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Thursday, June 5,2014

“It’s Nice to be Important, but it’s More Important to be Nice”

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  
John Templeton may best be known as a pioneer in the financial industry. He became a billionaire after establishing Templeton Growth Fund, one of the first modern mutual fund companies in the world. But what is even more remarkable about him is his philanthropy, which fueled his work from the beginning and continued throughout his career. John Templeton established an annual gift to be awarded to living individuals who “make an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” The first Templeton Prize was awarded to Mother Teresa in 1973. So, while he was named the “greatest global stock picker of the century” by Money Magazine in 1999, it is reaffirming to know that, for John Templeton, who could easily have been another Wolf of Wall Street, being nice was more important. As much as we’d like to, we can’t all be billionaires shaving off extra millions for Mother Teresa and the Dali Lama, but we can honor each other in small ways a million times over every single day just by being nice. If enough of us are just plain nice, the ripple effect could eventually change the world.

Through every action we operate from either a place of love or a place of fear. Fear does not have to mean being terrified. It is simply some level of insecurity, usually tied to a belief that, for whatever reason, we are not worthy of love in that moment. Whether we get irked because someone cuts us off, or we snap at someone because we feel we’ve been wronged in some way, defensive reactions are really about fear of rejection. Being annoyed is a choice. What if we could, in every moment, remember that all of us are flawed and try to approach the wrinkles of life with that understanding. Even when asserting a need or informing someone when we feel genuinely offended... even when we are correct that we have been disrespected – we don’t have to react from a place of anger or resentment. These are just faces of fear. To express what we feel and need without anger is not the same as being a doormat. You are only a doormat if you allow yourself to be. Eleanor Roosevelt wisely advised that others cannot hurt your feelings without your consent. If you love yourself and you accept that none of us are perfect, forgiveness is easy, and being nice even easier.

Random acts of kindness or paying it forward are awesome and fun, but smiling and being friendly are little things we can do all the time. What fun is it being self-absorbed and unaware as we interact with others in random situations? Or worse, taking out our moods or aggressions on them because we are frustrated. Actions have reactions. Basic physics, right?

Why not be a catalyst for the kind of actions you want to see in the world. It is as easy as being nice as often as possible.


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