We live in a world where "survival of the fittest" is the theme from birth.
We’re taught being the best and the brightest will open every door and have you leading the pack instead of trailing behind.
We are instructed to emit confidence at every turn, exuding strength and concealing weakness. Most of us live our lives trying to keep up or stay ahead of the crowd.
We were taught to understand that behind every smile, there lies an ulterior motive.
Suspicion and skepticism are tools that help us keep our heads above water and safely below the clouds.
There is no room for second best.
I can’t argue with the merits of the above, but I also feel somehow over time, the ingredients for living a successful life have completely underrated (if not neglected entirely) the importance of basic kindness.
Compassion does not a weakling make, yet so many of us fear wearing our hearts on our sleeve.
I'm not suggesting you to put your cards on the table — on every table — at every turn.
No, what I'm suggesting is a rewrite of the recipe for success and even a little tweaking on the definition of success altogether.
The truth is few of us will find complete satisfaction with life with no one on our speed dial, no one on our guest list and no one at our funeral (okay, you may not really be in a position to notice in that last one).
While personal success can be somewhat of a lone-wolf endeavor, it doesn’t have to be.
In fact, there are few success stories that don’t pay tribute to the people along the way who helped to light that initial spark, make that first introduction, donate to the cause or serve as inspiration.
The fact of the matter is we may be the ones who are entitled to take the credit for the work we do, but the final product of a life well-lived is always a collaborative effort of you and those you encountered along the way.
My point is this: It can be easy to pull the blinders on and stay the course.
But at some point, you will find life has a way of leading you to people, and from those people, opportunities and lessons follow.
We are all trying to stay the course, but no one is immune to the benefits of human kindness, generosity, empathy and companionship.
No one should be too proud or too “focused” to deny themselves the immeasurable wealth that comes from embracing and extending kindness to others.
Stefan Einhorn, author of "The Art Of Being Kind," says,
“There is a widespread belief that ruthless and self-centered people are the most successful when it comes to their careers. But being prepared to do anything to get ahead does not mean you will succeed in your ambitions.”
Instead, Einhorn believes,
“[...] being kind to our fellow human beings is a precondition to becoming truly successful. Goodness and kindness are the single most important factors when it comes to how successful we will be in our lives.”
Einhorn feels kindness is not a trait held only by the naïve. It is a tool used even by those looking to serve their own egotistical motivations (which may not be the sincerest form of kindness, but still count nonetheless).
These people understand that even without genuine intent, emitting this energy to others will allow them to portray a better self-image and help them in their interactions with others in business and life.
People are attracted to others who make them feel good about themselves. People are generous to those who have shown them generosity.
People want to work and invest in those people they feel reflect their own morals and ideals.
The road to success is paved with lessons and encounters, and you never know who you will meet along the way or come across again later on. In short, be kind to everyone you can.
You never know who’ll end up sitting across from you in that job interview.