A few days ago, seven of us were on a birthday cycling ride when we were “buzzed” – cycling lingo for a cyclist being passed fast and close by a car. After the close call, we decided to all stop and discuss.
“People get crazy around the holidays,” Jerry blurted out.
“You’re telling me,“ replied the Birthday Boy. “I just bought a new condo in Florida and last week, just across the street from me, one neighbor shot another over a dispute about Christmas lights!”
Yikes! Their conversation caused me to have a flashback to an impactful event from early in my career. About 25 years ago, I was to follow a keynote speaker, who all I knew was some professor at Bakersfield College in California. He’d just started speaking when I slipped into the auditorium but he immediately got my attention. His topic was on kindness and he’d just written a book titled “Random Acts of Kindness.” I was engrossed, pledged to myself to follow his advice, and have kept that phrase rattling around in my head ever since.
This conversation on the side of the road with my cycling group prompted me to Google random acts of kindness. There were numerous books available with a similar, if not the same title, but sadly I learned that Professor White had passed away at the age of 80.
I then stumbled into, what I imagine to be Professor White’s legacy (at least it is to me) – the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. I encourage you to visit their website randomactsofkindness.org and at the very least download the PDF of their 2023 calendar. It’s terrific.
Now, back to the gift that keeps on giving. Think of the last time you did someone a favor that was not solicited. I’m sure it was appreciated, yet at the same time I’m also certain you felt really good about it – it triggered the flow of oxytocin in your brain. If you, me, your clients, COIs, friends, and neighbors pledged to engage in one random act of kindness a day we would feel better about ourselves and help make the world a better place. Full confession – I’ve failed at the daily execution, but have engaged in these acts of kindness more often than not – and I hope it’s made me a better person. And like me, the mantra random act of kindness is likely to be rattling around in a lot more brains.
If we all work hard, we can develop this into a habit – and we can play a small part in reducing the current level of rancor. Random acts of kindness are truly gifts that keep on giving.
Let me leave you with the words of Mark Twain on this topic – “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”