Small gestures of any type, really might make all the difference in our crazy world. While this might seem quite self-explanatory, I still think it’s both worth mentioning and worth reflecting on. Now that it sounds like I have said something profound, when others before me have said the same, I can ramble.
In a time where people rob, beat, cheat, steal, and lie to their best friends…we still find it amazing when someone does some small gesture of kindness. Why? Do we really think everyone else is a jerk and suddenly out of the fog of life comes our hero to pick up the pice of paper we just dropped…or to let us into their parking spot…or to hold a door open. No, but we react like that is the case. The “reward” of recognition, praise, and flattery is so ridiculously high that anyone within a small radius should be instantly uplifted and motivated to do the same, should the opportunity arise. Eventually, given enough time, more people will do good deeds, the “reward” will decline because it won’t be as rare. Less people will do good deeds, but there might be a happy medium where we end up with more people doing good than there are today. Yes, I just used free-market economics to loosely say that if we are not given enough praise, we’ll go back to being jerks. Sigh.
Maybe people don’t like the reward of praise? Maybe people stopped holding doors and saying “good morning” because they hated all of the fawning. I have a feeling that might be incorrect. I know enough people who hold the door open for people and then passive aggressively say “You’re welcome!!” after they are ignored. Despite a small sample size, I don’t think praise turns people off, but someone else can get the hard data and come back to us with answers.
In the mean time, I’ll try to keep doing acts of random kindness. Maybe you will join me.