5. Shine up your neighbor’s halo
One Sunday morning while in vacation, while sitting in a back pew of a small country church, with my eyes half asleep, I dimly heard the elder Priest urge his flock to “stop worrying about your own halo and shine up your neighbors!” It left me sitting up, wide awake, because it struck me as just about the best eleven word formula for getting along with people I have ever heard.
I felt and liked it for its implication that everyone, in some area of life, has a halo that’s worth watching for and acknowledging. I like it for the droll celestial picture it conjures up: everybody industriously polishing away at everybody else’s little circle of divine light. I like it for the firm way it shifts emphasis from self to interest and concern for others. Finally, I like it because it reflects a deep psychological truth: that people have a tendency to become what you expect them to be.