I read the other day that the Duke of Wellington was asked what he would have done differently if he could have had his life over again. It is a rather silly question to a dying man as I cannot believe anyone in the world would want to have their lives over again - once was enough thank you. Why would you want to come back?
The old Duke answered, he was obviously a very patient man; that he would have given more thanks to everyone around him. That he would have said "thank you" a lot more. This made me note that I don't hear those words that often these days. You give the obligatory tip to the car guards and they look down to see how much you parted with before saying anything. There are other examples. As an experiment I sent a few emails over Christmas and New Year to a people with the usual best wishes - an astonishing seventy percent did not even reply. Well, we will see what happens this year when they come begging for free legal advice. I helped another fellow who went on holiday by looking after his house. Yep, you are right, not a word in the ten days since he is back. Well, ask me again this year and see what happens.
I am sure you are seeing the pattern now. If you don't have the decency and good manners to say thank you, you antagonize people. They remember and next time you wonder why you got the cold shoulder. We must really learn to say thank you and do so more.
I never make New Year resolutions for the simple reason that I see life as a circle and not as a January to December thing. Though I have never seen it I believe that some eastern philosophies do the same - they see an almanac as a circle and not the square as we do. Hence 1 January is just the next day, not that special. I like that kind of thinking because it always bothered me that you get through the year with the grace of God as we live in trying times....and then you have to start all over again. Such a thought is depressing. Of course depression is crap; it is an illness for people who have enough money to worry about such nonsense. Why I would not know for if you have food, health and an income you have no reason to be depressed. There is no man or woman alive today who is worthy of feeling depressed about. If they don't want you (anymore) replace them. It is their loss, not yours. Go and get a new life.
Still, I understand January is the time when most run for phycologists and happy pills - they don't want to face the world for another year. Mind you I frequently sigh in my heart when I woke up and do not see my late wife next to me where she belongs. It all comes down to being grateful which is the reason (I should hope) why you feel the need to say thank you. Someone guarded your car - you should be grateful to pay the man - and he grateful enough to receive the money.
What other people do or don't do is not my concern nor is it yours. You rarely have control over others but you do have over yourself. You are able to decide where the world will get to you or not. Whether you will be grateful enough to say thank you, you can make such decisions. So I decided, this year - I am saying "thank you" more as I am grateful to be still alive and writing boring books when not gainfully employed. I am grateful to every download and every nice letter I receive from readers. Thank you.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.