According to research, generosity is contagious, so a single act of kindness towards one person can potentially influence dozens of others. World Kindness Day, on Thursday 13 November, aims to inspire everyone to help change the world by doing one simple act of kindness. Why not get involved? It will make both you and the recipient feel good. Whether it’s offering up your seat on the train or making someone their first coffee of the day, Daisy Black gives us some things to think about.
“There was an article in a magazine recently called ‘The 15 Most Inspiring Acts of Kindness’. What stood out to me was the fact the acts were so varied. There are so many different ways to be kind – some of them you probably do already without even realising! It got me thinking about what kindness means to me. Here are some simple ways you can incorporate it into your life and into the workplace:
Kindness is a selfless act.
Being selfless is the key to kindness. Try to do something every day for which you will receive no ‘thank you’. Being praised should never be the driving force behind wanting to do something kind: do something because it will make someone else feel good. The easiest way to be selfless is to share (sharing is caring, after all!).
You can share material things, yes, but professionally speaking, the best way to be generous is to share knowledge. Take time out of your day to explain a new procedure in detail, clarify reasons behind a decision, or show someone how to do something better. It takes patience but it is something that can really make a difference. The knowledge you give them will not simply make their work easier today, but it will stay with them and help them every time they are faced with that task again.
‘No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.’
This was the moral of one of Aesop’s fables, and it’s often worth reminding ourselves just how true this statement is. It’s amazing to raise money for charity or to volunteer to help other people but it’s not possible for us to do things like that every day. Remember that, sometimes, it’s the smallest things that have the biggest effect. I was reminded of this last week on the bus – I wanted to know if the bus stopped on a particular road, but the bus driver didn’t know. Another passenger overheard my conversation and simply said, “Yes, you’re on the right bus.” It really didn’t take a lot from her, but it made a big difference to me.
Some other ideas – hold the door open for strangers; offer a seat to someone on the tube who looks like they’ve had a rough day; offer to make someone a drink; help someone with their suitcase up the stairs; you could even let someone stand under your umbrella with you. The little things can turn someone’s day around.
Be genuine, be present.
You can always hear in someone’s tone of voice when they don’t mean what they say. Being genuine is so crucial to being kind. Part of being kind is really meaning what you say: if you ask a question, listen to the answer and then you can respond accordingly rather than automatically. If you ask someone how their day is, ask because you’re interested, not just because it’s ‘polite’.
Learn from others and be grateful.
Everyone knows the amazing feeling you get when someone does something unexpected for you – faith in humanity is restored! There are kind people out there after all! So, next time someone does something kind for you, take time to think about how it made you feel and appreciate that someone has enabled you to feel like that. Be grateful for the feeling and then pass it onto someone else.
As a customer service business, we’re in a perfect position to be kind: kind to our customers, kind to our clients and kind to our colleagues. Kindness is defined as ‘having or showing a friendly, generous and considerate nature’. It knows no bounds: it transcends language, age and interests. As the author Mark Twain said, ‘kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see’. So today, on Thursday and every other day, celebrate World Kindness Day by thinking about what simple acts you can take to make a difference in someone else’s life. Not to mention, it will probably make you feel pretty good about yourself too.”
Daisy Black is Head of Learning and Development for Mitie Client Services.
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