What Is Elegance?
The clean dismount of a gymnast from the balance beam. The smooth playing motions of a professional cellist. The foil handling of a fencing expert. The passionate speech of a CEO. The fluid hand motions of a symphony orchestra conductor. The graceful walk of a model down the runway.
When I consider elegance, I think of these types of activities.
The classic definition of elegance is as follows (from Dictionary.com):
elegance or elegancy (ˈɛlɪɡəns)
- dignified grace in appearance, movement, or behaviour
- good taste in design, style, arrangement, etc
- something elegant; a refinement
The origin of the actual word is French (élégance) from. c.1500 and means tasteful, correct, harmonious, choice, of speech or prose.
In days gone by, people of means and “refinement” went to finishing or charm schools (mostly girls) to learning the fine art of the social graces.
While many of these types of schools are no longer functioning today, I believe something can be said of the importance of living a life of elegance. There are so many crude and rude people in today’s society. This makes no sense to me, especially living in the modern age of the 21st century. I would like to think that we as a society have grown beyond crude and rude, right?
In this post, I’d like for us to consider living a life filled with more elegance, more grace, and more refinement.
5 Ways to Live With More Elegance
- Dress up more. Today’s society has gone too far over into the casual appearance. If you really want to make an impact with those around you, consider “suiting up” on a regular basis like Barney Stinson. Also, wear quality clothes that fit you well. If yours currently don’t fit very well, then get them professionally tailored or budget for more that do. Be classy and dignified in your appearance.
- Watch your table manners. Using your hands to eat, licking your fingers, and wiping your dirty hands on your shirt will probably earn you a bad rap, especially in a professional setting. Consider using the “old school” table manners with your napkin and left hand down in your lap. Use the proper silverware to bring the food to your mouth. Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t speak with food in your mouth, and so on.
- Float across the room. Do you walk like a trucker? Do you slouch? Do you hang your head and look down at the floor? Watch how today’s “power people” walk into a room. They walk with confident grace and ease.
- Speak with dignity. Have you ever recorded yourself speaking? Does your speech sound stilted, or do you have a pleasing tone and flow to your speaking? You might consider working with a vocal coach or joining Toastmasters International.
- Listen to more elegant music. I think some of the most elegant, intelligent music ever written comes from the Renaissance and Baroque time periods. Dial these two stations up on Pandora occasionally for a great “ear break” from today’s pop music noise. I’m listening to these two stations as I write this post.
Are You Living A Life Of Elegance?
How elegant is your life? Do you dress for success? Do you watch your manners at power lunches? Do you walk into a conference room with grace and ease? Do you have a pleasant speaking voice? Do you listen to quality music?
I would contend that living with more elegance in these five areas can dramatically improve your professional as well as personal life.
How about you? Do you have additional areas that you strive for elegance in your life? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.