The Recipe for Success
Contains Etiquette

Friends Gathering Outdoors

Everyone wants to find a recipe for success.  For some it remains elusive.  For others, a source of confusion.  Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The most important ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”  If we adapt his philosophy, the answer is simple.  

This is what etiquette is all about: living well in the world with others.

Significance and Good Manners

Many teachers are taking “good manners” lessons off the shelves to add to their curriculum, as they realize kindness and sincerity have to be modeled, not only by them as teachers, but by the students they hope will lead successful and full lives in the future.  

A teacher-friend shared that her class has created a “catch them in kindness” board.  It offers students the opportunity to note another student’s act of kindness.  Building self-esteem and character are matters of self-significance, and success without the personal experienced knowledge of significance can be hollow.  

How we find the tipping point between personal success and significance depends on each individual, but bottom-line, it may be the point where you identify deeply felt satisfaction. Where what you’re doing has your mark on it and you know that its accomplishment was a gift to the world, however small, and therefore a gift to yourself. 

The etiquette-ful actions that graciously bring about the well-being of someone else in the moment surely add up as you discover and re-discover how important and desirable it is to get along with others.  As we successfully add value to ourselves and others in our worlds of work and home with jobs well-done, we catch glimpses of our significance.

Often the day-to-day adding of value occurs in the moments of interaction when we are mindful and respectful of other’s space and feelings.  Those little moments of impact on others’ lives are significant!

A Recipe for Success in Action

To be significant and to create self-significance, we must first have the ability to get along with others.  Using this in your recipe for success, as Mr. Roosevelt suggests, requires consistent etiquette-ful action.

No matter your daily lifestyle or routine, you are bound to encounter other people.  The ability to get along with them automatically makes everyone’s life easier while, at the same time, increasing your self-significance and building your recipe for success. 

10 etiquette-ful actions you might incorporate are: 

  • Acknowledging the positives in another’s point of view before sharing your own.
  • Noticing and commenting on what your spouse, partner, or friend does for your relationship.
  • Encourage other people by being authentically friendly and welcoming.
  • Admitting your errors to others quickly and cleanly; you learn the most from mistakes. 
  • Stop yourself when you are being negative and find one positive about the situation.  “Marie, I hear myself opposing this view, but the good thing about the view is that you are proposing it, so I will listen more closely.” 
  • Open the door for the person behind you, even though you got there first. 
  • Feel and show gratitude – even for little things.  Say “thank you” with sincerity.
  • When spending time with a group of people, be sure to include everyone in your conversation.
  • Listen closely and acknowledge what you hear.  Gaining understanding is more important than offering a clever response.
  • Embrace positivity.  Having a positive attitude draws other people to you.  

Considering etiquette-ful mindfulness in getting along with others, we shouldn’t forget an important kindness to ourselves—stepping aside from comparing our successes or significances with those of others.  

While each of us is searching for a recipe for success, we must also remember that the recipe is rarely duplicated.  It is as individual as we are.  Positivity, kindness, respect, and thoughtful gestures in general are perfect ingredients to use.  But what each of them looks like when put into action will vary from person to person.  

Your recipe for success is your own, just as your source of self-significance is your own. Embracing your individuality will help others embrace and appreciate it, too.  It will also help them appreciate themselves!

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