“If you live in a jungle, you’d better act like an animal.” My father never lived in a jungle. Nor did he ever live in a truly rough neighborhood. But he understood how important it was to fit into your surroundings. Adapting allows you to survive and thrive socially and economically.
The Wall Street Journal recently published a story about how the lawyers for a clothing company purchased and wore the company’s lower priced suits so that they could fit into the company’s culture. The lawyers were used to wearing custom suits that were several thousand dollars. Instead, they chose the clothing manufacturer’s $600 suits for all of their business meetings with the company.
When you go to your house of worship, you probably dress differently and even speak differently. When you interview for a job at a cafe, you speak and dress differently. When you visit your parents, you probably don’t wear something similar to the clothes you wore on your date last night.
You should always be yourself and everything that makes you unique should shine from you. However, when we analyze every singular social situation in which we find ourselves, we allow ourselves to learn about the needs of the people in those situations. I understand my father’s words when I go on a sales call. I look for points of commonality that connect us as human beings. I wear a suit to some sales calls and sometimes a sport coat to another. I learn about the company that I’m visiting so that I may understand how to improve their business.
There would be great peace in the world if everyone understood my father’s words. We would embrace the similarities and we would delve deeply and learn more about each other. We would never forget that every being wants to love and to live a better life. That’s all.
My father, Nicholas Tamarazo, of blessed memory, never said these words in anger. He would say them anytime we were driving into a rough New York City neighborhood. He always had a smile on his face when he spoke these words.