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The other day I was in the elevator at a major Boston hospital heading to the 16th floor.  The elevator was full of people; visitors carryi...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Give Yourself and Others a 20% Grace Factor.


grace (grs)
n.
1. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.
2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement.
3. A sense of fitness or propriety.
4. a. A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill.
b. Mercy; clemency.
5. A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence.


Let's face it. No one is ever going to get 100% of anything. Not from a purchase, not from your friends, not even from yourself. (Okay, maybe your dog.)

So since we know that this is a universal truth, we might as well give everyone a 20% grace factor.

In a rush? The guy behind the counter slow? Well, stop expecting him to give you 100% service; give him the 20% grace factor, take a deep breath and feel good about what you just did.

Did your husband get you some flowers for your birthday? Yes. Have you told him 700 times that you hate mums? Yes. Did he bring you mums? Yes. Instead of getting mad, pull out the 20% grace. After all, he did bring you flowers. And then go out tomorrow and buy yourself a big bunch of the ones you love.

Problem resolved. No one hurt. No bad feelings. And you feel great for what you did.

It really does work.

Now, I am not saying that you should turn away from someone ripping you off, or being mean, or whatever. But lets face it; most of our "problems" are minor annoyances that we give way too much attention to. They are not life or death scenarios. Like I would never give a surgeon a 20% grace factor. I may, however, allow that for his horrible bedside manner. But not his skill with the knife.

Look, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, no way. No one cuts me a break, so why should I them?

I feel the same way, too. But it just makes me feel bad to think that way. And when I do remember to give that extra 20%, I applaud myself. So much better than feeling bad. Or mad. It pulls me up a notch. And we can always use that.

I am surrounded by grace every time I work. So many people, who, facing serious trouble, are so full of grace. I figure, if they can do it at this time in their lives, then surely I do not need to give the finger to the driver who just cut me off. Maybe that driver needs the 20%. Maybe he is rushing to see a sick family member or had bad news today. The 20% reminds us to be human.

We probably cannot expect to apply this to everything. But if we can think about doing it at least once a day, or maybe even once a month at minimum, it may become a habit. A good habit.

And perhaps someone will give us the 20% grace factor when we don't deserve it. And we will be in admiration of that person all day long. I would just bet on it.

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