I was so fortunate as a child. My parents adored each other, and the most important thing in their lives was my brother, sister, and me. They instilled in us the belief that we could accomplish anything we set our minds to. I have never thought of myself as less than anyone else, and I have never suffered from imposter syndrome. Exposure to music, the arts, and sports was important. I loved my piano and ice-skating lessons, and there was never an expectation that I’d one day accompany a symphony or be in the Olympics. I participated simply for the learning and joy that it brought.
While I believe that we learn and are influenced more by what we see than by what we are told, there are some things I wish I would have been explicitly told as a child. Maybe I was and I don’t remember, but at this stage of life, these are my guiding principles:
• Being kind to others is more important than anything else.
• People will remember you for the way you make them feel.
• Listening is more important than talking.
• Hearing others’ ideas and perspectives helps us learn more.
• No one likes a know-it-all.
• Speaking first does not make you the smartest person in the room.
• People process information differently.
• Perception is reality.
• Others’ opinions of you shouldn’t change your principles, but they should inspire self-reflection.
• Not everyone has the same perspective as you. In fact, most don’t.
• Treat others the way you want to be treated yourself.
• Exercise compassion and empathy.
• Humor really is the best medicine.
These principles stem from a common root—kindness—the simple act of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Volumes of scientific research have been conducted to measure its impact, and it’s even been linked to increased mental and physical health. Kind people tend to be happier, more energetic, and live longer. But more importantly, kindness is contagious. Witnessing kindness can increase our likelihood to be more kind. This compassion for others can be a force multiplier in unifying humanity. Even the simplest word possesses this power. Let’s make a conscious effort to be kind to each other, and ourselves.
So, how are you going to spread kindness today?
All the best –