The words that have a magical spell

The words that have a magical spell

I very well remember that my brother-in-Law Dr A V Manohar Rao, a pediatrician, on his return from United Kingdom way back in 1975, after staying four years there, telling me about his elder brother and friends’ advice to him the next minute he landed at London Airport.

I very well remember that my brother-in-Law Dr A V Manohar Rao, a pediatrician, on his return from United Kingdom way back in 1975, after staying four years there, telling me about his elder brother and friends’ advice to him the next minute he landed at London Airport. They said that in UK one should invariably start conversation with the word ‘Please’ and end with ‘Thank You.’ He scrupulously remembered this, and at least 50 times a day did it. Right from the cab driver to the steward at restaurant, hospital supporting staff etc., saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ was his routine. 50 years after he left UK, in India, too, he does it.

Expressing gratefulness is part of Indian culture, too, from time immemorial. The ‘Dhanyavaad,’ a more formal way of ‘Thank You’ and used to connote an extra special feeling of gratitude, such as receiving ‘benefit’ or ‘help’ as well as when speaking to an elder or an authority figure, has been an accepted Indian tradition. ‘Namaste’ is the ‘Traditional Indian Greeting’ by way of slight bow or a hand gesture where the palms are pressed together in front of the chest. Whether the Indian way or the foreign way, not only this politeness, but other etiquettes are seldom adhered to by many these days. For some expressing ‘Thanks’ is an odd thing and below prestige. They ‘Rarely Remember the Help,’ and feel it as ‘Birth Right.’

The ‘Building Blocks’ of proper etiquette and good manners comprise four magic words. They are, ‘Please, Thank you, You are Welcome, and I am Sorry.’ If these words and phrases are imparted to children at an early age, they then continue to use them throughout their life. They would realise that by using ‘Thank You, Please, and Sorry’ it helps to ‘Build Relationships of Trust and Understanding.’ They will also understand that the power of these words helps people feel valued and respected.

Among these, the most important one, ‘Thank You’ itself is not just enough to show the beneficiary’s appreciation fully. It adds emphasis by saying, ‘I could not have done it without you, Thanks for having my back, Thanks for looking out for me, I owe you, Thanks for being such Amazing Person, This means a lot to me’ etc. Saying ‘Thank You’ shall boost morale, and create a positive atmosphere. It improves one’s own well-being, as gratitude is linked to happiness and life satisfaction. The other positive benefit of ‘Thank You’ is in the ‘Law of Reciprocity.’ When people hear ‘Thank you,’ the first thing they want to do in return, is to reciprocate and say ‘Thank You’ back. The reason is, intrinsic in everyone, is the ‘Law of Reciprocity’ that is, when someone does something, the recipient, feeling obligated to reciprocate. This too is absent in today’s scenario in general and particularly in politicians.

The word ‘Please’ entered English language in the early 13thcentury from Old French ‘Plaisir' meaning ‘To give pleasure or satisfy.’ In the 14thcentury the meaning changed ‘To Delight’ and again in the 15thcentury the meaning became ‘To be Pleased.’ Frequently saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ began to take hold during the ‘Commercial Revolution’ of the 16thand the 17thcenturies, in late Middle Ages in Europe, among middle classes.

‘Please and Thank You’ are expressions of appreciation, gratitude, politeness, and recognition for someone's efforts or kindness. They are often used in conversation to demonstrate respect for the person being addressed. They are needed for ‘Good Manners’ in every communication. In a professional setting, though they may seem like simple and small gestures, they hold immense value, besides having a huge impact on the overall satisfaction of guests as well as professionalism.

‘Please’ is a sign of respect and is used while making a request. Derived from the phrase ‘If You Please’ or ‘If it please(s) you,’ the term has taken on a significant gradation based on its pitch and the relationship between the persons between whom it is used. But one should remember that, ‘Please and

Thank you’ means that someone is asking someone for a favor, and in anticipation of ‘that it is likely to be done,’ thanking in advance for their help is the minimum courtesy. At least thanking after the favour is least obligation! In the absence of this etiquette, it is but natural that it may seem rude to the person who did favor.

An interesting book ‘The Berenstain Bears Say Please and Thank You’ by Jan and Mike Berenstain illustrates a clear message in it. The message is: ‘If the Berenstain Bears can do it, your kids can too! The Berenstain Bears know that it is always best to be polite. Another great book ‘365 Thank Yous’ describes how a man wrote a ‘Thank You Card’ every day for a year and how it completely turned his life around. It is worth trying and emulating at least by politicians.

Similarly, according to Oliver Young, in his article 'The Power in Thank You, Please and Sorry,’ sincerity implicitly and profoundly understood. The power of these phrases will only be evident if they are said with sincerity and with real intent. When the sincerity is real, possibilities of greater ability to connect with persons around, build better teams, and create longer, more fulfilling relationships are better.

According to Rhonda Scharf, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ are simple words, and yet it seems that most people do not use them enough. Basic etiquette is often missing in society, in both personal lives as well as professional ones! Gratitude is the ability to see value in others. When gratitude is received from someone, it is highly valued, and appreciated. It brings joy and connection.

It is the bad habit of many, who often fail to express their gratitude for others, and surprisingly on the pretext of ‘Convenient Forgetting’ that comes ‘Handy’ to such people. Gratitude is the feeling that allows everyone to be perceptive of others and the good they bring into one’s life. One of the best ways to spread ‘Gratitude’ is identify people (not many!) speaking ‘Good and Positively Behind Other’s Backs’ which is opposite of gossip, to consciously encourageand support him or her. There is great power in saying ‘I am sorry.’ A sincere apology is the ability to effectively empathize with someone. Apologizing allows everyone to change the direction of a relationship and it says with certainty that the person cares about the other person. ‘Sorry’ is often seen under the light of weakness or defeat which is incorrect. The ability to sincerely apologize shows empathy, seeing other’s points of view, and reflecting on situations.

These are all ‘Important Traits of a Leader’ too. Expressing an apology does not mean wrong is done, or victory to others. The most powerful part of an apology is the ability for people to feel that one cares more about his or her relationship with others, than the current situation being faced together. When one says, ‘I am sorry,’ he or she is effectively saying that they care about this relationship.

Witnessing a large number of politicians ‘Day in and Day out’ defecting from one party to other, after enjoying power, and harshly

blaming the leader of former party, for their ‘Unethical Act’ is the most ‘Thankless Job’ and ‘Peak of ‘Ungratefulness.’ Neglecting small things, leading to developing poor habits,

by not saying, ‘Please and Thank you,’ may cost a lot in one’s life. Hence, let us remember the “Magic Words: Please, Thank you, You are welcome and I am sorry.”

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