I love the lyrics of the song ‘Hands’ by Jewel. The song starts with the words…
If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all ok
And not to worry because worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I will not be made useless
I won't be idled with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
The song goes on and the words that I remember most are repeated twice…
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
A couple of weeks ago I was attending the annual World Domination Summit in Portland where Jonathan Fields kicked off the conference by delivering a powerful message that I needed to hear. He focused on 5 BE’s for living a good life:
- Be Intentional
- Be Open
- Be Kind
- Be You
- Be Still
I could relate to all of these but ‘Be Kind’ was the one that stood out. Kindness was a recurring theme throughout WDS this year. Everywhere I turned, people were being kind to one another.
It seems so simple. We all have a choice in every moment to either be kind or something else. And over and over, all weekend long, the people around me were choosing to be kind.
It was in-between the speaker sessions at the conference where I began to notice how the people around me affect how I feel, how I act and what I believe. I know many of these people and they truly practice kindness – not just at WDS, but in their everyday lives.
And this realization had me asking a question: how important is it to surround ourselves with genuinely kind people?
Who Do You Surround Yourself With?
This I know for sure. The people we choose to surround ourselves with end up having a huge impact on our lives. I’ve heard this quote over and over, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I've probably heard this over a thousand times but for some reason, these fews days at WDS taught me that surrounding yourself with “kind” people is the quickest path to a happy life.
With this in mind, I would like you to think about the people you’re spending time with.
Some people are more selfish, uncaring and maybe even unhealthy to be around. They are constantly focused on themselves and how everyone should be paying attention to their needs. You know the ones.
You can spend time trying to please these people or hope that they’ll change or you can choose to spend your time with people who are already kind. I’ve tried both and the later is much easier and more conducive to creating an amazing life.
So what makes someone a “kind” person? And what are the benefits of surrounding yourself with “kind” people?
Kind people aren’t saints, or at least they don’t have to be. They might spend their winter holidays feeding the hungry in their local soup kitchen or they may simply encourage you to follow your dreams. But the kind people in your life are positive, happy, supportive and easy to be around.
They are the ones that will inspire you to become a better person, provide you with motivation to achieve your goals, empower you to make the changes you need to succeed and cheer you on when you need it the most.
One of the kindest people I know is my wife Jill. She constantly inspires me to become the best version of myself. And she always makes people feel better after they’ve spent time with her. She exudes kindness. And I am lucky to have her as my wife and best friend.
My grandmother (Nana) was also kind. She passed away just over a year ago. She was 93 years old. Nana always made sure that my sister and I had a fun place to go after school. She and my grandpa took us to the beach every spring break. She was at my sporting events cheering me on all the way through high school. She came a visited me when I went away to college. She bought me my first drink when I turned 21. Nana made everything special because of her kindness. She didn’t have to do these things. But she chose kindness over convenience.
And my good friend Michael always chooses kindness. He recently stayed with Jill and I for a few days after returning from a cross country bike tour. He was constantly offering to pick up items from the store or help out in any way that he could. He even groomed our hairy dog one morning. And while we were away last week, he came and walked Maggie every day. No one asked him to do it. He did it because he's kind.
Think About the People You Spend the Most Time With
Write down the qualities of the people you spend the most time with. Would you call them kind people? Happy people? Now think of how they interact and affect you.
Do they make you feel like you have what it takes to succeed?
Do they support you?
Do they make you feel attractive?
Do you feel happy and energized after spending time with them?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you’re probably already surrounded by kind people.
What Does Being “Kind” Mean to You?
People are different. There are things that make you happy that might not make me happy. Your idea of kindness and support may differ from the next person’s. The key is finding the people that are good for you.
So how do you do that?
Remember that like attracts like. As one of my good friends likes to say, “your vibe attracts your tribe.”
As Jonathan Fields suggests, you also have to BE yourself. This will lead you to the people that are right for you. Your kind of people.
And when you’re surrounded by kind people, you’re surrounded by the best that life has to offer. You’ll be less stressed and find more joy. You’ll surrender to ease and stop trying to push so hard. You’ll feel more in the flow.
Make a commitment to start spending more time with the genuinely kind people in your life. You will be enriched beyond measure and you just might bless others in the process.
Here’s one thing I know for sure…
In the end only kindness matters.