Cleaning Grasps Transcendence

Category: Facilities Maintenance

In the cleaning business one would normally not converse very much about Plato however there is a relevant point he made worth highlighting. Approximately 2,600 years ago the interesting, impactful Plato lived and taught in Athens, Greece. He is considered by many to be the greatest philosopher who ever lived. Plato’s teachings have endured through the centuries and one of the central ideas (he had several) he taught is profound. According to Plato whether we like it or not, for better or for worse the art around us informs our values in either a positive or negative way. In other words, according to Plato the objects and environment (buildings) around us whisper about such attributes as harmony, balance, peace or strength to name a few. To summarize, he is saying what is around us matters because it influences how we behave. So in a general sense, every time we clean the rooms we occupy we validate Plato’s proposition that the things around us matter. A crisp, clean conference room communicates ‘organization’ and ‘precision’. Work areas with sparkling hard floors and lush, clean carpet fibers provide the foundation for inspiration and whisper ‘rigor’ and ‘care’.

Imagine enjoying a morning shower, dressing in a freshly cleaned outfit from the dry cleaner and then driving your car through a full-service car wash leaving it glimmering and clean. What is it about being clean, smelling great, wearing a fresh outfit, and driving a clean car that makes so many feel better? Perhaps as Plato has alluded to it does indeed ‘whisper’ to us. Prepared. Precise. Organized. Ready. Even Strong.

Cleaning initiates these ‘whispers’ and demonstrates respect for the environments we inhabit and can even honor those who labor there. Consider an example from a soldier who has lost their life in combat. When a soldier is fallen in the field her remains are carefully shuttled back to our shores. The military provides an exceptional effort to clean the body of the fallen, dress the body with a freshly cleaned and pressed uniform and to meticulously, sacredly position each ribbon and freshly, polished medal upon the fallen. The cleaning and extreme attention to detail honors the fallen. It seems this cleaning (considering this ultimate sacrifice) is a trite, inconsolable tribute but nevertheless somehow the caress of the dampened cotton towels and polishing of the medals is elevated to the greatest heights possible within our grasp and somehow, remarkably whispers ‘love’ whispers ‘gratitude to you for what you have done’.

Although profits are amazing and vital nevertheless an enduring foundation and legacy is built upon our resolve in our respective professions to help keep those we serve to be healthy, productive and even inspired to be the best, virtuous, versions of themselves possible. Amazingly enough this loving legacy can start with something as basic as a broom or as grand as a ceremony.

Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living. Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-Swiss-United States scientist; authored the theory of relativity

A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large. Henry Ford (1863-1947) American industrialist

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. Woodrow T. Wilson (1856-1924) Twenty-eighth President of the United States

We are here on earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don’t know.W.H. Auden (1907-1973) English-born poet and man of letters

The reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is my focus has never, ever for one minute been money. Oprah Winfrey (b. 1954) American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, philanthropist and billionaire

Having felt people’s love and support first hand through difficult moments in my life makes me feel it’s our responsibility to help one another. Gloria Estefan (b. 1957) Cuban-American singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman and millionaire

Do small things with great love. Mother Teresa (1910-1997) Founded Missionaries of Charity; Awarded 1979 Nobel Peace Prize