Four tradeshows in six weeks gave this king monkey a first-hand glimpse at the attitudes of American entrepreneurs from coast to coast. From the laid back, friendly vibe of Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, (where there were smiles for everyone) to the more uptight, “who-knows-who” scene I encountered at the Toy Fair in New York City, what struck me most were the vast difference in tradeshow “politeness.”

You might be thinking, “Paul—you’ve really lost it. With the economy just creeping out of the crapper, who’s got time to worry about tradeshow politeness?” Here’s my take, given all that’s out of our control when the economy tanks, one thing we can control is attitude— especially how we treat each other, whether you’re the “big guy” or the “small guy” on the block. I mean, c’mon, how tough is it to be polite?

I always appreciate meeting the “new guy” or young entrepreneurs at these shows. I’ve walked (slogged?) in their shoes and understand what they’re up against. Major props to them all! They’re hungry for business, full of positive energy, and grateful for the opportunity to showcase their products or services.

Life’s just too short to cop an attitude. We need both chiefs and Indians in this world, and we all have roles to play. Try treating other people the way you want to be treated. Smile at least three times a day. Really, it’s easy! This alone can make the world a better place.