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Survival of the kindest

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I was standing in a queue at the security screening point of a busy airport last week, watching the digital screens above with their key messages reminding all customers to be kind. I then listened to the announcement over the PA system from the flight crew, again, reminding us to be kind to fellow passengers and crew. Last week, I walked into a café and was greeted by a sticker on the counter asking me, as a customer, to be kind. These various messages left me feeling that we are fighting to sustain kindness in our society – and this is perhaps more serious than we think.

According to biologists such as Darwin, in humanity’s evolution, cooperation has been more important to success than competition. For the human race as a species, compassion has been critical to our survival and ability to thrive! Perhaps it’s the kindest of us who will survive these crazy times and the years ahead with the least amount of pain and resistance.

There used to be an unwritten law in society that kindness and compassion were the basis for how you approached others and operated in the world. However, many people are now in self-preservation and self-protection mode, dealing with so much fear and trauma – and kindness has been one of the first traits to be impacted.

Can kindness be learned and relearned? Is it inherent, or changeable? I want to believe that we are fundamentally kind, even if maybe that kindness gets lost sometimes. So where do we, as a society, need to focus on dialing up kindness so that the whole human race can evolve?

Well, look no further than the person who next serves you today – a fellow human being interacting with you to:

  • provide you with a product or service
  • fix your problem
  • help you
  • care for you.

If they have an attitude of kindness, they will be able to access empathy and tap into your needs more effectively.

Right now, people in customer-facing roles are critical to kindness surviving and to keeping our society alive and thriving. Small acts of kindness can go a long way these days, and they can completely turn situations around to become far more uplifting and positive.

Question

Where can you perform a small act of kindness today for someone else?

Practice

Not sure where to start practising more kindness? Perhaps the first place to begin is with yourself. The fundamental question each of us could ask more often is, ‘Am I being kind to myself?’ After all, the way you treat yourself shapes and nourishes the way you approach everything else.


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