Five magic words

As we move through to the end of February, we look to follow alongside some of the keys to happier living, introduced by ‘Action for Happiness’. This month, we are focusing on ‘Relating’, with research showing that people with strong relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. 

‘Relating’ is one of the Ten Keys to Happiness (Action for Happiness).

Whether these people are close to you or you encounter them once, the connections you have with them can all contribute to your happiness. 

People often find themselves caught up in the hustle and bustle of trying to get tasks done that they may not take time to connect with those around them. I have found five magic words that made all the difference in my daily chores. Words that when said out loud give me such happiness, especially when I have felt the impact they have on other people.

It made me feel all warm inside and it made other people stop to take notice and say something complimentary back to me. For that reason, I’m going to use it more going forward. So what were these words?

The first time I said them recently was in a car park whilst I I was waiting for somebody to leave and as they were getting the car they said, “Could you just give us five minutes?” 

“Absolutely”, I replied. 

I then added, “I’m not in a rush.”

She replied with a sense of disbelief: “Oh, that’s good to hear, you don’t hear that very often these days.” 

We both laughed. A normally impatient, vexatious situation was transformed by the magic words.

A little later on, as I was driving, a car stopped in front of me and I realised we were outside a Covid vaccination centre, on a very tight lane. The car had several older people in it and they were wanting to talk to the official for quite some time. 

The official came over to my car and said: “Do you mind waiting a while? These old folk need to get out of the car?”

I replied: “Not at all…”  and then the magic words, “I’m not in a rush”, I said smiling, delighting in how that made me feel.

The official smiled back at me warmly and said: “That’s a wonderful thing to hear. Most people aren’t as accommodating as you.” 

It felt really good to be helpful to these older people and to not be in a rush (unusually for me).

Then the third time it happened was that same morning, I was in a shop and somebody evidently in a rush was hoping to go ahead in the queue. 

 I said: “Please, go ahead. I’m not in a rush.”

She turned to me and said: “I’m so grateful to you, thank you so much.”

After she had left, the shopkeeper turned to me and said, “It’s so rare to find somebody that’s not in a rush.”

It got me thinking, why are we always in such a rush? I realised I had so much pleasure in stepping back for a minute and taking more time.  I had so much more kindness to offer people I had never met and it not only soothed their day, but it soothed and elevated my mood and day too. 

I am continuing to use it. I even say it to myself, even if I am in a rush, as a reminder to myself to slow down and to put relatedness above speed. 

I used it this week after a meeting when someone had clearly been out of sorts. “Would you like a chat afterwards”, I offered. “I’m not in a rush.”

Wow, it felt so good to say that versus the usual swift exit off to the next item on the agenda.

Try it. See how it increases your relatedness to colleagues, friends and strangers…and perhaps more importantly, how it impacts the quality of your own life experiences too. 

x Fi 

 Profile image of Fiona Parashar From Spring Leadership

By Fiona Parashar

Fiona set up Leadership Coaching in 2000, driven to use her corporate experience and academic background to make a positive difference to leaders, executives and women in business. Here, she shares her coaching journey, her favourite type of client, and even a few of her guilty pleasures...

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