I have a very simple message for you today. Here it is: if you don’t like how people treat you, you should probably check how you treat people.

That’s it.

If you’re still wondering what I’m driving at, let me tell you a story. 

A baker had been buying a kilo of butter from a farmer every day for many months. One day, he decided to weigh his purchase. That was when he realised that the butter he had been buying all this time was not quite up to the kilo he had been paying for. He was furious. He dragged the farmer to court. 

The judge was outraged. “Mr Farmer, don’t you have a measure for your butter?” 

“No my Lord, I just have some balancing scales”, replied the Farmer. 

“So how could you tell whether or not you were selling a kilo to the baker?” the Judge asked in irritation. 

The farmer spread his hands and said, “Well my Lord, everyday, I buy a kilo loaf of bread from the baker. I put it on my scale and give him the same weight in butter”. 

This story came to mind because a friend of mine, who I sometimes meet with for lunch, commented on how waiters and waitresses often seem to treat me extra nice. I said, perhaps it’s because I’m nice to them. I look them in the eye when I talk to them, I smile and ask them their names before I order. I say please, and thank you, just like my mother taught me. I don’t say “I want” this, or “give me” that. I don’t embarrass them when they make mistakes. I thank them for their service, and I leave a tip. 

I treat a waiter with the same dignity and respect I would give to a minister of state, because dignity is not the sole right of the privileged in society. Most importantly though, I treat people the way they wish to be treated, so that people will treat me the way I wish to be treated too.

I don’t know who is treating you badly, my dear friends, but do you know who YOU are treating badly? 

When a shop assistant is rude to you, do you wonder who raised her, or do you consider how you speak to your subordinates in the office? 

When you don’t get selected for a promotion, do you wonder why people won’t just give you a chance, or do you link it to that person whose progress you held back just to prove your power over them? 

When a man breaks your heart and leaves you disappointed, do you lambast all men for having the same mother, or do you think of the number of men whose hearts you have broken by leading them on with false hope and expectations? 

When you’re trying to switch lanes in traffic and the cars won’t let you through, do you wonder why people can’t just show a little bit of common decency to their fellow man, or do you remember the hundreds of times you have pretended not to even see, when someone has tried to squeeze in ahead of you in a traffic jam?

In this universe, everything is about balance. You get from life what you put in. So if you don’t like what you’re getting, change what you’re giving. Start today.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and I want the best. That’s why I give the best.


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