I just finished a book titled Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam M. Grant PhD. This book takes a deep dive into three types of people, givers, matchers and takers. In it, the author makes a very compulsive argument about how having a kindness mindset can propel you to success.
Since the advent of reality TV, we (at least in the U.S.A.) have been fed the idea that takers are the ones who succeed in life. Takers know what they want from a relationship and will do whatever it takes to get it, no matter how what they do affects the other person. These people talk loud and bully their way to the top.
Matchers are always on the lookout for what they can get from a relationship. Their mantra is, “I’ll give you this if you’ll give me something I want in the future.” Matcher relationships are always a reciprocation.
While often perceived as doormats in our society especially by takers, Professor Grant’s argues that, in the long run, givers always come out on top. This is with one caveat, that they know how to set and maintain proper boundaries. If you are a person who would like to learn how to set those boundaries, then read his book.
The Kindness Mindset
‘No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
People who grow up in a small community realize that helping others isn’t something you do, but it’s just the way you are. People in these communities are always looking out for others. It seems they are born with the kindness mindset.
From running errands for an elderly neighbor, doing a quick shopping run for items missed off their shopping list, or helping them with their garden, giving gives you a sense of belonging and purpose. Being a constant giver develops a kindness mindset.
Crowding Out Kindness
In this modern, high-speed world, where it seems hardly anybody knows his or her neighbors; you can use random acts of kindness as a way to re-connect you with what’s really important in life.
Let’s define random acts of kindness as, “Something selfless that you do to help another being that they cannot do themselves, without any expectation of reward and without any fanfare or publicity. Just because you can.”
The thing about these random acts is they have the most wonderful ripple effect. What’s best is it can start with as simple as a smile and a hello, which can be very contagious.
What’s In It For You?
If you’re more of a matcher or taker, you might be thinking, “All of this random kindness sounds great, but what’s in it for ME?” Well, keep in mind that you don’t have to reap a material reward. Just the simple feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction you get from helping someone or something can be both long lasting and priceless.
Once you start building your kindness mindset, you’ll start looking for people to help. Once you do, you begin to realize that this is really what life is all about.
Humans are at their best in service to others. This is especially true when there is absolutely nothing you can gain by it, other than how it can develop you as a person.
As soon as your kindness mindset is activated, you begin looking for opportunities for random acts of kindness everywhere you go. This mindset will make you think differently, of how you’ll approach a situation, right from the get-go. Once you start taking advantage of these helping opportunities, you will begin changing as a person for the better.
You can add some flair to your random acts of kindness by carrying them out without the recipient knowing.
The following story explains this concept.
The Teenagers and the Elderly Woman
An elderly woman lived on a street that had a number of teenagers living close by. The house the woman lived had not been painted for 30 years.
As teenagers, they had time to watch the comings and goings of the neighborhood and they noticed that every Thursday morning the old woman went somewhere on the bus. She didn’t come home until 6 pm in the evening.
Wanting to help her, with military precision, they planned to jet-wash her entire house, clean the brickwork and paint the house. They would start the project as soon as she got on the bus the next Thursday morning, finishing by the time she got home in the evening.
Like clockwork, the old woman stuck to her routine. Finally, at 6 PM she got off the bus. The team watched from their hiding places in the garden as she walked to her house.
She continued walking, not noticing the new coat of paint until she walked through her front gate. Immediately, she turned and walked out of the gate, believing she was at the wrong house. Staring at the house for a long while in disbelief, she finally looked up and down the empty street trying to make some sense of it.
Eventually she walked through the gate, put her key in the door and went inside. While everyone on the street knew what had happened, nobody said a thing.
By now the teenagers were infected by the kindness mindset, so much they returned the following Thursday to dig and plant the garden!
As you can see, there’s definitely a buzz to helping people!
Once you get started, doing random acts of kindness becomes a welcome and satisfying lifestyle!
How Can You Start?
1. Start small.
An easy way to build you kindness mindset is to smile at people and say hello at every opportunity. You never know how impactful this might be. In fact, you might be the only person who acknowledges them that week.
Another easy opportunity is to pick up a piece of trash when you see it. You are doing good for the environment and your community.
2. Talk with older people.
Over the years I’ve found that you can learn a lot from older folks. Here’s something else. Older people enjoy talking, if you’re willing to listen.
Something to keep in mind is we will all be there soon enough. When we do arrive, we will be grateful for the people that acknowledge our worth in the community.
3. Open a door for someone.
A Kindness Mindset is Addictive and Contagious
The more you practice doing random acts of kindness, the better you will feel. An added benefit is, the more you do it, the more others will follow your lead.
A kindness mindset isn’t something most people are born with, but it is a skill that all of us can learn. As you adopt this mindset, you are taking responsibility for how and where you show up in life.
People we admire are those who do the right thing for no other reason than the fact that they CAN. This is especially true when nobody is watching.
You can be a person of Integrity, a person who leads by example. People will follow you because they see that you conduct yourself with a high moral code. By working from the heart, not from the head you are developing the kind of mindset that people admire. Not only that, it will propel you to true success.
Try it…you will be SO glad you did!