Be Extraordinary: Keep it positive!

I love fruitcake.  Like everything else, fruitcake has people who love it and people who do not.  Nearly two million fruitcakes are sold each year.  I doubt that many people eat an entire fruitcake, since most fruitcakes have a very dense texture and are about a foot in diameter and four inches high less that plug missing in the middle.  However, I think that given a week, I could eat an entire fruitcake.  The best fruitcake I have ever had comes from the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, TX.

I read an article online the other day that was very critical of fruitcakes.  Fruitcakes seem to have a public polarity rarely seen outside of politics.  There are folks who love fruitcakes and folks who hate fruitcakes and as in politics, there are those folks in the middle.  Also, as in politics, I’d prefer not to be in the room when the two polarized sides start discussing the subject of fruitcakes.  I feel somewhat hypocritical about for mentioning the subject in an article about being positive.

The person who wrote the critical article used all the qualities of a fruitcake to draw negatives about how not to write an business letter.  I enjoyed the article and found the person’s approach a little different.  Instead of a “how-to” manual, the person had written a “how-not-to” manual and had a pretty fierce  attitude on the subject of fruitcakes and poorly written business letters.

During Procter & Gamble sales training, I studied how to emphasize the benefits of the product I was selling.  Keep my message positive.  The words I choose not only affect a person’s feelings, they affect a person’s decision.  “Sell the sizzle.”

On another website,  I came across an Internet endorsement the president of a company had written about the services his company had received.  He was thoughtful to take the time to write the endorsement.

From what I read, I would say that the services of the company he endorsed were exceedingly fair in pricing, and in my estimation, were far above industry standards in performance.  The company being endorsed deserved the endorsement.

The president writing the endorsement went on to draw a negative contrast of  competitive services.  Oops:  his endorsement that had begun with such a positive spin ended in a negative ripple that I am guessing could reach clients of his own company.

Reading this person’s endorsement reminded me just how slippery the Internet can be for all of us.

Today, people who would never bother to write a postcard are prolific web writers on Twitter© and Facebook©.  Hundreds of millions of people with no training in journalism are publishing material that has the potential to reach people all over the world.   Moreover, through emails and Internet reposting and linking, Internet material never really goes out of publication. There is an article from BusinessWeek©, 2004, which I reference on my website today.

It does me no good to dwell on the negative things that come across a social network or at times a commercial website.  We all make mistakes.  My getting angry or resentful only causes me pain.  I also recognize that I can easily misunderstand what a person is saying.

My goodness, though, this Internet publishing is a risky deal and here and there has caused embarrassment and even the loss of jobs (Mashable).

The best boss I ever had was a Navy captain who retired as the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.  As the commanding officer of a United States Ship, he had the  responsibility of handing out sentences of fines and brig confinements, and he could be hard as nails when his job called for him to write a letter of reprimand.

At the same time, he had the best attitude of any human being I have ever known.

One day while serving under this Captain, I made a comment about a woman being attractive but having a somewhat large nose.  His response was, in a very gentle tone, “When speaking of others, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

This advice is handy advice when speaking or writing on the Internet.

I want to be extraordinary today by keeping it positive and try to remember that when I point at another person for things they say or do there are three fingers pointing back at me.

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