When we study successful people, we always talk about their work ethic, creativity, leadership. Those things are essential, and we can learn a lot from them. But one thing that gets less attention is whether they were kind to others in their journey.
Consider Warren Buffett, one of the most successful people in the world. Once while giving a lecture to college students, he was asked his definition of success, and this is what he replied, “When you get to my age, you will really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you…That is the ultimate test of how you have lived your life.”
Buffett continued, “The trouble with love is that you cannot buy it… The only way to get love is to be lovable…The more you give love away, the more you get.”
A self-made billionaire says that the amount you are loved – not your wealth or accomplishments – is the ultimate measure of success in life. And he also says that the only way to get love is to be lovable. Kindness is the path to it. It is fundamental to human existence.
We are thrust into the world as newborns and enriched with the kindness of our parents’ nurturing for the ensuing years. Kindness is sewn into the fabric of our DNA.
I recently interviewed Barry Ritholtz of Ritholtz Wealth Management on The One Percent Show. Barry shared an incident from his life that changed his perspective on how he looked at people and events with greater kindness and compassion.
Listen to the story in Barry’s own words.
“Everybody is living their own life,” Barry says, “and you don’t know what is going on with them. So, before you are quick to criticize this guy, call that one a jerk, write this person off, sometimes you just have to give people the benefit of doubt.”
Kindness is not something that demands hard work. It is the easiest thing in the world to execute. With very little time (even just two minutes a day) and very minimal effort we can transform a human being’s day, week, or even life. The return on investment is off the charts! Best, every act of kindness creates a ripple effect that spreads from person to person with no end in sight.
Kindness originates from the simple act of doing no harm to others. You are also being kind when you empathise with others in their troubles, when you treat others the way they want to be treated, when you appreciate others for their work, and when you forgive others for their mistakes.
“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle, everyone’s lonesome,” said Marion Parker. Given this, dealing more kindly and compassionately with others is our only hope to live happily ourselves and leave this world a better place than we found it.