Throwback to the Right Thing

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In honor of Throwback Thursdays (apologies if you’re reading this on a Monday…just play along)

I’ll begin with a question to throwback in your mind to think “back when”. A question not to answer now… wait to answer at the end.

Is it possible for us, as adults, to throwback to a time when we only had two choices as a kid

Option 1 = Right

Option 2 = Wrong

Can we bring back (throwback) a previous factory setting of doing the right thing for no other gain other than just because it’s the right thing to do?

Hold that thought….Throw it back in your cranium for just a moment.

I just returned from getting my haircut at my favorite barber shop on the planet, The Cave, here in Clayton, North Carolina. Luckily! I snuck in just before my favorite barber, Anay, had her next appointment. PHEW! 😅

“Hi Anay! I’m a walk-in without an appointment, do have time?” I asked her with a smile on my face. She looks up at the clock…turns back toward me and replies, “Sure. Come on over Josh.” also with a smile on her face, the kind you give a friend who can’t help themselves but always show up late to group get-together events.

“THANKS!” I responded in relief. In reality I would’ve been cool with sitting in any of the other barbers’ chairs at The Cave. They all do a great job. Anay though, the owner of the place, she’s ON POINT EVERY TIME with those clippers and scissors!

“I appreciate you Anay. I’m not pouncing on anyone else’s appointment am I?” I asked. “Nope. I just got here and I’m prepping for my first appointment.” Anay responded.

“Oh snap…you just got here? Would you like some more time to prep? I’m not in a hurry.” I quickly said.

“Nope. You’re cool. Let’s do this!” she responded as she jumped right into action with laying out her tools of trade as an artist lays out their tool just before turning a boring canvas into remarkable art (To be clear, my face and dome aren’t remarkable, she’s just that serious about her work. You get the picture LOL)

“Cool. When’s your first appointment?” I asked.

“In 30 minutes.” Anay responded.

“Yo! Are you sure you don’t want to prep now, cut their hair first since they made an appointment, then mine after?” I asked with some guilt building up.

“No not at all. You’re here so I don’t want you to wait.” Anay quickly snapped back.

“Ok Yes ma’am.” I responded. Case closed…or so I thought.

“Cutting your hair now before the appointment allows me to go back home after this one appointment coming up. Today’s my day off.” Anay informs me as she’s working her magic with the clippers.

“Yo! Today’s your day off? Why are you here?!” I asked with a surprised look. See, Anay is the owner, and she’s ALWAYS at The Cave so for her to have a day off is a cherished miracle. I’m genuinely curious as to why she’s there. She has other barbers there who can cover the shop.

“Well one of my customer’s needs a haircut for his job this weekend. He’s a military reservist, and he couldn’t come in any other day other than today. So I told him I would take care of him today.” Anay tells me.

“Wow! That’s very generous of you Anay!” I told her.

With that, she just gave a simple smile as she moved into fading and blending around my head with her barber ninja skills and said,

“It’s the right thing to do.”

To keep the conversation going. I asked what’s new with her, her husband and their two boys. This opened up a series of short conversations around family trips, weekend plans, and some cool stuff they have planned for the barber shop giving back to our community.

One of the coolest things I think I’ve ever heard of any small business doing is something they are doing called “Customer Appreciation Day”. Now, we might think a lot of places do that, but maybe not in the dope way Anay and her crew are doing it.

They are blocking out an entire corner of the parking lot in their shopping center area for a festival. They are bringing in a DJ for live music, cool cars for a car show, games for kids, and a lot more activity events for everyone. The customer appreciation of it all is that’s the ENTIRE event is going to be free for all of the people who show up. They don’t even have to get a haircut that day. Everyone is welcome, just bring your family and enjoy all of it.

“Wow! That sounds awesome!” I told her. “We will definitely come out!”

“Wouldn’t something like that cost you a lot of money to bring in all of those fun activities and events? Why wouldn’t you guys charge at least a small amount for an admission ticket?” I asked.

“It’s not about that. It’s not a money making event. It’s to show our genuine appreciation for the people who come in and get their haircuts with us and raise a little more awareness.” she replied.

“Very cool!” I said with a bigger smile on my face. My smile grew because I could sense the heart of giving from Anay, her husband, and their team, in all of it.

“The car show is a cool piece. What type of cars are going to be there?” I asked.

“Well, we aren’t sure yet. I called one local club and asked if they would be a part of it, and they said sure as long as they are paid paid to come out.” Anay responded with some disappointment in her voice.

“They want you to pay?! For a free community? They want you to pay them to bring their hobbies out and show off to people?” I asked in confused disbelief.

“Yeah they won’t come out unless they are paid.” she responded. “Then they asked for discounted haircuts too.” she added with a giggle.

“I guess they don’t know that discounts on haircuts takes money out of yours and your other barbers pockets each time, therefore taking money from your families too!” I responded with some frustration in my voice.

“Their loss!”, I snapped. “I know some people in the community who would love to support your event with their classic rides.” And so we discussed those contacts a little more while she put the final touches (straight razor neck shave and hot towel) on yet another really good haircut.

As I drove home I couldn’t get the fact that a car club wanted someone who was’nt charging at their community event to pay them just to show up, park their ride, popped the hood and sit back while people marveled over their hobbie.

Then a question hit me… Whatever happened to just doing the right thing?!

My colleague and friend, Doug Stewart, and I have a conversation around this topic of simply Doing the Right Thing at least twice a month. It’s always refreshing to observe people doing the right thing for the sake of just because it’s the right thing to do, then seeing how weaves into our worlds.

It’s something I’m grateful to learn more about and watch demonstrated on a daily basis since joining this team. Often times in the past I would gravitate to operating in ways that benefitted my agenda, what I needed, in some way, instead of just doing the right thing for people with absolutely NO strings attached.

I’m talking about giving up something for another person without ANYTHING AT ALL expected in return.

It’s operating with an open hand instead of a closed fist.

Closed fist are used to hold tightly onto something without letting it go. While opened giving hands can only let go.

Doing the Right Thing because it’s the right thing to do requires taking the focus off of ourselves, and placing it on the other person’s benefit only.

Zig Ziglar once said:

“If you help enough people get what they want in life, then you’ll get what you want.”

Now…I used to view this quote in the completely wrong way, selfishly and only concerned with what I wanted. Do something for others SO THAT I’ll get something good in exchange. That’s not at all what Zig was talking about.

What this quote truly means is, do the right thing for others SO THAT you improve internally and you become the person others WANT TO do good for as well.

People only want to deal with, work with, spend time with, talk with, buy from, do business with or even recommend their associates to the people who leave a lasting, positive impression on them. Dale Carnegie once said,

“There is no such thing as a neutral exchange. You leave someone either a little better or a little worse.”

So why do we sometimes find ourselves operating with more of a closed fist and only doing things when there’s something in it for us?

Is it perhaps because of something that’s happened to us in the past? Yep!

Will we be taken advantage of by other people? You bet!

Will doing the right thing ever come back around in our favor? Who knows!

Why the heck wouldn’t I only do things that have something in it for me?

Because we’re not building an island (population of 1). Tom Hanks couldn’t handle it in Castaway neither could we.

Think about it! More often than not we, as humans, progress only because someone else was involved. Someone else assisted us. We needed their help.

We need community.

We love it when other people just do something nice for us without any expectations whatsoever hanging over us. We usually refer to those people with positive characteristics such as “Kind”, “Genuine”, “Caring”, “Thoughtful”, “Authentic”, “Good Person”, “Best boss I’ve worked for” 😆, and we are glad to tell other people about them.

So think for just a moment on what type of person you want to be. What type of person would you like to be referred to and remembered as?

Give yourself 3 really good, one word characteristics…..

Do you have them?

These 3 words are like a vision for your legacy!

Now think back to that original question….

Can we bring back (throwback) a previous factory setting of doing the right thing for no other gain other than just because it’s the right thing to do?


It just takes a choice to operate with an open hand instead of a closed fist

So if we are going to throwback to good old days, then let’s throwback to doing the right thing for no other reason other than because it’s just the right thing to do.

Challenge Point! Try it out with someone. The next time you have an opportunity to gain from doing something for someone else, don’t do it for exchange of anything else at all. Just do it. After its done, record what you experience inside you and record their reactions. See if this is perhaps worth an additional attempt.

I hope this was helpful for you in your journey to be your better version today. Please feel free to send me your results from putting this into action. I’d love to hear your story!

Keep Calm and Share on with others

To Your Success,

Josh Bledsoe

Talent Development Specialist

Dale Carnegie Training

Believer | Blessed husband and dad | Talent Development Specialist at Dale Carnegie Training | USAF Reserve Officer | Better version today than yesterday

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