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Increasing your chances of receiving the kindness of strangers

 

A little kindness goes a long way

A little kindness goes a long way (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)

This piece is about bad.

And good.

Mostly bad, though.

And how people you don’t even know may get you through all changes good and bad provided your heart is not closed off.

If you say you don’t like change, that you prefer things to just remain the same, yet you are doing nothing to keep them that way, you’re just letting life happen to you because you feel things are fine as they are and would always prefer they be that way.

Suddenly, with that kind of thinking, you become change’s latest victim.

We all eventually have simple triumphs, things that help us feel our lives are going pretty well at some point in time. When this happens, we can silently root for things to never change, that they always are the way they are then.

But change is something beyond all of our control. Rich people can control some of the change but ultimately the change that happens to them is beyond their control, too, just like poor people.

Why would anyone want things to not change?

If things would not change, life would be a whole lot easier, but probably way more boring, too. For instance, let’s say you’re happy with your professional life. You don’t ever want things to change there. You go about doing things in your professional life to the point that you become one of the recognized leaders in your field. Your success is spread out on the table for all to view. You feel that things can stay the same provided your professional performance remains at unparalleled levels.

This kind of thinking can be a mistake.

Just because we become static in our jobs does not mean we are allowed to keep everything the same. Nothing is within our control when it comes to professional lifestyles. Change is constant they say. But at the professional level, change can be daily–and we are at a loss to control it unless we are the ones pulling the strings.

In our personal lives we can have more of a semblance of routine and a sense of control. But we should not ever fool ourselves into thinking we have complete control there, either. Just when we think everything is fine is when our personal lives can be turned upside down.

So how can we best roll with change since we cannot control a lot of the things that may happen to us personally and professionally?

In a couple of words…

Kindness.

And graciousness.

To be kind and gracious is not something that just nice guys do. But it’s mostly nice guys that are. And to be clear, nice guys don’t finish last. They just live a lot longer than bad guys because they are kind (and gracious) to the right people. Maybe living longer is viewed unfavorably in some circles, so I suppose that could be considered finishing last? Like the old one liner…”Why do men die before their wives? Because they want to!” Ba-doom-boom!

Seriously, I do feel Chili bowl was wrong when he sang “only the good die young.” Fact is, bad people are more likely to die young since they are more likely to commit bad acts that good guys will not. Bad guys and good guys take risks. Risk taking is necessary for all of us to one extent or another. It’s just that bad guys have a habit of taking the kinds of risks that imperil their health. So to put it another way, while some people may feel nice guys finish last, I would suggest bad guys just don’t finish at all.

Someone once told me you never know who you’re talking to. That in and of itself should be reason and cause for most of us to live in a kind and gracious manner, doing the right thing. But sometimes when bad change comes along, even the kindest and most gracious of us can be driven to adopt a new way of thinking, a new attitude, that is seemingly not too far removed from the impetus of the change itself.

When bad change comes there is temptation to think unkindly and to act ungraciously. It’s pretty difficult to take the high road, but revenge is not something the good guys will typically seek out. That is because that while to bad guys revenge may be sweet, to the good guys, living well is sweeter. Plus, revenge does not even the score, let alone change the negative things that have transpired.

Bad change is atop most of us before we can see it coming. By the time it gets here, we may have alienated or lost the persons closest to us who might have helped the most. It’s at times like these we are most vulnerable and could use a helping hand.

So what not to do?

If you live your life like a rude ass, not ever ingratiating yourself to even your best friends, acquaintances and associates (like bad guys can do), you will not ever know the kindness of strangers (like good guys do) because you won’t recognize it as it passes you by.

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