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  • Scott McInnes

The Benefits of Being Kind

My Granny died in 2004 - we still miss her and her little truisms. (This is her lovely photo above)

One of her often-used lines, which I keep with me, was 'It's nice to be nice'. It takes very little to be a decent human being, very little to do a small thing for someone else.

But every day I see the total opposite.

I live on a busy road and every day we have trouble getting out of our drive. Although there's stationary traffic often only 50m down the road, other motorists will literally drive around you to keep going. They just won't take the five seconds to gently apply the brakes, flash their lights and let me pull out.

It drives me nuts and it's a reflection of society today.

I tend to be the opposite (much to my wife's dismay sometimes) - I let everybody out. It costs me nothing, gets them out of a potentially tricky (or even dangerous) situation, and I get a bit of a buzz as a result from the smile or jolly wave that tends to follow.

It's really easy to choose not to do something nice. But it's exactly that - A CHOICE!

Being Kind at Work

Often we see people at work who take that other path too - 'I'm too busy to help', 'I'll just keep my head down and get my own work done', 'It's my lunch break and I'm not giving that up', 'It's not my job'!

Imagine how much nicer a workplace would be (in fact the world in general) if everyone stopped, took stock and made the choice to do the 'other' thing.

Being nice has benefits for the receiver of course but, in return, it also has benefits for the giver.

The Benefits of Being Nice

1. It creates a sense of community: When you do something nice for someone else, often the positive effects go beyond just you and that other person. I got caught in a torrential downpour a couple of years ago and stopped to shelter under a tree. A car passed, slowed and carried on and then, a minute later, returned to give me a lift. Despite my protestations, they insisted on giving me a lift the last 200m home.

"Pay it on," they said. Which I did the very next day when I saw a man walking with his shopping and a 10kg sack of spuds; and gave him a lift home.

2. You'll get more back: Studies also show that what goes around generally does come around. More specifically, when people make altruistic personal sacrifices, they end up reaping what they sow in the form of favours from others.

3. You'll feel less stressed: When you feel stressed and overwhelmed, you may feel like you’re least able to give. However, studies have shown that the act of giving can activate the area of the brain associated with positive feelings, lifting your spirits and making you feel better the more you give.

So think about how you can do something nice and benefit a little from the experience yourself. If you manage a team, setting an example of decency is one of the more impactful things you can do.

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