While someone might define success as being able to achieve great heights in one’s chosen field, another might define a successful person as someone who ‘has left the world better than she found it’. No matter what your definition of success may be, does it have kindness factored in?
I believe that self leadership calls for us to be kind. Kindness is certainly not weakness. Instead, it empowers us to go beyond ourselves, to broaden our view of life, to look at situations and people from different perspectives. Kindness to others must not come out of a sense of guilt or an attempt to seek the limelight.
Is kindness an inherent quality? I think not. We learn kindness from the people we grow up with. And if we didn’t, we can always develop kindness.
Philip G. Zimbardo, a giant in the field of social psychology, a professor at Palo Alto University, a professor emeritus at Stanford University, is the president of the Heroic Imagination Project. Giving a commencement address at the University of Puget Sound he said, “You will be more likely to notice someone in need if you have developed the daily habit of opening yourself to other people by routinely noticing what others are doing and imagining what they are feeling.”
This is seconded by Stefan Klein in his book Survival of the Nicest “The willingness to do something for others is an attitude that one can practice until it is as natural as riding a bicycle. In time the fear of being exploited fades, and with the courage to give grows the feeling of freedom. The journey begins with curiosity. By experimenting with generosity, we have nothing to lose and much to gain, for selflessness makes us happy and transforms the world.”
While we learn kindness, we must also remember to be kind to ourselves. Without self-compassion, our practice of kindness will be a sham.
Keep it simple. The Buddha taught the virtue of making the “seven offerings that cost nothing”: . . . a compassionate eye, a smiling face, loving words, physical service, a warm heart, a seat, and lodging. — Jiko Kohno in Right View, Right Life: Insights of a Woman Buddhist Priest. I guess we now call these random acts of kindess. Surely we can do all these over a week.
Write yourself a letter expressing kindness and understanding towards your weaknesses. It could be one letter or a series of letter focussing on different areas.
Today I’m on ‘K’ of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. My theme is the A to Z of Self Leadership. I’m also undertaking the NaBloPoMo for April – the theme is ‘grow’ and the Ultimate Blog Challenge.