The Power and Importance of Kindness

I’ve heard it said that “nice guys finish last”. I say this respectfully, but that’s completely untrue. The winners in life are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Kindness is a strength, not a weakness.

Right now you might be thinking to yourself, who is this guy? Great question — it’s important to always vet the people you listen to. I’ve published two books, one of them a bestseller, and I’m about to publish my third book next month. I’m an international keynote speaker on anti-bullying, suicide prevention, and authentic leadership. I’m also a humanitarian, having donated most of the proceeds of my last book Reach Your Mountaintop to Newtown Youth & Family Services.

Kindness is Important

In my decades of research, direct interviews with dozens of the most successful people in history, and while I was getting my Master’s degree at Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business, I discovered kindness to be an extremely important quality. Kindness helps other people to feel valued and important. Kindness also motivates people to perform at higher levels.

This isn’t motivation or philosophy. This is science. Being kind to others improves their self-esteem, which in turn allows them to do a better job for you. Being kind can:

  • Help someone get through a bad day.
  • Remind someone they are worthy when they are feeling worthless.
  • Motivate someone to peak performance.
  • Prevent someone from doing something tragic.
  • Improve your network and expand your influence.
  • Get you an important business deal.

These benefits are only the tip of the iceberg, but they are a great start. The point I’m making is that being kind helps both you and others to win at life.

Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not advocating for you to let people use you or walk all over for you, and I’m all for assertiveness when the situation calls for it. I’m just saying that our default way of being needs to be kindness, interspersed with moments of frustration or standing up for yourself. The challenge with our society is that right now, for many people, their default way of being is to be judgmental and mean. But this is detrimental to their long-term success and discourages others from reaching their full potential.

One Smile Can Literally Change Someone’s Life

If what I said hasn’t sold you on the value of being kind, I don’t blame you. Our media and society inundates us on a daily basis with the ideas that it’s cool to be a jerk and mean people win. But before this article ends, there’s one more story I feel compelled to share with you.

I was reading John Izzo’s book The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die. In the book, he shared a powerful story of meeting a stranger at his mother’s funeral. No one at the funeral knew who this lady was, so John approached her and asked her who she was.

“Many years ago,” the woman said to John, “I was on a bus taking public transportation. I was at the rock bottom worst moment of my life, and I was fully ready to take my own life later that day. But your mom happened to sit next to me on the bus. She engaged me by smiling at me and asking how I was doing. She genuinely cared and listened to my concerns. Your mom’s kindness literally saved my life — when I got off the bus, I decided I wasn’t going to commit suicide based on the conversation I had with her. When I saw in the paper all these years later that she had passed away, I recognized her picture and realized I had to come to the funeral.”

John and the woman both cried together, remembering the power of the kindness of John’s mother.

Don’t Let Society Brainwash You

Our society has sold us a bill of goods that being mean is acceptable and normal. The truth is being mean isn’t acceptable or normal at all, and it in fact is a sign of weakness and an expression of poor character. The real man or woman knows kindness is the best way to be. It not only benefits your life, but equally importantly it benefits the lives of others.

Be kind to everyone you encounter, for you never know what internal struggle someone else is facing. Someone may be pretending like everything’s fine, but beneath their facade they may be struggling with demons or thinking they’re not good enough. One smile, one kind word has the potential to make someone’s day.

Jeff Davis is a world-renowned professional speaker. To learn more about how to achieve success, please visit his website.

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