Road Rage. Bullying. Bad customer service. Mudslinging politics. The economy. The price of gasoline...and on and on. The litany of what can make us angry, irritated, exhausted and disheartened seems endless, reinforced from an endless media stream that bombards us from the television, radio, internet and more. I’m sure that each of us can easily come up with a list of the top 5-10 things that lean on us in a negative way.
What I propose, instead, is that we change our focus, intentionally, on things that lift--and here’s the catch--not us, but others. For starters, a handful of simple acts of kindness can go a long, long way.
Six Simple Acts of Kindness for Spirit Lifting.
Simple Act #1. Yield. Make room in your lane for other vehicles to enter. Drive kindly. Lay off the horn. Slow down. Become the antithesis of the road rager. Do this often and endlessly. And don’t forget, there are countless new drivers on the road. Even better, give everyone the respect and patience you need to offer those rookie drivers.
Simple Act #2. Turn Off Your Cell Phone. I don’t just mean in waiting rooms, theaters and in restaurants. Impossible? Try this, if you must take a call on your cell phone, apologize, step out of earshot from other people and speak quietly. If you’re with other people and not expecting a call, turn your cell phone off.
Simple Act #3. Hold the Door. This is an easy one. When entering a doorway, pause—yes pause—long enough to hold the door for those who wish to enter or exit. For bonus spirit lifting, look for people with packages, small children, or strollers and gracefully move ahead of the person to get to and hold the door. For maximum spirit lifting, see someone struggling with packages while entering a neighboring office, dash out of your office, and help with the packages and the door.
Simple Act #4. Greet People with a Smile. Another easy one. There should be endless opportunities throughout the day for this one. See a person, say, “Hello,” and smile. Answer the phone with a smile (it makes a difference--try it). Begin the morning at the office, with, “Good morning” and a smile. Employees and volunteers in reception areas of stores, schools, and offices can brighten people’s days with their smiles. The nice thing about smiling is that it’s good for them and good for you, too. A great gift that doesn't cost a dime.
Simple Act #5. Pick up the Trash. If you see a piece of trash, pick it up. Start with this: On your way from your car to your office building, or from your house to your street, pick up any paper that has blown into your path. In addition to keeping the area attractive, this simple act tends to be contagious.
Simple Act #6. Stand Up. Always a sign of respect, this simple act of kindness extends beyond a judge walking into a courtroom, the president entering a room, or a bride walking down an aisle. Stand when you shake hands, when someone joins you and you are seated, and when someone gets up from or comes back to your dinner table.
We live in a world of instant information that travels fast and far and reminds us of things without easy solutions. Gun violence, homelessness, hunger, war and poverty, to name a few. It seems impossible or overwhelming at times, to make a positive difference in the face of these enormous issues. Acts of kindness and daily acts of selfless giving are within our easy reach. Moving forward, keep in mind the simple phrase, How can I help you?
About the Author:
Cathleen Hanson is co-director and founder of The International School of Protocol, the leader in providing training and consultation services to those who want to enhance their interpersonal skills and personal effectiveness in business and social relationships. The International School of Protocol provides the highest caliber of protocol and etiquette training for businesses, corporations, colleges, schools, teachers, youth and individuals.
Click the following link to learn more about: Cathleen Hanson