It seems like over the last few years, there has been an explosion of motivational experts. If you spend any time at all on the web, you’ve probably witnessed what I’m talking about; it seems like everyone is suddenly a part time life coach or something. Without any effort, I’d estimate I see at least a half-dozen motivational quotes or links about success or entrepreneurship every day via Facebook and elsewhere. At times, I almost get a little cynical, but then I think to myself, “hey, at least maybe people are living in a slightly more self-aware fashion”. And how could that be bad, right? But one thing I don’t see so much of amongst all the advice about how we all have to have a vision, act on it, and constantly test and improve it is values. It’s easy to talk about practical steps and strategies, but what about some over-arching principles? In my world, the principles that guide my actions are probably more important than the actions themselves. Principles like remembering to stay centered in the present, to take care of myself, to recognize my own responsibility in any situation that displeases me, that sort of thing.
One thing that is more powerful than we think, and that we often forget about as we wind ourselves into hyperdrive to achieve, is the simple process of being kind. Simple kind acts throughout the day not only make you feel better, they create a ripple effect that makes others feel better, and those people probably spread a little more positivism themselves as a result. When I need a little refresher about the power of kindness, I pick up a book a friend gave me a few years ago called The Power of Nice and give it a skim. It’s an awesome little book written by two women in marketing who use a bunch of real-world anecdotes to demonstrate the incredible impact of just being nice. Like the time their firm landed a huge contract primarily because the doorman of their office building impressed their multimillion dollar client with his kind, friendly manner.
I don’t know if you’ll land a multimillion dollar contract by being nice today, but I bet something good will happen. I dare you to give it a try. Just for a day. Be nice. Say hello to strangers. Let someone else go first. Compliment someone. One thing I will guarantee is that you and at least a few people will have a slightly better day. And if you keep it up, maybe a better life.