Today I was forced to work out in a YMCA away from my home in an upscale neighborhood, surrounded by executive office buildings. There are probably more MBA’s per square foot there than almost anyplace I go. And yet every time I go into this environment filled with well-educated, sophisticated, surely wildly successful people, I am amazed at how nasty the place is.
As I went to the men’s locker room I saw what I see every time I am forced to go to this beautiful building: about 6 or 7 white towels lying all over the floor, locker doors open with towels draped on them. It looked like a bunch of slobs lived there. And yet I do understand the mentality. Why do people treat their environment so shabbily? I’ll tell you easily why. It’s not theirs. So why should they pick up their towels? They pay to be a member. Being rude and lazy just comes as one of the privileges, right?
But here is my admonition: pick up the towel. Not because it’s your responsibility or because you put it there, but because you can; because you understand something that too many people have forgotten. You’re responsible wherever you are and whatever environment you occupy to be a good citizen, to occupy your space with grace and class. And sometimes that means picking up and cleaning up messes that you didn’t make. What does that say about you? That you’re a person who understands that the best people, the strongest person does the next right thing first.