Week 2 at University of Michigan: The Best Kind of Smart is Putting Others Before Yourself

One afternoon, I stopped by a food stand in China and picked up some tomatoes.

I was about to pay for the tomatoes when the seller told me that the amount of tomatoes I grabbed does not add up to 10 yuan. She said it was best to grab a few more, so she carelessly took two more tomatoes and dropped it in my bag.

After I paid, I hurried back home to cook some dinner.

I opened the bag to find two rotten tomatoes. The insides were not the rich, red color seen in a healthy tomato and the skin was all shriveled up. A little pinch on the tomato caused the liquid inside to flow out immediately.

It turned out that those two tomatoes were the ones the seller shoved into my bag at the end.

I threw away the tomatoes and was not in a good mood. I promised myself to never go back to that food stand again.

Those who are greedy always like to treat others as “fools.” As everyone knows, every small, yet unfaithful profit that people make will lower their credibility, and later their entire business. If there are more and more customers who realize that, the business will inevitably lose everything.

In fact, no one is stupid. It is just the way people act smart is different.

Some people are smart and clever, and they love to take advantage of others. Some people are smart, have a high level of intelligence, and others love to take some of their smarts away from them. But, there are some people who are smart and willing to think for others.

Be kind, put others before yourself, and you will not suffer.

There is a supermarket nearby. It is a store that opened just a few years ago. The store is not big, but the business is booming.

The supermarket has a lot of traffic every night, especially in the vegetables area. Once in the evening, they start to make special offers. Two cabbages are two yuan, and the Shanghai bok-choys are five yuan for one bundle. There are many dishes that are very cheap.

When I first saw them doing this, I asked the salesperson why should such great food be handled so cheaply?

The salesperson explained that the supermarket makes sure that vegetables are only sold for one day. Even if they are not sold out on the same day, they will be renewed the next day. It is better to let everyone buy food cheaper than to have it be thrown away.

Later I discovered that they not only sell vegetables like this, but also snacks and small desserts. Around 7:00 in the evening, the products are buy one get one free, and they make sure that the products do not stay overnight.

Thinking of the sour tofu and rotten beans that I bought in other supermarkets before, I finally understood why their business is going very well.

Really intelligent people know the value of a long and smooth path. In order to gain the trust of others, we must start from putting others before ourselves and I assure you that others will give you the same sincerity in return.

SmileIn my parents’ hometown, the villagers  — during resting season — would pick up some small jobs. They didn’t have a fixed boss. They usually just followed some leader in the morning and came back at night. My uncle was one of them.

I once chatted with my uncle and talked about his recent experience of working at his part-time job. My uncle praised his leader, Li.

My uncle took a mat from the living room and showed it to me: “We had no place to rest at noon, and Li knew that the floor was a little wet and cold, so he bought a cushion for all of the workers to use during our lunch break.”

My uncle follows Li to the city to water the green belt. The daily wage was not high. The other leaders gave 100 yuan to their workers, but Li gave only 80 yuan. However, my uncle was still willing to follow him.

My uncle said: “Originally, part-time jobs do not include meals, but every noon, Li would pack us something to eat. Li found that there were not many small restaurants near the green belt and knew that we were not willing to go to big restaurants. He couldn’t bear to watch everyone drink some water and eat dry food, so he gave us food every day. A lot of people trust Li. As long as they are called to work, no matter how much they are paid, they will be there. They know that following Li, they will never suffer.”

A kind person has his or her own warmth, which makes people feel at ease. The best kind of smart is to put others in our hearts.

There is a saying: “Disasters stay away from kind-hearted people.”

In fact, not only that, but people who can put others in their hearts will also be put in the hearts of others. Harvesting trust and respect is already a blessing in itself.

Being able to put others before yourself is really the best kind of smart.


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