I recently saw the film Kingsman: The Secret Service, and not only is it such a fun film to watch, but it made me reflect on one of its themes. “Manners maketh man” is coolly stated by Harry Hart, aka Sir Galahad (played by Colin Firth). He makes his point with a bit of “convincing” (as one might if they worked for the Secret Service and fought bad guys) but it’s a message that never goes out of style. I also saw Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and similarly Bill and Ted declare to their fans, “Be excellent to each other!” (if you haven’t seen it, you simply must. It really is a most excellent adventure).
I found it funny that such different films make the same point- but then I realized that this message is a universal one. Good manners will forever be timeless; we shouldn’t exhibit good manners just because it is expected of us, but because it feels so much better to show control, certainty and maturity. Isn’t it so much nicer to be nice? Ironically, it is in the company of the not-so-nice that I feel this point most especially rings true. I try to think of those encounters as opportunities to practice patience, and wondering what someone else might be going through that triggers such behaviour. However, I don’t believe this means such behavior is acceptable and that one should be a pushover with rudeness. It’s still possible to defend yourself – with class. You’ll feel better for it, and attract like-minded people that appreciate that kind of mentality.
If ever unsure of how to behave in a certain situation, ask yourself: “would it make someone feel badly if I behaved this way?” and then you should have your answer. And if this is a topic that interests you, I would like to suggest some of these books:
No one is perfect, but what counts is the effort we make. In Kingsman, Harry Hart also quotes Ernest Hemingway by saying “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self”.
Go forth and be excellent to each other!