This One Thing

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Information Kiosk in the center of Grand Central Station in New York City must be one of the busiest, most tension-filled ten-square feet of real estate in the world. In line at the kiosk to ask a question Norman Vincent Peale observed the bespectacled clerk with fascination. There was a constant barrage of passengers in need of immediate answers to their burning questions. The clerk showed no signs of tension. Even though he was subjected to heavy pressures, he was one of the calmest people Peale had ever seen.

Peale recalls seeing in the front of the line a short, plumb woman with a shawl tied around her head and little whiskers growing from her chin. The clerk leaned toward her and politely asked, “Yes, madam?” He then focused clearly on her and asked, “Where was it you were going.”
A well-dressed man with a briefcase and expensive hat tried to interrupt, but the clerk kept focused on the woman. “Where was it you were going?”
“And that was Springfield, Ohio?”
With the timetable clearly memorized, the clerk responded, “That train leaves on Track 25 in just ten minutes. You don’t need to run; you have plenty of time.”
“Did you say Track 25?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
The woman turned to leave and the nicely dressed gentleman stepped to the front of the line as she asked once again, “Did you say it was Track 25?”
But this time the clerk was giving his full attention to his new passenger.
When there was a lull in the conversation, Peale took the opportunity to ask the information man a question. “I’ve been admiring the way you handle the public. Tell me, how can you do it and keep so calm?”
The man raised his head and looked at Peale through his bifocals. “I don’t deal with the public. I deal with one passenger. And then with another passenger. It’s just one person at a time right on through the day. Now where was it your were going?”

Isn’t that a good lesson for dealing with stress! When customer after customer, issue after issue, problem after problem creeps in their “petty pace from day to day,” we can remember, “One thing at a time.”

St. Paul said, “This one thing I do.” (Philippians 3:13) All we have is one minute at a time. When life rushes in and begins to crowd us, let’s remember, “This one thing I do.” When others interrupt, let’s remember to politely say, “Just one minute, please.” Instead of fretting and fuming, let’s practice doing one thing at a time and doing it well. This habit will ease stress and give us calmness and peace of mind.


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