March 1, 2012

The Importance of Random Acts of Kindness


Take a moment and write down how many people you’ve come into contact today. How many people you have connected with. How many you have spoken with (even for a moment) looked at, stood or sat near, emailed, or in some way communicated with.

Then think about this.

Every single one of those moments was an opportunity to make a difference to that person.

Every single one of those moments was a chance to not only make their day a little better, but to increase your own happiness.

Human beings thrive on social interactions. But, we must remember that we are also the authors of those moments.

As a leader, your impact on those other people is going to be magnified the greater the hierarchical distance between you and them.  While you may regard yourself as just another human being, your people look to you as much more. It’s both a responsibility and an opportunity to make a difference in the world that is uniquely available to leaders.

How can you make the most of this opportunity?

First of all ensure your people are operating at their full potential and are happy. It’s in your best interest and theirs.

By happy, I don’t mean giving in to all their demands if they’re behaving like a petulant child.

I mean creating learning opportunities for them to cause their own happiness in their work and lives. That’s the key to high performance.

When we’re happy, our brain secretes Dopamine into our system. This activates all the learning centres in the brain enabling you to learn better, cope and adapt more readily to the world. In the uncertainty of today’s world, this is critical for success.

According to Shawn Achor, the Author of The Happiness Advantage, you can increase happiness by simple exercises that take about two minutes a day.

Everyone has two minutes.

Every day write down three new things you are grateful for. Just three. In a month, your brain will be conditioned to automatically look for the positives in your life.

Journal one positive experience that you had today.  In doing so, you will relive that moment.

Send one email thanking or praising someone in your professional or social circle every day.

I’m certain I don’t have to sell you on the benefits of these three exercises. I’d love to hear your reactions.

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