Recently I’ve been telling a lot of people that I think we, as a society, are increasingly showing a lack of basic human kindness toward each other. It seems we were a lot kinder to each other a mere 10 years ago. I think our full, busy and stressful lives have been a big contributor to our lack of kindness. We just don’t have time for it any more.

I have yet to find anyone who disagrees with me.

I wish someone would.

I think if we were just a little bit kinder to each other, we would all feel better, be less stressed, and feel a bit less isolated.

“Kind” is defined at the Dictionary.com as:

  1. of a good or benevolent nature or disposition, as a person: a kind and loving person.
  2. having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence: kind words.
  3. indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane (often fol. by to): to be kind to animals.
  4. British Dialect. loving; affectionate.

Have you seen that infamous bumper sticker “Practice Random Acts of Kindness”? I like that concept and yes, I used to pay the toll for the car behind me, until FastTrack, the automated toll payment system here in the San Francisco Bay Area, has put a slowdown to that random act. Instead now I pay for someone’s coffee.

So I think random acts of kindness are great, but they are just that…random. What if I actually go through my day consciously choosing to be kind to those whose paths I cross? What if I were to be a kind and loving person? What if all my words were kind words? What if I was considerate, helpful and humane to all beings? What if I was loving and affectionate even in those moments I think someone doesn’t deserve my love and affection?

Malcolm Cohan and I worked together to create a business that helped individuals and companies create Vision Statement Movies.  Vision Statement Movies are a great tool that has helped me be a kinder person in almost any situation. But what happens when that feeling of kindness is challenged, when you feel kindness drain from every pore of your being toward someone else. Before I react in a negative way, I just say “Totally Cool”. That’s it. Those are the magic words for me. “Totally Cool.” 

This gives me that second or two to gather my thoughts and answer the question, “What kind of a human being do I want to be in this situation?”

Try it. 

I also challenge you to try for a few days to consciously walk through your life with a goal to be a kind person.

When you are doing this, I hope our paths cross. Wouldn’t that be nice to come across a truly kind person when you need one the most?

“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