As I navigate daily life in Nigeria, and meet all sorts of people, I am more convinced than ever, that if we can treat others as we ourselves will wish to be treated, we will have a generally better quality of life. We will cheat the other person less or not at all, we will be more empathetic, we will give away what we don’t need, we will graduate from school and begin to earn a living faster because no one will compel anyone to remain in school if they didn’t need to, etc. etc. We may even truly have more money in our pockets!
In fact, a research from Rutgers University states that ‘’each 2% increase in the cheerfulness of an Organization’s employees leads to a 1% increase in profit. If you are a worker, the more money your Company makes, the more you will see it reflected in your pay check’’.
There are statistics showing that being nice does get you ahead in life. If you’d like to go further, do check out the book, ‘’The Power of Nice: How to conquer the Business World with Kindness’’ by Linda Kaplan Thaler.
So, back to the earlier question. Yes, Japanese are considered by most standards, as being the most polite people on Planet Earth. This is achievable because in Japan, the goal of the first three years of school, i.e. from ages 6-10, is NOT just the Child’s knowledge or learning, but to establish good manners and develop their Character. Yup! Manners before knowledge!
What then can we learn from Japanese Hospitality?
The term omotenashi, is often translated as “Japanese hospitality”. In practice, it combines exquisite politeness with a desire to maintain harmony and avoid conflict. .” Therefore, being polite goes beyond just saying excuse me or thank you or holding the door open for someone.
In fact, the word omotenashi, literally “spirit of service”, comes from the ‘’Tea ceremony’’. The Tea-ceremony Host works hard to prepare the right atmosphere in which to entertain Guests, choosing the most appropriate bowls, flowers and decoration without expecting anything in return. The Guests, conscious of the Host’s efforts, respond by showing an almost reverential gratitude. Both parties thus create an environment of harmony and respect, rooted in the belief that public good comes before private need. Sounds good and doable, right?
In Japan, it is commonplace to see Random acts of kindness. People would do things for you and help you out without expecting ANYTHING in return.
In Japan, a man about to begin construction, no matter how little, would first present beautifully gift-wrapped cleaning and washing materials to his neighbour, lest the dirt and dust from his property gets to his neighbour’s space.
The wonderful thing about being exposed to so much politeness is that it is as contagious as measles. You soon find yourself acting more kindly and gently, not cheating people off their cut in a business deal, handing in lost phones to the police, smiling as you give way to other drivers on the roads, greeting others joyfully as you enter the lift and you responding cheerfully to the greeter, celebrating other peoples’ accomplishments and good fortune, taking your litter home with you rather than throw it out of the car window, and never ever raising your voice (or blowing your nose) in public.
Wouldn’t it be great if each of us learned a little bit of omotenashi and spread it around?
So, do the right thing. If you’ve learned something, then Like this Article and older ones, Like my Page (Hey! What exactly are you waiting for to Like the Manners and Grace FB Page? The request has long been sent to you. Look for it. All it takes is a click. LOL), invite your friends to Like my Page and please Share.
The ripple effect will sweep the world, guaranteed!