On Being Kind To People

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

- Leo Buscaglia

We live in a world where, all too often, we want more. More money. More success. More personal brand power. More respect. However, if we think carefully about our lives, we might acknowledge that we have everything that we need at this very moment. Yes, we can strive to improve our lives, but this should not detract from engaging in an act of kindness with the world around us.

We all have the ability to touch someones life. To think beyond our own needs and think of those around us - family, friends, colleagues, and strangers. After all, everyone has a constantly-changing story that is their life, and throughout the day we are met with challenges that drain our internal reservoirs to some extent. By simply being truly aware of and listening to those around us, we can start to consider, and then act on opportunities that may be appreciated, needed, and/or simply enjoyed.

Next time you're visiting a friend in the hospital, say something nice to the elderly lady in the bed across your friend. Or, when you see a person struggling to pay for their parking with a coin or note that the machine just won't accept, exchange their money for yours. Or simply just offer a warm smile to the receptionist or tea lady at your next meeting.

Fundamentally, kindness is an exchange based on respect. And the greatest reward is knowing that kindness is paid with kindness. A simple thank you. A smile in return. Or just knowing that you did something good.

Be kind.