A few weeks ago, I was at a meeting where one our planning commissioners, Scott Bunker, told this story about a barber.
A small-town barber was trimming the hair of a customer when another gentleman walked into his shop looking for information. The gentleman told the barber he was considering moving to the community and wanted to know what people were like in this town. “Where I am from the people are friendly, helpful, and always looked out for one another,” the gentleman said.
The barber thought for a moment and said, “I’m certain you’ll find those very same traits in the people here in our town.”
The gentleman kindly thanked him for the information and exited the barbershop.
Soon afterwards, another man entered the shop and asked the barber a similar question. “I am considering moving to this town, he said, “because I find the people where I am from to be rude, thoughtless and inconsiderate.”
The barber looked at him and said, “I’m afraid you’ll find the same circumstance here.”
This second gentleman shook his head in disappointment and walked out.
The customer sat perfectly still in the barber’s chair and then admitted to the barber his confusion. “Why did you give those two men completely different answers,” he asked. “Which answer is correct?”
The barber paused, and then responded by saying he had been working with people his entire career and he was confident that the answer he gave to each of those gentlemen was the correct one.
I have given much thought to this story and I have contacted Commissioner Bunker to express my appreciation for the message. In the process I found out that Congressman John Curtis should receive credit for telling this story to his new employees while he was mayor at Provo City. Regardless of the source, the message is subtle but impressively clear.
We all create our own environment. We live in and respond to a world that matches our own perceptions. The great news about understanding this is that we can control our own attitudes, and by doing so, our happiness is ultimately in our own hands.
As we leave 2021 behind and enter a brand-new year, my hope is that we may all resolve to look at everything in a more positive light, recognize the good and throw off the contempt that at times may saddles us. May all of you have a great Holiday season and a genuinely happy new year!
Mayor Mark Johnson