refining his timing and movements, forever finding ways to put even greater meaning into the words he must say.
All of us are in the people business. Each day we have the opportunity to learn first hand one of life’s most valuable lessons: how to get along well with people, how to make friends of those with whom we work, and how to persuade them to decisions that will benefit both them and ourselves. Our success in most any type of activity will always be in exact ratio to our ability to influence people.
And the best way I know to influence people is to care enough, to know enough, to serve them well. Sometimes we lose sight of the value of our work and when we do, we lose the luster, not just from our work, but from our lives. So here are some more luster-restoring ideas you can use right now, and every day from now on.
One: Understand that anything, no matter how exciting in the beginning, will grow, not may grow, but will grow stale in time if we’re not careful.
Two: Keep in mind that fighting off staleness in our lives is a daily job.
There’s something you can, something you must do every day in order to keep vitality in your performance. It is simply the actor’s technique: live the part.
Three: Realize that there’s no such thing as a job without a future. Every job has a future just as every person has. Whether or not that future is great or small depends entirely upon the person holding it.
Four: See the big picture. See your work in relation to the whole scheme of things. Your work is important to those you serve. Your success will depend on how well you provide that service.
Five: Finally, keep developing your ability to see yourself, and your work, through the eyes of that most important person, the recipient. And remember, don’t ever lose the luster.
Be sure to visit Nightingale-Conant for more self-improvement recordings by Earl Nightingale and others.
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Also published on Medium.