It doesn’t take much effort to be a prick to others, but it doesn’t take any extra be a bloody legend. So why do we struggle with it so much?
In a world where we often let the smallest things ruin our day –
someone pulls out in front of you… no, they don’t even cut you off, but they do cause you the incredible disservice of having to lift your leg from the accelerator, shift it all the way across to the brake pedal, impose small to mild pressure to that pedal, slowing your car down 3-5k’s in speed… up go your arms! You scoff, you feel heat on the back of your neck, you may even call them a “fucking dickhead” for what they’ve done to you
– in a world where we let small acts like this bug us and turn us bitter and foul, in order to feel a little happier and a little less stressed. If we want to feel like things are starting to go our way, it really doesn’t take much effort to start:
- Viewing the world a little differently
- Giving a few small kind acts a day
and the impact it can have on your day, your week, your year… will be astronomical.
Currently our western world is totally caught up in wanting more, wanting what they have, comparing and complaining about what we don’t have, and feeling like a bitter shit about it most of the time.
The problem is two things:
- We don’t realise that these things we lack or don’t have, the things we think are the cause of all our unhappiness, they aren’t actually the answer to our happiness at all.
- Those things we could do with a little more of, we go the complete wrong way about trying to obtain things.
We are so quick to take, to see others as threats, to push others aside in order to gain more for ourselves. We perceive everyone else as problems and opponents and judges that we isolate ourselves from them. We think behaving this way is the only way to get ahead. There’s only one pie and we’d be fucked if we could share any of it. We really are a bunch of selfish little children.
What if we flipped it?
What if we did these two things:
1. Let the little negatives go.
It’s impossible to get through a day without hitting a few potholes, so why are you so hellbent on getting the perfect run? This is also known as the unicorn. It doesn’t exist and someone is always going to cut you off.
And hey, maybe, just maybe if we came from more of an empathy based mindset we could see all of these situations a little differently. What if that jerk that cut you off had just received tragic news? What if his wife was in labour? What if he had the meeting of his lifetime and was fretting about getting there on time? Who are we to judge? What if we could…
2. Do a teeny weeny kind act.
Something that seems like nothing, but to the other person it means the absolute world.
Letting someone in, telling someone they look great today, complimenting someone on their outfit, telling somebody they’re doing a great job at work or school, giving someone a high-5, making space for a disabled person to get through a busy crowd, picking up an old lady’s dropped change, paying for a strangers petrol, getting up 5mins earlier and making your wife a coffee (or breakfast in bed)… any tiny little act where you put someone else ahead of yourself.
You can make someone’s day with the most minuscule of effort. And guess what, unintentionally, you also get to feel pretty darn good about yourself too.
The more effortless acts of kindness you give and bring to the world, the more that comes back your way.
We have just gotten back from taking Harper on her dream holiday. She was spoilt with the ultimate Disneyland experience. She met and sat with and hugged and chatted to all of the ‘real’ Disney princesses, and she got to become a true princess herself with a fairy godmother makeover. Her mind was blown! If only I could see the trip through her eyes.
Now, if any little girl dresses up as a princess at Disneyland, you aren’t just a little girl dressed as a princess, you ARE a princess.
One evening while wandering through Downtown Disney, looking around, soaking up the atmosphere, we wander past a man changing a bin liner over. A man who in just about any other place would be invisible to guests and not required to interact with anybody as he goes about his non-too-flattering job.
But this is Disneyland and Harper is a princess.
So when this kind bin changing man saw Harper approach, he immediately stopped what he was doing, he graced Harper with a royal bow and proclaimed “your majesty” to her.
Court and my jaws were dropped, Harper’s smile as glowing as the moment she met her first princess, and the bin man… well, he cheerfully went back to his job.
Of all the incredible moments we experienced at Disneyland, that one was the defining one to me.
One simple act. An act you aren’t required to do. An act you’re not expected to do. But an act that has the power to make someone’s year.
And you want to know the most humbling and egoless part? You may never get to learn how much of an impact your kind act made on them. Our bin man will never know what his gesture did for our trip, but I’m sure he’s one of the most loved, appreciated and praised bin men getting around.