“Before you speak, ask if what you’re about to say is kind, necessary, true, and better than silence.”
—Barbara Ann Kipfer, Author of Self Meditation
Image from DLKT Kids
Filters can be very helpful things.
Consider water filters over the centuries. They have improved the sanitation of our towns and cities. They have helped us all live longer, healthier lives by removing all types of bacteria and other substances.
These days, our airways are filled with toxins through various forms of communications and include our daily conversations. It’s actually a form of communication pollution, which can also make us sick.
What would be the benefit in your personal or professional worlds if, beyond silence, we all filtered out all the unkind and unnecessary statements before they left our lips?
What would be possible if all people took this coaching?
“As much as we need a prosperous economy, we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency.”
—Caroline Kennedy, American author, attorney, and diplomat
Image from Unsplash by Matthew Feeney
In ancient times, and even into the 1800s, the tallest buildings almost anywhere in the world were usually churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or other spiritual centers.
In his book, The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell explains that making these buildings the tallest pointed to the society’s priorities and core values, which included fundamental human decency and kindness.
Today, the tallest buildings across the world are almost always business buildings, demonstrating the economic priorities of wealth and material achievement.
What does leading a prosperous life mean to you? How would infusing even more kindness and decency benefit you and your personal and professional communities?
“Even a monster backs off when one feeds it lovingly.”
image from Photobucket by Seldric
Over 40 years ago, I worked my way through school as a “Deli Man” at a popular restaurant in Philadelphia called Jacks. I earned a whopping $36 for my 12-hour, Saturday night shift.
Saturday was the busiest day of the week, since many customers were purchasing ingredients for the traditional Sunday brunches held in the neighborhood.
One day, I noticed that all the other Deli Men had taken their 30-minute breaks just as a particular customer came to the counter. They left me with the woman they called “The Deli Monster,” because she was never satisfied and complained about everything.
Somewhere along the line, I had heard someone say “kill them with kindness,” so I determined to meet and exceed her every desire. She practically adopted me, and I became her favorite Deli Man for the rest of my time at the restaurant!
Who are some of the monsters that terrorize your personal and professional worlds?
Where would a kinder, more loving approach do the trick and have them back off as well as become a friend or ally?
“Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.”
—Melissa Marchonna, Digital Marketer for the New York Jets
Photo from Boulder Writers Workshop
A few weeks ago my wife Wendy and I had a movie marathon. We saw four moves over the course of one weekend. One was Disney’s new, and I would say highly improved, Cinderella.
The theme of the new Cinderella was to have courage and be kind, not simply to marry the handsome prince and live “happily ever after.”
This advice is all the more timely given the fact that women still earn only 78% of what their male counterparts earn. They still hold only a modest percentage of leadership roles within the business world.
Where in your professional and personal worlds could you encourage and support your daughters, sons, friends, and colleagues to have more courage and be kinder in their efforts? What can you do to help them shatter the “glass ceilings” they may encounter, so they can live a more accomplished and satisfying life?
“Throw Kindness around like Confetti.”
My father Marvin, my wife Wendy, my daughter Rachel, and me.
I was showered in kindness for ten days in February, when I went to Florida to visit my dad and my wife, who cares for him during the winter months. It helps me escape the bitter cold and have some company for Valentine’s Day, and my birthday on February 16th. I’m now 58 years young! Beyond the initial happiness of seeing my wife Wendy and dad Marvin, my daughter Rachel—who lives in Pennsylvania—surprised me at the airport and let me know that she wanted to help make my visit even more special.
Wendy further surprised me with a new summer wardrobe and a gift bag holding 4 passports. Bright and early the next morning we began a 10-day cruise to Aruba, Curacao, the Panama Canal, and Costa Rica.
Thanks to my wife, we enjoyed snorkeling adventures, private beaches, on-board cooking lessons, boat tours, and even an hour-long zip line adventure with my 88-year-old father and my daughter.
Of particular note throughout our adventure were the countless gestures of kindness shown to all of us from the extraordinary staff and crew of the Holland American ship The Zunderdam.
In what ways and with whom can you shower the confetti of kindness over those you care about, today and every day?
“Life is mostly froth and bubble, two things stand like stone. Kindness in another’s trouble, courage in your own.”
—Adam Lindsay Gordon, 19th century Australian poet, jockey and politician
We all know the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff…” In today’s quote, Gordon equates the small stuff with “froth and bubble,” making clear that the small stuff has little or no substance.
But what about the important stuff – the things that require our full attention and commitment?
Gordon is clear in this: be there for others when they are in need, and summon the courage to live our lives to the fullest.
Examine your own life for areas of “froth and bubble,” and choose instead to strengthen the two foundation stones of kindness and courage.
“Kindness causes us to learn, and to forget, many things.”
– Madame Swetchine, 18th Century Russian Mystic & Writer
What would happen if we lived in a much kinder world?
Today’s quote suggests first that we would learn more, perhaps due to the openness and receptivity kindness provides.
We would also forget many of life’s speed bumps because kindness has the capacity to help us forgive others and jettison the memories that hold us back.
How can you intentionally and generously expand your level of kindness to those in your professional and personal worlds?
Notice what this effort helps you learn, and perhaps forget, through the process.
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.”
– Albert Schweitzer, theologian and philosopher
Here in Michigan, we are preparing for the upcoming winter seasons. The leaves are changing color and starting to fall, and our mornings are beginning to get crisp and cool.
I personally like the idea of kindness as a proverbial defroster that we can use whenever we wish to bring greater warmth into our worlds.
Where (and to whom) can you extend greater kindness today, to increase your capacity to accomplish much?