Lots of folks read books and articles on success. Did you know that kindness is one of the main attributes of successful people?
Kindness is something we can all have in common. Think of some of the most successful people you know or have heard of throughout history. We know they were driven and focused to be successful. We know they were persistent. However, one of the attributes that is many times overlooked is the kindness factor. Were they kind?
How is kindness linked to success? When someone is truly successful, and confident in their competence, are they more likely to be solitary or social? Networking is a major component of success. In order to be good at networking, it’s probably a good idea to be likable.
In order to be likable, it’s probably a good idea to be nice. Showing interest in others goes a long way in getting people to like you. Think about it- if you talk with someone who ONLY talks about themselves and never asks you how you are doing, you probably, even on a subconscious level, don’t want to spend a ton of time around that person. If, on the other hand, you run into someone and they remember something that was important to you and ask you how you are doing, then you are probably more inclined to like that person. They took an interest in you and your well-being, so it makes it easier to like them.
It may seem ironic, but the more successful someone is, the more generous they typically are. Either with their time, their mentorship and even their money. Successful people are generous givers. They focus on giving much more than they focus on getting.
In business, as in life, when we share the pie, the pie grows.
There is a story I heard many years back that goes something like this: A family was moving from one town to another. They had their belongings on the wagon train and they passed an old woman sitting on the side of the road. They asked the old woman, “We are moving to this new city. Can you tell us what it’s like?” The old woman asked, “What was it like where you came from?” They said, “It was great! The people were so nice- we hated to move.” The old woman replied, “Well, don’t worry, it’s just like that here, too.” The family was overjoyed. They thanked the old woman and happily went on their way, excited to be moving into a new town that was just like their old one.
A little while later, another family came along. The same old woman was sitting by the roadside. They asked the woman, “We are moving to this new town. Can you tell us what it’s like?” The old woman responded, “What was it like where you came from?” They told her, “It was awful- we couldn’t wait to leave! The people were rude and it was a terrible place to live.” The old woman responded, “I’m sorry. It’s like that here, too.”
That story made a big impact on me, personally. It reminded me that people generally treat you how you treat them. The Golden Rule.
So, practicing kindness seems to be something that should start as early in life as possible. The younger kids start a habit, good or bad, the longer it will last. Kids mimic what they see, hear and feel. They become the product of their environment.
Results come from habits. Habits come from repeated efforts. Conscious efforts lead to subconscious habits. Good habits lead to good results. Whether there are just a few things you’d like to change for the better, or you need a life overhaul, start with one thing. One small, attainable thing. Once you have mastered that skill, move on to another. If you made one small change every 30 days, at the end of a year, you would have 12 new positive habits!
For instance, if you decided to read for 30 minutes a day, every day, at the end of a month, you’d have read quite a bit. If you decided to add ten minutes of walking every day to your routine, you’d feel better. If you decided to make a habit of smiling at least ten times a day, you’d probably find that it gets easier and easier and people become more responsive to you.
Whatever we practice we get better at. What we are thinking, we are becoming, so we might as well think positively. And kindly.