This column is for people of any age and background who want to have a positive impact. It will provide very concrete and actionable ideas about how to do that. It will focus on how to find work that allows you to have a positive impact, and how to act at work in a positive way. It will give examples of how to live your life in a way that has a positive impact. Finally, it will provide examples of how to lead others in a way that has a positive impact on them. This blog is supported by the website www.workforthecommongood.com.
We are focusing in today’s blog on how to live a life that has a positive impact on others, and how a ten second action done repeatedly for the right reason can impact large numbers of people in a very positive way.
The phrase “random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” is attributed to Anne Herbert. The book Random Act of Kindness was published in February 1993 by The Editors of Conari Press. That book was updated in 2013 as Random Acts of Kindness Then and Now: The 20th Anniversary of a Simple Idea That Changes Lives. Both books provide many examples of these kinds of acts.
The two key ingredients in a random act of kindness are that it is being done spontaneously and without the thought of receiving anything in return.
The Random Acts of Kindness organization – randomactsofkindness.org – provides research examples that show the benefits of performing acts of kindness with people. Here are two of the many examples they provide on their website:
- Witnessing acts of kindness produces Oxytocin, which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we’re anxious or shy in a social situation.
- Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortune are increased.
Another valuable resource for specific examples of how kindness can increase one’s mental and physical health can be found at The Greater Good Science Center – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The idea of acting kind is not some squishy do-gooder way of looking at life. It is a way of life that has benefits for many. It has also become a global movement.
The Australian Kindness Movement – www.kindness.org/au – provides information about the World Kindness Movement that was formed during a conference in Tokyo in 1997 hosted by the Small Kindness Movement of Japan. “The ‘declaration of kindness’, signed by representatives of the countries present at the 1997 conference, reads as follows:
In acknowledgment of the fundamental importance of simple human kindness as a basic condition of a satisfying and meaningful life, we hereby declare the establishment of the World Kindness Movement.”
The Kindness Organization concludes with the following, “Kindness is a ‘heart to heart’ communication, and experience that many people hunger for. Mother Theresa pointed out that ‘there is hunger for ordinary bread, and there is hunger for love, for kindness, for thoughtfulness; and this is the great poverty that makes people suffer so much.’ As the reality of being kinder to each other spreads throughout the world under the auspices of the World Kindness Movement and other kindness organizations, the character of people will change to express a more friendly and positive relationship. The heightened sense of relating to others will help dissipate the meanness created by our competitive, greedy, and materialistic society.”
In conclusion, if you are currently or decide in the future to open yourself to the power of a brief, spontaneous act of kindness as those opportunities present themselves, that way of acting has the potential to help you, the recipient and those who witness the random act of kindness to feel better and possibly be healthier