THE POWER OF SIMPLICITY
Simple is power. Simplicity comes out from the synthesis of experience and wisdom. Simple is natural, easy, nice, unpretentious.
It often happens that great lessons of life, which are full of wisdom, spring from simple concepts which are also and paradoxically, even more difficult to reach with full understanding.
To demonstrate this principle, here I reproduce an excerpt from the book I wrote with my beloved and admired friend Francesc Miralles. I must say that the part that goes on in the next few lines corresponds to Francesc creativity and the attitude he earned when he worked as a waiter to make a living in his younger years. Actually, the chapter this excerpt comes from is called “The Secret of the Waiter” and shows one of the most special moments experienced by the main character, Ariadna, when lost in the Maze of Happiness. It goes like this:
Once learnt the lesson about the real and the fake obstacles, Ariadna hit the wall with the palms up down a column of bricks. She had opened a wide enough hole so she could get to the other side, where to her surprise she found the street where she had slept three days ago.
Passing back along the MAZE CAFE, she recalled that the waiter had promised to explain to her what the meaning of life was.
Ariadna sat in the only empty stool at the bar and was surprised to find those three empty cups, like the first time she had entered the cafe. That convinced her that somebody expected her visit.
The waiter confirmed that certainty when aproaching her in a very cheerful attitude and saying:
-Well, what does the lady need?
-You know: I came back so you tell me what the meaning of life is.
-I will. But do not forget the meaning of life is different for each person and you must discover your own. I can only tell you what I discovered after working as a waiter for forty years.
Ariadna looked at the three empty cups, impatient, as the man adjusted his bracelet before starting off , happy and smiling, his explanation:
-I have estimated that the contact of a waiter with every customer who asks for a coffee does not exceed one minute on average. That is the time comprising the greeting and the question: ‘What will you have?’, asked by the customer, putting the cup on the table, make the bill and the farewell when they leave. There are many different times, but the real contact between the waiter and the customer does not exceed one minute altogether.
-And what does that mean?
-It means there you have an opportunity! Regardless of the quality of coffee that is not important, at that moment the waiter faces three options or, rather, three possible outcomes that depend on their attitude.
Having said that, the waiter paused briefly to find the right words. He explained:
-At that very moment, you can get the person to leave in a worse mood than when he arrived here, if you are rude. Or he can go without making any difference, if you treat him with indifference. But you also have the opportunity to make him leave the place in a better mood, if you give him a little kindness.
-And is that it? Ariadna said with undisguised disappointment.’But, what has that to do with the meaning of life?’
-That IS just the MEANING OF LIFE!, not just for waiters. Every day, we all have dozens of small and large contacts with others. Our challenge is to achieve the third result: make their life a little better after being with us. That’s the challenge, the jackpot for each game!
Upon hearing this, Ariadna was very thoughtful. The waiter winked and then waved her goodbye:
-And now I must go: we still have many live to be improved.
And so it is. Nothing is less in our lives. Nothing is small in the encounter with the other. Precisely the largest exhibition of greatness of a man is seen in his simplicity, his humility, his warmth, in his kindness, in tenderness, in the ability to improve the other’s present moment by giving away a blade joy to who we are with. Because in fact, we have many lives to improve, starting with our own and that of those who are close to us.
I hope that this text is useful and I wish you a happy week.
Kisses and hugs,