Are You A Fountain or A Drain?

I love to observe people. Early in my life it was just interesting to observe people, but now… it’s educating. As I was driving into work today, I observed something very interesting. It soon became strikingly obvious that I was observing one of life’s great lessons.

A girl in an SUV, about my age had a couple young kids in the back of her car. Another car was turning on what must have been a yellow light into a lane. The girl in the car with the kids in the back stepped on the gas…honked her horn, and then rode up on this other cars behind. I saw the look on this girl’s face. It was a look of shear intensity, irritation, and disgust for the car she was now tailgating. Even after she came to a complete stop behind this other car, she let out another honk. I was in a perfect position to judge this situation…so judge this situation I did! Out of all of the thoughts that came to my mind, here was my first thought; “oh man I feel sorry for her husband”. Strange yeah…but that was my first thought as I observed this situation. It immediately made me grateful for being married to a girl that just doesn’t operate like that.

You can only imagine what it’s like in the household of the girl in the car that was wildly honking her horn for no real reason. Sadly enough, her kids in the back seat of her car are quickly soaking it all in and varmint begets varmint until we have psychopaths causing havoc in the streets for no real reason.

Here is the life lesson, and something I observe in my business life on a daily basis. There are people like this all over the place. They are everywhere! They spend every second of every day looking for an “i” to dot and a “t” to cross. They have no desire to dot their own “i’s” or their own “t’s”… only yours. They cannot help finding fault, criticizing, and bringing down everyone around them. They destroy what takes years to build with a fit of rage or a slip of the tongue. It would take little effort or restraint to back off, not gas it, lay off the horn, throw on a smile, and laugh at the car in front of them. Its almost as if they’re just waiting for something to happen that they can “go crazy” over. They treat each of those situations as if it were personal, and the other person involved is trying to injure them. It’s an “I’ll show them attitude”, constantly drawing that daily line in the sand…waiting, just waiting for someone to cross over or even come close to that line.

It’s amazing how often I see this mentality in the business world. One of the biggest inspirations behind starting free custom website was the idea that no one could possibly get mad at me anymore. I mean how could someone get mad at me if we were designing their website for free! Yet we have them, and I realized that it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, or how much money your client is paying you…or not paying you, these types of people, these personalities exist, and will always find a way to ruin your day. If people only knew how much more effective they could be at life if they just learned this one lesson; “magnify the good in life, and laugh away the bad.” The question you need to ask yourself is; “are you a fountain or a drain”? A drain sits in the dark, always trying to hide but always taking, taking, taking whereas the fountain is always springing up for all to see. Kids and adults flock to fountains almost automatically and are refreshed by its life-giving qualities. The drain on the other hand…people try to avoid like the plague. The only thing the drain does is hand out a few twisted ankles to a few unsuspected visitors that had no idea it was coming.

To the lady in the car: Chill out! It’s not that big a deal. No one was trying to spite you. Your blood pressure is getting to high, your kids are watching you, and you’re not making anyone smile. You’re an angry drain on society and the guy that just cut you off would probably laugh at you if he knew how much he was able to effect your life. Yes, you’ve chosen to let someone ruin your day, and depending on how far you take it…even ruin your life. You’re making the world a miserable place to live in because you’re taking out what you see wrong with other people on the people that are closest to you.

We are all that lady in the car and we have the daily opportunity to choose whether we step on the gas, honk the horn, and yell… or slow down and give others the benefit of the doubt. Next time someone cuts you off or you’re ticked about something one of your vendors did, slow down and see if you can get results without becoming a maniac. Ask yourself, “Am I a fountain or a drain?”

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