Look Up

by Matt Mattson

reverse-cell-phone-look-upLook up. Yes, you.  Just do me a favor and look up from your phone, your computer, or your tablet for a moment.  Look at the people around you. Look at the bustling world of real human beings surrounding you (if you’re alone right now, just pause for a moment next time you’re at a coffee shop or the grocery store and… look up.)

Look up — not just so that you might be able to meet your new friend or soul mate.  Look up — not just so that you can find the next person to recruit to your organization or who might buy your product. Look up — not for any other reason than to be engaged with the world and to care about the people around you.  Sometimes we forget those are real people.  There is proof that we forget it. It is called Bystander Behavior.

According to our friend, and Bystander expert, Mike Dilbeck, “Bystander behavior is the social phenomenon where we see something happening that we know is wrong and we are compelled to do something, to say something. We actually want to make a difference in that moment. Yet, we don’t. We do nothing and we say nothing. We are bystanders and this is bystander behavior.”  Notable examples can be found here, but it happens every day in small ways.  There are moments far too many of us (me included) can easily recall when something bad was happening, we could have helped, but we didn’t — we just ignored it, we passed it by.

Social Excellence is a philosophy, a lifestyle, a way to approach the world that challenges each of us to engage with the people around us.  Smile at that stranger.  Say hello to that lady.  Thank that bus driver. Ask a question out of pure curiosity to that veteran.  Compliment that person’s tattoo.  Communicate. Be social.  Social Excellence is about shaking hands, having conversations, building relationships, and connecting with others to make the world a better place.  Perhaps, Social Excellence is an excellent prevention strategy for Bystander Behavior.

Dilbeck teaches his audiences and readers to be Every|Day Heroes (take the pledge here).  He inspires people to take action in moments when they can make a difference in the lives of others.  Being an Every|Day Hero — not being a bystander — is about making the right small momentary choices to engage socially in the lives of others.  It is about choosing to Be The Person who intervenes, who connects, who cares.

Phired Up’s work teaching Social Excellence, and Mike’s work teaching people to be Every|Day Heroes is about the same thing. Our messages are about connecting, caring, and acting.  Social Excellence teaches people to be the best version of themselves.  The best version of yourself includes generously acting to help others any chance you get.

So, if this stuff is new to you, start here:  Look up.  Look up at the people around you.  Look up Bystander Behavior.  Look up Social Excellence.  Look up at the people around you just waiting to be impacted by your presence in their lives.

Be The Person who looks up.  Be an Every|Day Hero.

*Read about what it means to #BeThePerson by following that hashtag on twitter or checking out Phired Up’s new book Social Excellence: We Dare You.  Also, check out the exciting collaboration between Phired Up and Response Ability — Be The Person 2012.