No. 1274



Have you ever personally known or been around someone who was just plain arrogant? If you have, how did you feel about this person? The dictionary defines arrogant as, “Full of or due to unwarranted pride and self-importance; overbearing; haughty.” Unfortunately, there are many people in the world who are like this. While they may not be aware of it, they are, nonetheless, paying a high price for it. Most people have no desire to be around someone who is arrogant, and given a choice they certainly do not want to do business with them.
One of my newspaper readers sent me something a while back that will serve to illustrate what I am saying.
“A few months ago we started dealing with a newly opened service station. Since the dealer was hurting to build up his trade, our business was greeted with open arms. The service was superb. Every stop for gasoline brought an automatic oil level check and window washing. We were impressed. As a regular customer, we became a familiar face and we marveled at how his business grew. But alas, we were disappointed by a change in his attitude.
“Arrogance began to be noticeable. The more the business grew, the more arrogant he became. We got the feeling that we were expected to pump our own gasoline. His interests in keeping customers happy and developing new business waned. We put up with his arrogance because it was the only station in the neighborhood. For him it was a seller’s market. It was, that is, until another station opened at the end of the block. We took our business there.”
One of my personal goals, and something I try to remind myself on a regular basis, is to never try to preach but rather to simply share ideas and concepts that will be of value to those I am privileged to serve. To my way of thinking, there are a number of things we can learn from this service station operator’s example. First, because of human nature, it’s much easier to be super nice to people when we “need” them. In his case, as he was trying to build up his business he needed every customer he could get. We must give him some credit, because he did have enough on the ball to realize the best way to build up his business was to greet people with open arms and also give them that extra measure of service.
He had put into practice the key to long-lasting business success, but he lost it. Why? Because he became full of unwarranted pride and self-importance. In other words, he finally reached the point where he felt he no longer needed new customers to meet his goals and standard of living where he was comfortable. In reality, his desire to serve and his love for people was not genuine or real at all. He just used people for his own selfish ambition.
When it comes to business, if you or someone you work for tends to be a little on the arrogant side, here is something you may want to keep in mind. We should always be nice to people as we climb the ladder of success, because the chances are good we will meet many of those same people on the way back down. There is no place for arrogance in business, and really there is no place for arrogance anywhere in the world. Shallow indeed is the person who is only nice to those people who they think can help them and rude to those who they consider as unimportant.
In dealing with people, regardless of where we find them, we should always treat every person as though their heart is breaking, because it very well could be.
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)