What was Lucille saying to me and others when she stated, “You better be nice to the people on your way up because they will be the same people you meet on the way down?” I learned that when I walk down my own yellow brick road that my road is a marathon not a sprint. And one thing for sure is like anyone else’s road of life there are several twists, turns, bumps and detours. I learned to be very mindful of the peaks and valleys. Big Mama knew that if you are kind to all people at all times, I would survive the valleys, the twists, the turns and more. How does this play out today in this new normal of awakening and pandemic crisis? From the very beginning, in every ‘people’ moment, it was to my benefit to treat others with respect, courtesy and of course, Big Mama’s, first lesson – “Treat every person as if they were you!”
Now logically that was the right thing to do, but I have encountered so many individuals whose mindsets operate strictly off self-interest, fear or just an unhealed consciousness that tells them the smart thing to be is all about them over everyone else. Our collective history is filled with factual accounts of self-interest overriding courtesy and kindness. A close contact and former literary client, Mary Wilson, founding member of the Supremes of Motown fame, wrote in two of her books how the people around her chose self–interest over courtesy and kindness. Her story, read by millions, chronicled how individuals who share a cultural and musical background used self-gain to earn money and minimize the humanity of the industry. They chose immediate success over long term greater good. This did not just happen to Ms. Wilson; there are countless stories in the entertainment industry that tell the same story.
While these people may be successful in the moment, but the final chapters of their life book hasn’t been written yet. Unfortunately their bad actions will show up as their rise becomes a fall. At that moments get to meet those who experienced their actions. When God sends self-interested people a wellness check, all the money, success and prominence becomes less vital. The people they dissed going up have to lend them a hand when they fall down. Having lots of money can pay off some of the issues but it will never be a substitute for the peace and assurance that you did the right thing for the people that are showing back up in your life.
So many of the business owners, I have advised sometimes have to deal with the dilemma of meeting the individuals they were not nice too when they scaled up! In conclusion, Big Mama said be nice to people. When you’re not, you may still be able to succeed temporarily and think that you don’t need any one of those you passed over. Then it catches up to you. Big Mama’s playbook works! Her rule is, “Treat people well knowing it’s the right thing to do and know that dissing others isn’t a good path to success”
Terry Allen is an award-winning media professional, journalist and entrepreneur.
He is also the founder of City Men Cook and 1016 Media