I have read around 20 books this year and the most impactful has been ‘The five side effects of kindness‘ by Dr David Hamilton. As the twists of fate had it David and I would become friends in 2017 and the impact of his book has been greater than he would ever know (until now). The principle is pretty straight forward. When you are kind to someone else the benefits to them are obviously great but not many people think of the benefits to themselves. David’s book delves into this and provides 5 significant areas where kindness can help you. The thing I love most about this book is it comes from a scientific point of view and not just a philosophical one. I am not going to go into the science here as that is his area of expertise but in summary:
- Being kind to others makes you feel happier
- Being kind to others is better for your heart – literally
- Being kind to others slows down your ageing – not literally – physically 😉
- Being kind to others improves your relationships
- Being kind to others is contagious
The key, in my opinion, is that it has to be genuine. You cannot read this list and then fake kindness hoping for the same benefits. It has to come from the heart and be meant. It can be from the smallest gesture of opening a door for someone and smiling as they walk through it to genuinely helping someone in their life or business.
The great thing with this potential new habit is you can use it every day and trust me when I say it takes practice. Life hack is a trendy statement at the moment. It essentially means something that will make your life easier. Trust me when I recommend this as a life hack….
Be kind in difficult situations with difficult people
It will instantly transform how you feel and you will also see a huge difference in how they respond. It can actually be perversely satisfying to witness someone’s reaction when they think you may have one response and you give them a much healthier one. It really is a win/win.
Now I am going to move gingerly on to a hot topic……. Equality!!
I can hear you now ‘no Kris, don’t do it’
I am 100% behind any initiative that promotes equality. I do however feel there are so many more layers to the issue than just women and men. It is way too overwhelming a concept for me to think that 3.75 billion women should be given equal status and opportunities as 3.75 billion men. How many of those men also have unequal status and opportunities to other men? How many women are there who have unequal status and opportunities to other women? 7.5 billion people on the planet, is it really as easy as saying women and men should be given equal status and opportunities when there are so many layers to it socially.
In my opinion we have to address equality across all areas, socioeconomic and race. Ultimately we all have so much more in common than we do in difference. If we can find ways of addressing the similarities we have then we may have a chance of having genuinely healthy conversations.
Last night we had SPOTY, the UK’s sports personality of the year awards. For the main award there were 8 men and 4 women on the list for the British public to vote for. Unfortunately the 4 women finished at the bottom of the list. I have a quick look on twitter and it is a cesspool of nonsense with people arguing about why this is the case. All the usual crap spouted about how women’s sport is nowhere near as good as the men so why should people watch it. I tweeted this post in response.
There are so many different talking points when it comes to equality in sport and one of observations I have made is many people are in danger of making the issue men versus women. It feels like some men are thinking if more girls are playing sport then less boys will be. It is such an emotive topic that it has to be handled carefully and the only possible way of progress is for people to be kind and considerate when thinking and talking about it. We need to work together to come up with solutions so my challenge to you is this….
Practice being kind especially when it is a topic you feel strongly against. You may just find out the similarities you have with the other person and when you find common ground you will be surprised how quickly you can work together to find solutions.
Take a look at David’s book. It is a great read and I do genuinely believe it could have transformational potential if implemented.