Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Odds: Israeli cosmetics, mountain people & saying and being sorry

Israeli cosmetic brands
What's with them? For over a year now there have been those temporary 'stores' in shopping malls, in open 'square' areas. Cosmetics like moisturisers, exfoliators, sunblocks, wrinkle smoothers, fat disappearers... All very expensive. All with Israeli. And all manned by absolutely charming young Israeli men. Lovely accents and so smooth.

I don't like to ignore sales people at these stands so I tend to smile and nod hello in passing. Big mistake. The first time I got caught I was urged to rub an exfoliator (Dead Sea salt concoction of sorts) into my hands, and then they spray/rinse your hands with water and your hands are silky soft (I find this stuff quite greasy). And then there was an amazing moisturiser and must-have sunblock. The price? About R2000 for the moisturiser that should last for a year - because you use so little. "Do you not think that your skin is worth less than R200 per month?" Actually, no, I don't.

The first guy was good but not as charming as the third - I know, I know - I keep getting caught when my guard is down and I'm grabbed and seated despite protests. It's another one of those things where one wouldn't want to be rude and to tell them to play on the highway...

I asked the third guy what the deal is with all of these Israeli cosmetics. I asked whether they were scraping every ounce of goodness from the floor of the Dead Sea. And I asked how come they're all out here. He said there were environmental policies in place to protect the Dead Sea and that they make more money working out here than they can at home.

On Sunday I was chatting to Pam. she got caught too. And, she bought a small product. Not a R2000 moisturiser but she's keeping mum on what she paid because it was more than what she usually pays in the supermarket, no doubt... She also commented on how absolutely charming these guys are. Very smooth. She knows it. I know it. They know it. But it is generally done in a nice way such that they can get away with it. Helluva silly.

Mountain people and valley people
I remembered another story from Frank Dick, the coach/motivational speaker guy from the UK. It was about being a mountain person vs being a valley person. I found this typed online:
"There are two types of people in this world, valley people and mountain people. Valley people seek the calm and comfortable ground of shelter, safety and security. They may talk about change but do not want to be involved in it, especially if this means breaking from the routine of what has worked okay up until now. Their concept of achievement is not losing, so playing for the draw to them is all that’s needed. Their concept of fitness is being fit to survive. They are the people you meet who sentences begin with; "I would have", "I could have" or "I should have".
Mountain people have decided that valley life is not for them and seek to test ambition on the toughest climbs. They know that there is a rich satisfaction in reaching the top and the fight thats needed to get there. They live for the test of change and enjoy the resilience required to bounce back from the bumps and bruises that come with the mountain territory. They not only talk about change, they deliver it. They take the risk of winning because to them there is no such thing of a risk of losing. People can lose without training or practice, it comes quite naturally, so where is the risk in that? They know achievement is not always reflected in a gold medal but is always measured by the excitement of knowing just how much further their best shot takes them, when they take the risk of winning. Achievement is balanced on the finest of edges but they know that. Whatever the outcome of the contest, they are always accountable for the result. They are winners and they know it."
You can watch Frank doing this walkin' 'n talkin' presentation in this snippet here:

Why are you sorry?
I think we need another word that has a similar meaning to sorry. These synonyms don't quite work for me. I've recently started noticing how often this word is used in an apologetic context; just like it's overused cousin, 'humbled'.

I think that I'm finding this word irritating because we're turning into an apologetic society; we apologise too much for things that really do not merit an apology nor forgiveness. We apologise for being... ourselves. This is what has really struck me and is the reason for this post.

In writing this it is difficult to conjure up a good example for you...  The word's use is too flippant; it lacks gravitas. It is quite fine to apologise when you bump into someone in a mall (an accident); but a 'pardon' or 'excuse me' would suffice.

Sorry, for me, is more emotive. Stronger. More meaningful. You can feel sorry, be sorry and say sorry. Like being sorry for someone over the loss of a loved one. This is in the context of expressing sympathy, grief or dismay at another's misfortune. I'm ok with it in this context because it isn't apologetic.

When you're sorry for your wrong doings... I have a feeling that post-misdeed remorse comes about because while doing the action you know if is wrong; because, certainly, by apologising, you know full well that what you did was wrong. Better to ask forgiveness than seek permission eh?

There's also that joke about a husband apologising to his wife by saying, "You're right. I'm wrong. I'm sorry".

During this week, pay attention to how many times you hear people say sorry and consider what they're sorry about. Also try to catch yourself before you say sorry just out of habit. Don't. Try another word to apologise - if an apology is actually necessary; if you're apologising for something tangible. But, instead of being sorry, do right. No apology required then.

Words are a dime a dozen but they do count and I think that it is important that a couple of words like sorry should be a little more treasured and are said only when you feel sorry and are sorry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only life to live is to not owe anything to anybody - not even an apology.