Paul Hargreaves: Being Joyful
There’s a story I told in my first book, Forces for Good, about a man called Dexter, who was a toll-charge collector on the Golden Gate Bridge across San Francisco Bay. Despite doing a humble job, Dexter always came to work with a smile on his face. More often than not, when motorists stopped by his toll-booth window, he would be singing his favourite songs and laughing as he did so. Whether by his smile, a song or an encouraging word, Dexter would brighten up the day of everyone who passed through his booth to cross the bridge. Those who had started the morning in a bad mood would cross the bridge with a smile on their face and a slightly brighter outlook on the day ahead.
As time went on, something extraordinary started to happen. Often, despite many of the other toll booths having no queue, there would be a long queue at Dexter’s booth. Motorists had changed their behaviour in a remarkable way and decided to make their commute slightly longer, just to have their day brightened up by this amazing worker. How extraordinary it was that a man in an unskilled job like this had such a profound influence on people’s lives. Sadly, the Golden Gate Bridge now has automated toll booths with no people employed to collect the tolls, but I have no doubt that Dexter’s joy is making a positive difference to the world elsewhere.
Doesn’t the world need more people like Dexter? How much joy do we bring into other people’s lives? The world needs more people full of joy – it all gets far too serious sometimes, doesn’t it? If you want to learn more and be challenged more about being joyful, then this and 49 other good characteristics are put together as a 50 day read in my new book, The Fourth Bottom Line, available from all on-line booksellers.