(#96) Is Civility Part of Your D.N.A.?

Civility does not mean we all agree. It does mean, though,
that we accept each other’s humanity and dignity as a person.

NOTE to the reader:  “D.N.A.” in the title does not stand for what it usually does. At least not in this context. I have developed a new meaning for it.  As you read, see if you can ferret out my “new” meaning.  I provide the answer at the end of this post. No cheating, now…don’t scroll to the end and read it.)

I have written a number of times on this blog about civility (An Awareness of CivilityWho Are the “Energy Vampires” in Your Life?  Gratitude. Know Your Boundaries–Know Your Limits.)

For this post, I will concentrate on the concept of nutritious people and its connection to civility. Richard Leider (The Power of Purpose and Repacking Your Bags) tells us that nutritious people have three main characteristics.

  1. When they see you, they smile and are genuinely glad to be in your presence.  No fake pretenses. They make you feel welcomed.
  2. When you speak they listen to you—really listen.  They ask questions about what you say and what matters to you.  There are no collective monologues with these people. (You have heard and seen collective monologues:  A group of people all talking but no one is listening to the other. Each person just waits for a pause in the talking to jump in and start with “Let me tell you about me for a while!” Definitely not nutritious.)  The nutritious person practices active listening. 

    Perhaps this video of clip from Everybody Loves Raymond will remind us of the importance of active listening.

  3. The nutritious person accepts you as you are. They don’t have an agenda to shape and mould you into something that they see as their ideal person.  Nutritious people are not “haters” or “energy vampires” (see numbers 1 and 2 above).

For me,  nutritious people are walking models of civility.  They touch us in such a wonderful manner.  It would seem that if we had more people exhibiting the three characteristics above there would be less anger and hate in the world.  Call me naïve, but when one person takes an active and non-manipulating concern for another person—and then that behavior is reciprocated—it becomes pretty difficult to start shouting at one another.  Civility does not mean we all agree.  It does mean, though, that we accept each other’s humanity and dignity as a person.

Video recommendation for the week:

At a recent speaking engagement in San Diego, I asked a number of people this question: “How do you practice civility?” Click on the video below to hear their heart-felt houghts.  Following the video is a brief civility “homework” assignment for you. And you will find at the end of this blog post the meaning of “D.N.A.”


Your homework for the week is a three-part activity:

  1. Take out a sheet of paper or open a document/note page on your computer, iPad, or smart phone.  Write or type the names of (at least) two nutritious people in your life.  What do they specifically do that makes them nutritious?
  2. Take a moment today and write these people a short note of gratitude. Acknowledge their humanity with your own random act of kindness. 
  3. Time for some introspection. Answer this question:  “Am I a nutritious person? If you are, what do you do that makes you such. (Repeat those actions!) If you are not, what can you do to make those behaviors part of your daily DNA.  (By the way, for our purposes here, D.N.A. stands for “Doing Nice Always”!)

For more on civility, see my books Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? 3rd edition (Pearson Education, 2013) or Choices for College Success 2nd edition (Pearson Education, 2011). Please visit my website (www.stevepiscitelli.com), contact me at steve@stevepiscitelli.com, or visit Pearson EducationAmazon and Barnes and Noble.

Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B. as needed!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please pass it (and any of the archived posts on this site) along to friends and colleagues. You can also follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page and join in–or start–a conversation (www.facebook.com/stevepiscitelli). Also, if you have suggestions for future posts, leave a comment. Have a wonderful week!

© 2012. Steve Piscitelli and Steve Piscitelli’s Blog.

About stevepiscitelli

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3 Responses to (#96) Is Civility Part of Your D.N.A.?

  1. Pingback: (#136) A Blogger’s Retrospective: 2012 in Review « Steve Piscitelli's Blog

  2. Pingback: (#269) Yes And | Steve Piscitelli: Growth and Resilience

  3. Pingback: (Issue #496) Thankful for Civility. | The Growth and Resilience Network®

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