The Happiness Connection  

'None as queer as folk'

Have you ever been in a gathering and watched one person behaving in a different way from everyone else?

My Toastmasters group (Kelowna AM Toastmasters) hosted an open house this week. It was an opportunity for people who are thinking of joining Toastmasters to see what our meeting is like. It also gives people who don’t really know what the organization is about, to experience a meeting.

All the guests were offered coffee and cookies. When the time came for the meeting to begin, everyone sat down. That’s where they remained for the next 75 minutes.

At least, that’s where most of them remained.

One gentleman accidentally discovered the open house. He was welcomed in as warmly as all the other guests.

The meeting had only just started, when this person got up to get a stir stick for his coffee. It was a little unusual, because, when someone is speaking, it is courteous to give them your full attention.

He was quiet about it, but it was out of the ordinary, so it caught my attention. It did the same thing when he got up for more coffee, and then to go to the washroom, and then to go to the washroom again.

I was one of the speakers that morning. It’s a good thing I am an experienced presenter and not easily thrown off my game.

As I delivered my speech, I noticed that he had closed his eyes. I may have sent him to sleep, but I prefer to think he wanted to give more attention to what I was saying and not be distracted.

None of this is typical behaviour for someone at a Toastmasters meeting.

It isn’t the behaviour of this person I want to focus on, but the behaviour of everyone else. No one said anything or rolled their eyes. There were a few looks exchanged across the room, but they were more about sharing the observation than they were about judgment.

In the few minutes after the meeting when people were taking time to chit chat, not one conversation within my hearing mentioned this unusual behaviour.

To me that says a lot about our group. It is a safe space. You can be your authentic self and still be accepted without judgment.

A-typical behaviour can be seen in all corners of life. Even at an early morning Toastmasters meeting. This is one of the reasons people watching is one of my favourite past-times. “There’s none as queer as folk.”

If you can observe others without attaching judgment, there is a lot you can learn.

On this occasion I learned that there are people who live without worrying about what other people think.They are courageous enough to be authentic.

I learned that people watching is an activity that can exist free from judgment.

I learned that no matter where you are, if you are mindful of your environment and the other people in it, there is always something worth noticing.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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