The very first time I learned what would become QUALITIES OF SUCCESS, my mind was blown! When I first learned them, they were packaged for Martial Arts as “Qualities of a Black Belt”, and it seemed like every possible aspect of my life was covered. I asked my instructor at the time, and he confirmed that without possessing each quality, I would never be a Black Belt. I might eventually wear a black belt, but there was a subtle distinction that I didn’t miss out on. Almost all of the traits resonated with me, and they made sense to varying degrees, but I questioned the placement of COURTESY at the time. After all, we all knew stories of Black Belts that were anything but courteous.
When I decided to write about the Qualities of Success, I briefly considered omitting courtesy from the list. Once again, there is no shortage of stories that talk about successful people who are clearly not courteous. Some names that come to mind: DONALD TRUMP, LEONA HELMSLEY, MORTON DOWNEY JR. , and a few others. So, if you can be a success while not being courteous, does courtesy still belong on the list? My answer is resoundingly YES!
Much like the whole black belt vs. Black Belt concept, just having money is not necessarily enough to qualify someone as a success. The people on that list absolutely have money. No question that they have monetary wealth, but are any of them really successes? I think not in some ways. Each of them had multiple marriages, each of them faced professional failure, and they probably have all alienated many friends and loved ones over the years. So to recap: money, yes—success, eh?
So when you are at work, why do you need to be courteous? Simply because most people spend at least one-third of their lives at work! Being courteous is one of those things that have a habit of coming back to you, only magnified. Doing the simple things, things like saying “Good Morning” or opening the door for someone, or even holding the elevator for someone who just isn’t as fast as you are, will go a long way.
The payoff may not be obvious right away. You might go years without noticing anything happening, but you also may be looked at by your boss as someone who cares about the place you work enough to be trusted with more responsibility and (hopefully) more money. You may hold the door for someone who will be able to offer you a better job for more money. I don’t think you should be looking for either of those circumstances; I think that courtesy done in the hopes of being rewarded somehow isn’t really courtesy. That usually becomes sucking up, and nobody likes a suck-up!