The other day on my commute I watched a driver in my lane trying to change lanes. He had room, indicated and started merging. At that moment the driver in that lane sped up, cutting him off. The next three drivers did the exact same thing! I was appalled. What a bunch of jerks I thought, why aren’t people nicer?!
I know we all have bad days. I have times when I am feeling less than generous in mood. However, I believe that practicing critical self-awareness is vital to our development as better people. “Am I being my best or worst version of myself in this moment” is a question I often ask myself in situations.
I am down with the Dalai Lama who said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
Photo credit: AnonymousArtfoRevolution.com
I am inspired by kind, warm and generous people – who just exuberate niceness.
I want to be nicer.
So I reached out to five of the nicest people I know and I posed a question to them – what can people do to be nicer? Here are 5 ways to be nicer everyday.
A smile is contagious and can literally change your whole perception on a situation by seeing the humour in it. We all know people in our lives who are negative and it is quite draining dealing with them!
Say hi. Make eye contact. It sounds simple, but it goes a long way. I’ve started leaving my phone at home when I go out walking to run errands, and it’s made me more far more aware of just how ‘heads down’ we all are these days. I grew up in a small town where everyone says hi to everyone, regardless of whether or not they know each other. And I miss it. So, I make a point of greeting people as I pass them by, and I know from experience, that a genuine smile is infectious, so spread ’em around! (Michelle Davies)
If you’re thankful for something someone’s done, take the time to thank them like you mean it. ‘Thank you for making the time for ‘x’ and always knowing just what to say’ vs. just ‘thanks’. A heartfelt why behind a thank you shows you’re truly grateful and makes people feel appreciated. Throw a hug in for good measure. (Michelle Davies)
Leave the road rage at home.
Here’s a suggestion when you’re on the roads – pay it forward and try to consciously do one courteous thing each time you are in your car. Stop for the pedestrian. Let someone merge in front of you. Slow down even more through active road construction sites. Don’t run the yellow. (Peter Blake)
In addition to the old “do unto others” golden rule, I think that if we take the time to really NOTICE people – see and hear them – it’s easier to see that we’re all trying our best and to do the right thing. (Carolyn Tuckwell)
Treat yourself with kindness.
The biggest thing is simply taking better care of yourself. Being nicer to others is a byproduct of feeling better about yourself. (Chris Brandt)
Photo credit: QuotesValley.com
Other great suggestions!
- Be a connector. Introduce 2 people for a relationship that will benefit them, not you.
- Look people in the eyes
- Ask your server how THEY are
- Celebrate the positives
- Actively listen and be there as a sounding board and try not to turn the topic of conversation around to yourself.
- Empathy. I cannot stress enough how impactful empathy is in dealing with people. Whether it is in your personal or professional life, it is so important to be able to see how other people view things and how your actions could impact them.
5 of the nicest people I know:
Michelle Davies – The nicest, most sunshiney person on the planet. Michelle is the athlete programs manager at lululemon athletica and the type of person you want to be around all the time. We worked about 3 feet away from each other for 2 years at the Vancouver Canucks and I think I saw her in a bad mood 1.5 times.
Peter Blake – Former CEO of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (and future CEO at WesternOne), I was struck with how genuinely kind Peter was the first time we met. He is an exceptional leader and one helluva nice guy!
Carolyn Tuckwell – I have the pleasure of working with Carolyn through my work at CKNW Orphans’ Fund as she is the President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Coast BC. Her warm, generous and positive attitude continually inspires me to be a better leader and better person.
Chris Brandt – As Executive Director of Music Heals, Chris is a talented musician with a passion for yoga. When we first met, I was blown away by how calm, cool, positive and nice he was. I felt centered just being in his presence. He’s just awesome.
Reagan Burwash – Founder of Pink Tank Group and Western Sales Manager for Dermologica, Reagan is a superstar. We first met through networking events in the city and she’s by far the most genuinely nice people I have ever met in my life. I wish I could crush her niceness into a pill form and take it daily!