"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." — Dalai Lama
One of my favorite quotes comes from Conan O'Brien during his last night as host of The Tonight Show:
"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen."
When I first heard this in late 2009 I was in the middle of a transition phase in my life. Coming out of a time of sadness and self-destruction, and into a time of healing and positive change.
Today when I think about the sentiment I think about how if I'm going to be accused of anything, I would rather not be accused of being a "nice" guy, and would rather instead to be accused of being a kind man.
There is a difference between being "nice" and being "kind." Nice people don't want to hurt anyones feelings. Nice people want to sweep problems under the rug. But kind people know that there's a time for sweep and a time for getting a new floor. Kind people recognize that to become the best versions of ourselves, to experience positive change, then sometimes feelings have to get hurt. Nothing worthwhile has ever been achieved without at least a little bit of pain. That's why they call it "growing pains."
We have the choice today and every day to be nice, or to be kind. (We also have the choice to be rude, cruel, and selfish—but let's focus on the positive). My hope for you is that you choose to be kind.
Jonas Cain is an educator, facilitator, and coach, working to engage, empower, and encourage leaders and the people they serve to experience joy.