The Science of Kindness

  • “Kindness”: The quality or state of being Kind.
  • “Kind”: Compassion, charitable behavior, goodness and concern for others. 
  • The Dalai Lama: The latest financier in the study of Kindness.

Yes, that’s correct.  Last week, the Dalai Lama announced plans to donate $50,000 toward research on whether kindness and compassion can be promoted through meditation, taking place at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  This pre-meditated, not-so-random act of kindness on the Dalai Lama’s part really made me think…  What does kindness look like?  Why is it important?  And how does this warm and fuzzy, yet elusive word translate into the business world?
Every day we go into work.  Perhaps we clock in, put on our gear, scan the rising piles of documents in our cubicle or tidy up our classroom, and then…we’re off and running.  The day is flying by.  We’re racing through our to-do list, about to catch up, and before we know it…the day is done.  It’s going home time.
But what about those people, our coworkers, who are doing the exact same thing as us?  How are they doing?  How are they feeling?  Is it possible that we could somehow make a difference in their world?  That perhaps there is another reason we’re at this place for 40+ hours a week, beyond just a job?
It is amazing how you can sit right next to someone and have no idea what is going on in their life…their pain, struggles, insecurities, or perhaps even their joys.  We spend more waking hours in this environment than we do at home and yet, we can miss out on relationships literally sitting the next office space down.
Let’s not let this happen.
As leaders, we must always be looking for ways to serve, so let’s reach out…  Let’s be intentional with our work relationships and make kindness our mission.  Let’s be genuinely interested in our colleagues, and aware – to the best of our abilities – of what may be affecting them.  Let’s ask how they are doing and listen to their answers.  Compassion for others can pay dividends beyond our imagination. 
Yes, the work week is difficult.  There are deadlines to meet, requests to fulfill and stakeholders to please.  The pressure may always be there.  Work IS work, but we must remember…work involves people.  And these people may be in our lives for a reason.  Ultimately these relationships will last much longer than any urgent task, so let’s make the most of them!  There is too much good that can come from it.

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