Extreme Kindness

Extreme Kindness

Kindness in Sport

Athletics have always been a big part of my life and this project. I thought it would be appropriate to seek out anything related to kindness in sport and challenge you to do the same.

Here is an article I received from Bennett Lombardo of the Health and Education department in Rhode Island College. (Thanks Bennett)

Enjoy…

Bennett J. Lombardo

Health & Physical Education Department

Rhode Island College

Providence, Rhode Island 02908

Paper Presented

April 17, 1999

Endicott College

Beverly, MA

Kindness in Sport: The Role of the Coach

Bennett J. Lombardo
Rhode Island College

As we gather here today, I join you with some ambivalence, and mixed emotions. On the one hand I am thrilled, if not ecstatic, about this new beginning. It is always refreshing to be in on the start of new movement. All of us, gathered to discuss the positive aspects of sports and how to increase the occurrence of its many powerful outcomes and how to perpetuate these idealistic, and nurturing acts through the medium that we all love, respect, and have devoted our professional efforts. How exhilarating!

Yet, on the other hand, it is easy for me to become depressed if I focus upon the realization that our beloved “sporting ventures” have come to this, that is, that we are

in the difficult position of trying to reassert humane behavior back into sport, and place it once again at the center of the experience. However, let us not dwell too long on these thoughts, as they can be rather non-productive.

We live in difficult times. Maybe Bill Reynolds, a sportswriter for the Providence Journal, said it best when he stated that: “the perfect movie for the mean-spirited times we live in today might be “Ten Things I Hate About You” (1). I think Mr. Reynolds captured the essence of the purpose of this meeting today.

Kindness, what does it mean? To be kind can be defined several ways: to be friendly, gentle, tenderhearted, generous, cordial, and affectionate. Kindness, then, could be interpreted as the act of being kind, of being courteous, generous, gentle, cordial, affectionate, and displaying good will.

In order to stay positive let us examine some significant examples of kindness, civility, and positive humane outcomes from the recent sport experience.

1) It is timely, yet ironic, that so much emotion, empathy, and love resulted from the fabulous McGwire – Sosa home run record chase during the 1998 baseball season. Fans, coaches, competitors, officials, owners, among others all joined in an unabashed outpouring of support, kindness, and yes, even love for the performers during that remarkable stretch of games this past summer. These two outstanding ballplayers insisted not only including the entire family of Roger Maris (the previous home run record holder) during their amazing, highly competitive, and public chase to overcome Maris’ record.

They also showed tremendous respect, and indeed, love for all members of that family. Sosa and McGwire modeled love and respect for all. It was a tremendously positive, and inspirational model for all, young and old, to observe.

If we factor in the recent unique, experience of the death of Joe DiMaggio, an American icon, and the tremendous outpouring of love, affection, and positive emotion which followed, we have much cause for hope. As professionals we should be alert to the “hidden messages” in this latter event, that is the passing of an American Hero, the Italian Horatio Alger if you like. Summarizing some of these hidden messages briefly:

Repeated expressions of his civility, his class, his avoidance of the spotlight (even if, as some suggest, Mr. DiMaggio worked had to cultivate this image )
His privacy, his modesty, his avoidance of self-aggrandizement
His refusal to fully enter the arena of: “Self-Promotion”
Few if any words of protest, negativity in the entire event.

I hesitate to state that there was nary a negative comment to be heard. Even in his passing on to a better place, Joe DiMaggio has provided society with an alternative way of behaving. To respond to the query of Simon and Garfunkel, who asked; “Where Have you Gone Joe Dimaggio?”, we might say: “There you are, Joe DiMaggio.”

2) Another example of civil behavior in sport emanates from the world of tennis in the mid 70s. Jimmy Connors was at the height of his superior reign as the tennis champion. Yes, the same Jimmy Connors, often described as the prototype spoiled tennis brat, often uncivil, the epitome of aggression, an athlete who might aptly be the living representation of the competitive, yet unkind athlete. Can you picture him deliberately surrendering a point during a major event? In the tennis match that I am referring too,
Jimmy Connors recognized the unfairness of an official’s call (in his favor), and deliberately drove the next return into the net, thus returning the point to his opponent. In his own way, Connors demonstrated kindness in the heat of competition.

I am told that this type of kind and civil behavior is not uncommon. Another example occurred in the 1996-Wimbledon Quarterfinals, when Alex Radulescu, of Germany conceded a let at 4-4, in the fifth set to MaliVai Washington (Washington won 6-4) for similar reasons. Professionals and leaders of sport should take heart in these events.

3) Soccer — Nov. 2, 1969. At Bernabeau Stadium, Madrid with 80,000 screaming partisan fans looking on, Pedro Zamballa, has the ball on the right wing. Just prior to receiving the ball there was a major collision between the opposing goalie and the Real Madrid back, both falling unconscious. In an unexpected and amazing show of thoughtfulness and kindness, and in spite of an over zealous crowd, Zamballa intentionally kicked the ball across the endline. His team eventually lost, 1-0.

4) More recently in soccer games, it has become standard practice that when a player falls injured, the opposing team purposely kicks the ball over the sideline. Upon resumption of play, the team of the injured player deliberately plays the ball back to the team who had so kindly surrendered the ball at the time of the injury. This very kind and civil behavior, which was developed by the athletes themselves, has become a regular occurrence at soccer games. This is very encouraging and indicates that professionals and athletes together can, indeed, change the sport experience in positive ways.

5) Just recently, Arsenal refused a victory over Sheffield because of an apparent inadvertent “UNKIND” act (a violation of an unwritten rule, originated by players). During a professional soccer game an injury occurred to a Sheffield player. A Sheffield player kicked the ball out of bounds, a normal tactic. After the injured player was replaced, Arsenal put the ball in bounds with a throw-in. Normally the ball would have been allowed to bounce directly to a Sheffield player, but this time it was intercepted by Nwankwo Kanu, a young Nigerian substituted just acquired by Arsenal. Not grasping the significance of the soft in-bounds toss, Kanu passed to Marc Overmars, a seasoned Dutch teammate, who instinctively banged the ball into the net. The Sheffield team was very upset and angry and many of the Aresenal players were openly unhappy. Immediately, after the game the Arsenal Coach, Frenchman Arsene Wenger announced that he was declining victory. The game was to be replayed the following Tuesday.

Indeed, there is hope for us in sport yet. These examples should inspire professionals to do the right thing. The possibilities demonstrated by these few examples should encourage professionals and coaches to insist on kind and civil behaviors from all at sporting events.

WHAT CAN BE DONE ?

The question for professionals, interested in socializing our young into meaningful, caring, and kindly lifestyles is how can leaders of sport and human movement programs nurture and reinforce these compassionate and positive feelings in sport and human movement programs at all levels on a regular basis.

Why are examples of the best in human behavior so rare in sporting activities? Why is it such an “event” when athletes demonstrate care, thoughtfulness, and other humane behaviors in public? The encouragement of such actions and the issues related to the development of both athletes who will feel free to manifest such behavior and sport leaders who will support and accept these loving and kind behaviors is our reason for meeting today.

Special emphasis will be devoted to a discussion of the role of the coach in these efforts. Models will be examined as vehicles which promise to stimulate kindness, care and mindfulness in movement. Also, organizational approaches to increasing the incidence of “kindness” in both coaching behavior and in the sport experience will be addressed. Two main themes will be explored in this paper:

1) What can coaches do to facilitate kindness between and among players, coaches, opponents, officials, etc.? What specific actions can be taken by a coach to increase the occurrence of kindness in sport?

2) What can sport organizations and institutions of higher education (especially those who purport to prepare leaders of sport) do to support, reinforce, and encourage kindness in organized competitive contests? Organizational and institutional procedures and policies which can nurture and support a “kinder” sport experience (especially for novices) will be identified and discussed.

It should be noted that the suggestions presented herein are directed solely to athletics, competition, and sport leadership for school-age athletes — that is athletes from pre-school age through high school (not beyond high school). The ideas and suggestions are educationally based, and therefore probably will not apply to programs which have embraced the “professional” model of sport.

WHAT CAN COACHES DO?

It is often difficult for coaches to behave in ways which are more educational, more humanistic, more inviting, and in short “developmentally appropriate” for their athletes. Too many coaches in world of the 21st century have not been on the receiving end of such proactive, positive, and encouraging styles/methods/approaches to sport leadership. And the truism that coaches coach as they have been coached is really all too accurate. So our first step must be to explain and model the various more
inviting, encouraging options within the range of sport and specifically coaching leadership (e.g., the humanistic, invitational, and educational models (2,3) ).

Briefly summarizing several feasible modifications which could be implemented with little effort and/or preparation:

1) Coaches can easily respect each participant in the event (fans, officials, opponents).

2) Coaches can maintain privacy when and where possible. Does everyone have to know everyone else’s business? Coaches can work to ensure that interactions with players, fans, officials, parents, can be as private as the situation allows. Once again, I would invoke the DiMaggio metaphor as a model for non-public, if not private, interactions and behavior.

3) With respect must come the desire to listen to each person, actively and sincerely, so as to truly capture their intent, ideas, and meaning.

4) Empathy, the ability to fully understand the condition of another, is critical. Coaches who have empathy for their athletes never forget what it was like to be a player.

5) To encourage, rather than discourage, is to provide a living model of kindness. To support, to nurture, to be inviting, rather than restrictive, discouraging, uninviting are kind and thoughtful behaviors which should be part of a coach’s behavioral repertoire.

Several general methods or strategies can be employed to implement the selected behaviors identified previously:

1) Modeling: This is the most powerful behavior available to coaches. Indeed, coaches really do not have a choice. Adults who lead athletes provide them with a continuous model. Modeling is perpetual and pervasive. Therefore it is important that coaches be proactive and intentional in their modeling awareness and efforts.

2) Recognition: Coaches must point out and emphasize all the kind and positive acts which occur during sporting events. They must treat everyone with kindness and respect. This can be difficult and time consuming, but it must be accomplished and regularly demonstrated for athletes if changes in the direction discussed here are to be achieved. For example, during a recent softball game I observed a coach from one team pitching batting practice to players on both teams. She allowed batters to take a few swings, regardless of which team they played on. She simply pitched to the batters on a first come, first serve basis. This was a very thoughtful and kind act. Athletes should be reminded of such unique and stellar behavior when it occurs.

3) Instruction: An obvious set of opportunities are presented if coaches constantly provide appropriate instruction. Teach at every opportunity. Coaches should identify, emphasize, and discuss the examples of kindness, caring, civility, etc. as they occur on the competitive fields. Some examples might help:

(1) “Look at that — Alice took the time to help Mary on her foul shot.”

(2) “Team, did you observe how the umpire assisted Tim when he was pitching?”

(3) “I am impressed that Coach Williams took the time to help our Bobby when he injured himself sliding. Did you all see me go over to her and thank her for her kindness and help? ”

Instruction must be directed to the total development of the participant. Too often excellent instruction is provided for athletes but it is limited to psychomotor development only. Coaches should make the effort to provide instruction in the cognitive and affective domains as well, although these areas present a different and sometimes more difficult set of problems.

Coaches must not only address and focus on motor skill development and the physical components of sport performance, but they must teach the whole athlete, including addressing the subjective, the emotional aspects, the affective domain, etc. Coaches must try to address some of the following aspects of development of the athlete:

Empathy, compassion, care
Fear, anxiety, nervousness, panic,
Honesty and ethical behavior
Sadness, despair, dejection, sorrow
Disgust, contempt, scorn, disdain
Anger, fury. exasperation, hostility, hatred, violence
Enjoyment, fun, happiness
Love, acceptance, trust, kindness, friendliness
Shame, embarrassment, humiliation

4) Avoid and prohibit “demonization/dehumanization” of the opponent. The opponents need to be viewed as facilitators of the individual’s and/or team’s attempt to enhance their own abilities, to test themselves, etc. Often this means developing alternative motivational techniques (hopefully intrinsic rather than extrinsic). Coaches must not employ the supposed or fantasized negative characteristics of the opposition to motivate their players.

5) Discourage Spectatorism and Maximize Participation and Involvement. It is so unkind to reinforce passivity, especially if we truly believe in the numerous and powerful positive outcomes of the sport experience. These positive experiences should be available to all and experienced and shared by as many youngsters as possible.

PROFESSIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS: WHAT CAN BE DONE?

1) Selection of Leaders, coaches, volunteers, etc. Employ athletic leaders, adults, who embrace caring, responsible behavior, including civil behavior, kindness, empathy, etc.

2) Provide time to analyze, study, and encourage reflective abilities in athletic leaders and coaches. Professional preparation institutions have to take the lead in this activity.

3) Provide models of “kindness” in sport. Promote athletic leaders who manifest humane approaches and behaviors. Provide athletic programs which model kindness, and employ athletic leaders who maintain a level of civility and social-awareness, empathy and care (along with kindness) which are obvious to both
performer and observer.

4) Provide individual and professional development opportunities. Required meetings, training, coaches’ meetings, etc. should all include a focus on treating athletes and others well. This should be an on-going process and required (if necessary) especially among volunteer organizations.

5) Professional development, supervision and feedback opportunities should be planned. Such vehicles provide information to individuals and groups about effectiveness. Self-study questions such as “Is our organization effective beyond winning? Are we concerned about the total development of our performers?” should serve to guide self-assessment as it pertains to kindness and civility.

6) Develop, Maintain, Enforce, a Code of Ethics and Behavior. Athletes, coaches, fans, officials, etc. all must be expected to behave in a civil manner. These expectations should be promulgated and reviewed periodically.

A FINAL COMMENT

At some point in the future kindness and civility in sport will no longer be a major concern. Professionals will focus their efforts on other aspects of the sport experience, such as improving the learning and growth and development that is derived from the sport experience. When will we know that we have gotten “there” ?

Indicators of Kindness in Sport

The following items will indicate to everyone that sport is kinder.

1. When sport is refocused so as to decrease “spectatorism” while concurrently increasing participation. When sport facilities are designed for increased numbers of performers and fewer observers.

2. When as a result of increased participation, the “masses” develop and maintain a strong self-concept, and “solid” self-esteem. With increased general participation, many more individuals will develop increased positive feelings about competency (efficacy) and about doing and achieving.

3. When the educational system, which so often and so loudly proclaims the values of sport, competition, and participation on athletic teams, redesigns interscholastic, intercollegiate, etc. systems so that no one individual is “cut” from a team. When sport is organized for everyone, not only the “elite performers.

4. When there is follow-through on the importance of participation in sport so that provisions are made for everyone to experience the multitude of positive outcomes derived from the encounter with sport.

5. When the individual engaged in sport is more important than anything else and is our ultimate concern.

6. When the need for official “officials” is eliminated and athletes officiate for themselves. When athletes begin to take back their games and overrule “official” calls, especially when mistakes are made in their favor.

7. When athletes, coaches, fans, officials, manifest respect for everyone involved with sport.

8. When spectators see performers as developing people and not professionals.

9. When “fraternization” is encouraged pre- and post-play.

10. When wellness concerns become a central feature of game playing and competitive sports.

11. When the game is over, it is over!! When emotions are reduced once the competition is over.

12. When athletes, et al celebrate the “PLAYING” and not solely the results of playing (Rewards; money, promotion, exposure, etc.).

At that point in time, indeed, sport will manifest its kindlier, more civil, liberating and humane characteristics. And I am convinced that participants, society, and indeed all of humankind will be better off for the experience.

REFERENCES

1) Reynolds, William. Providence Journal. April 3, 1999.

2) Lombardo, Bennett J. (1987). The Humanistic Coach: From Theory to Practice.
Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, Publisher.

3) Lombardo, Bennett J. , Victor H. Mancini, and Deborah A. Wuest. Editors. (1995).
The Humanistic Sport Experience: Visions and Realities.
Dubuque, Iowa: Times Mirror Higher Education Group.

1 Comment »

Having a bad Day?

If you are having a bad day click here and follow the instructions. Smile dude, you rock!

Love Erik.

No Comments »

Shout out to the guerilla Kindness Crew

Just a short post this week to recognize the people out there under the radar who are committed to kindness in the world.

You people get me stoked!

To all you complete stranger smilers and other people’s clean laundry pilers,

You random compliment givers and you full life livers,

To the people who hold the door even when your not trying to score,

To the gang who are volunteerning even when their mountaineering,

To all the radical bikers who are trying to keep the peace,

To the all the concious consumers giving the earth a new lease,

To the friends of everyone,

To the people who fill our tanks,

You rock my world, so thanks!
Stoked

Erik

No Comments »

Service Wipeout!

So here is! The newest, most extreme, most dangerous post on the extremekindness blog!

Watch out!

It’s SERVICE WIPEOUTS! Yes, you heard it service wipeout.

A service wipe out is any physical and/or emotional injury sustained while in service to others.

Check the defintion of Service Wipeout on Wikipedia and add your photos and stories here.

Se Se Se Se Service Wipeout!SWO3SWO2

SWO1

No Comments »

Financially challenged!

We all are financially challenged in some way and that challenge has limited my participation in random kindness. I have thought to myself,

“I would love to help that person out if I just had a couple extra bucks to spare.”

I now no longer have that problem. No, I have not become wealthy beyond my wildest needs. I still live on very little but have discovered a way to loosen most financial burden around my random acts of kindness. I was reading the Keilburger’s book, Me to We and they featured a chapter on the guy who started a website called modestneeds.com. Essentially, he realized he would never become a wealthy philanthropist with his current salary so he committed to giving away 10% of whatever he earned. He then started a website where people could come and apply for small sums of money that would help them get through rough financial stints much like many had done for him in the past. The website worked and not only did thousands hit the site requesting assistance; thousands more hit the site to donate money to be given away. To date modestneeds.com has given away over $ 300,000 USD and is moving full steam ahead.

Although I haven’t quite come up with a brilliant follow up yet I did start my own bank account where at each paycheque I donate between a small percentage to be used for random kindness (and trust me sometimes it’s small). I don’t even notice this money is gone and it seems to collect pretty quickly.

Now whenever consider paying the person’s toll in the car behind me or want to support a starving young musician I am relieved and catalyzed into kindness knowing I have already allotted the funds for this very cause.

So my financial challenge for all the financially challenged is to start a bank account for random kindness. Put a small amount in each paycheque and empower yourself to commit an act of kindness.

Have an awesome week,

Erik.

1 Comment »

Kindness; The stories inside your story.

People often ask how this project started and invariably we tell the story of how we first met, moved into a house in Victoria, bought a video camera and started filming our adventures in altruism as a reaction to all the negativity in the media. The back-story to the Kindness Crew and the foundations laid in our lives leading up to these adventures are equally important but far less mentioned.

Everyone has a story they tell about how they ended up where they are today. (Think about the last time someone asked you, “So, tell me about yourself”. Depending on what you are trying to convey and the amount of time available, you will inevitably tell the stories of your life to create a holistic picture. It’s amazing how those stories can stick with you. Several of the stories I recall are actually the stories passed on by other people that have shaped the way I interact with the world.

My challenge to you this week is to think about some of the kind stories, yours or someone else’s, that have shaped the way you exist in the world. (Then post them)

Here is one of those stories passed on to me by my Dad probably 15 years ago.

Thanks,

Erik.

Love And The Cabbie

By Art Buchwald

I was in New York the other day and rode with a friend in a taxi. When we got out, my friend said to the driver, “Thank you for the ride. You did a superb job of driving.”

The taxi driver was stunned for a second. Then he said, “Are you a wise guy or something?”

“No, my dear man, and I’m not putting you on. I admire the way you keep cool in heavy traffic.”

“Yeah,” the driver said and drove off.

“What was that all about?” I asked.

I am trying to bring love back to New York,” he said. “I believe it’s the only thing that can save the city.”

“How can one man save New York?”

“It’s not one man. I believe I have made that taxi driver’s day. Suppose he has 20 fares. He’s going to be nice to those 20 fares because someone was nice to him. Those fares in turn will be kinder to their employees or shopkeepers or waiters or even their own families. Eventually the goodwill could spread to at least 1,000 people. Now that isn’t bad, is it?”

“But you’re depending on that taxi driver to pass your goodwill to others.”

“I’m not depending on it,” my friend said. “I’m aware that the system isn’t foolproof so I might deal with ten different people today. If out of ten I can make three happy, then eventually I can indirectly influence the attitudes of 3,000 more.”

“It sounds good on paper,” I admitted, “but I’m not sure it words in practice.”

“Nothing is lost if it doesn’t. It didn’t take any of my time to tell that man he was doing a good job. He neither received a larger tip nor a smaller tip. If it fell on deaf ears, so what? Tomorrow there will be another taxi driver I can try to make happy.”

“You’re some kind of a nut,” I said.

“That shows how cynical you have become. I have made a study of this. The thing that seems to be lacking, besides money of course, for our postal employees, is that no one tells people who work for the post office what a good job they’re doing.”

“But they’re not doing a good job.”

“They’re not doing a good job because they feel no one cares if they do or not. Why shouldn’t someone say a kind word to them?”

We were walking past a structure in the process of being built and passed five workmen eating their lunch. My friend stopped. “That’s a magnificent job you men have done. It must be difficult and dangerous work.”

The workmen eyed my friend suspiciously.

“When will it be finished?”

“June, a man grunted.

“Ah. That really is impressive. You must all be very proud.”

We walked away. I said to him, “I haven’t seen anyone like you since The Man From LaMancha.”

“When those men digest my words, they will feel better for it. Somehow the city will benefit from their happiness.”

“But you can’t do this all alone!” I protested. “You’re just one man.”

“The most important thing is not to get discouraged. Making people in the city become kind again is not an easy job, but if I can enlist other people in my campaign. . .”

You just winked at a very plain-looking woman,” I said.

“Yes, I know,” he replied. “And if she’s a schoolteacher, her class will be in for a fantastic day.”

1 Comment »

A call for Random Internet Stoke!

I’ve been exploring a bit this long weekend and have come across some inspiring gems during my search. My challenge this week is for you to send us your inspiring, upbeat and positive video clips and stories. Let’s create community online that represents, nurtures and cultivates stoke and positivity.

Here are my picks for the week, enjoy.

I have just been reading an amazing book called “Let My People Go Surfing” by Yvon Chouinard and was inspired to visit the Patagonia website to have a look. Following Chris’ recent post on environmental preservation and the David Suzuki lecture he attended I thought this would be an appropriate site for anyone to explore. The whole site is awesome but specifically the Bend to Baja I think epitomizes a spirit of fun and adventure I believe needs to accompany any positive world movement…

Manalive! If you haven’t seen this clip yet then you are in for a rare treat. A POSITIVE NEWS STORY! What? Yes, believe it or not quality television still makes it on air. I swear that every time I watch this story my eyes well up.

Big props go out to Canadian, Craig Keilburger who just won the World Children’s prize. Basically, it’s like the Nobel Peace prize for work with kids. He and his Bro have been doing all sorts of great things with the Me to We, Free the Children and Leaders of Today projects. Check out the recent update and send him a congrats email.
I find it inspiring that people can actually make it out of tubes this deep….

And finally a blast from the past. I’m not sure what it has to do with kindness but it sure makes me laugh…
Have an inspiring week.

With stoke,

Erik.

3 Comments »

Follow your Bliss!

When we began working on this project we started working together for the expressed purpose of having a great time and I truly believe that is why the Crew is still rocking. It’s not to say that we don’t have our tough days, but in all honesty we have way too much fun! Granted the subject we speak about and act on in pretty inspiring, (at least in my opinion) but I think Brad often sums it up quite handily when pressed by reporters.

“Why do you guys do this?”

“It’s simple, I have a great time. If I have a way to make a difference I try to get up in the morning and bring what I want to experience with me.”

I believe if you can find ways to make a difference doing things you love you create a sustainable system for changing the world. It works on so many levels!

On a core level I believe that it is important to follow your bliss. At every possible opportunity look at the path ahead and genuinely look at how you can optimize your fun. Following your bliss at a deep level means making the decisions that matter for YOUR right reasons. Really, as far as I can verify, you only have on shot at this whole birth through death adventure, might as well have a great time. Now to add the simple caveat that during this search you look for opportunities to create better the world and MANALIVE you are on the path to a fulfilling life.

On another level when big decisions appear to be set and you have to bury your nose in the books, your work or a relationship the intention toward following your bliss need not be lost. We all have to push though times in our lives where we don’t necessarily feel connected to our true purpose and it’s challenging. When you train yourself to find the bliss in already established routines you challenge yourself to think creatively, inspire others and be true to yourself. As my friend Kevin Carroll refers to it, that is The Hero’s Journey. They are the challenging, often lonely times that everyone encounters. But when met with a diligent pursuit of self and a genuine concern for others, these trials become the heroic path that defines and distinguishes heroic people.

On a superficial level to carry and follow bliss randomly in your daily life is so unbelievably powerful, that it often blows my mind. The interactions and connections with random people, places or things I have had, simply because I have decided to follow that interesting smell, or help that stranger, have been some of the experiences that have shaped the core values in my life. Not to mention they have been some of my best adventures.

So here it is a weekly challenge and it’s nothing but fun!

Follow it. Follow your bliss. Do it today. Do something that makes you happy and try to pair it with some form of kindness. If you have a big decision to make, it you are locked into a routine or if you are simply walking to the store a cup of unsweetened soy milk live your bliss. If you have an open mind and are willing to see where it takes you, I can guarantee you are in for an adventure.

Have fun.

Stoked,

Erik

1 Comment »

The Power of Mobilization!

As of late the kindness crew has been spending a lot of time speaking to companies about the importance of kindness within all levels of corporate culture. The speaking is really powerful because, I believe, the people within these global forces are empowered to create some really positive change and our injection reminds them how important their actions are. However, given our increasing focus on mobilizing corporations we ourselves have spent more time on the business side of kindness and less time actually out on the street committing actual, on the street, acts of kindness.

Given that one of our mandates is to educate, inspire and MOBILIZE, it was very heartening to be working with SAS, (a fortune 500 business solutions firm voted to be the best place to work in the U.S. a few years ago) in Orlando for the last couple of days. We were volunteering at a Boys and Girls club with all the SAS employees spending the afternoon with about 80 kids. It was absolutely incredible. For about an hour and a half before the kids arrived we worked fastidiously cutting out plastic leaves, blowing up basketballs, hanging posters from the ceiling, prepping a time capsule and using fabric markers to create a giant, colorable, “Building Community” banner. When the kids arrived they had a giant “KINDNESS SCAVENGER HUNTâ” that embodies the 5 key purposes of the organization.

When the kids, (all between the ages of about 7 and 15), arrived it was absolutely amazing! These incredible, committed, hilarious balls of energy were racing around giving each other complements, doing push ups, creating art, writing down their goals and making wind chimes for the rest of the afternoon, and that was just the SAS staff! The kids and adults worked together with such verve that aside for the apparent size differences it was often difficult to tell them apart. SO RADICAL! We were all getting younger by the second and having a great time doing it. Not to mention the fact we were contributing to a cause that really matters.

Quite seriously, I haven’t had that much fun in a long time and my week’s challenge to you is to go out and do something. Mobilize yourself. Create an adventure that matters. Make it fun. Volunteer in some way with friends or coworkers and it will change your life.

One of the pieces of feedback we received recently during a presentation evaluation was that we needed to share more stories of how kindness had changed our own lives. I guess over the years working on this project I begin to assume that everyone automatically realizes that kindness has fundamentally changed my life. New worlds have opened up for me. I love talking about it and discussing the potential but manalive, it’s the creation and action of kindness where the real power lies! I cannot stress enough the importance of actually doing it. Go out and have fun!

98891956808_0_bg

24 Comments »

Empowered by movement!

Just a random post I thought I’d add to give a little recognition to the power of movement.

My Dad and I were discussing a few years ago the frantic pace of my life. I usually work better with metaphors when processing more philosophical discussions so we began to use the metaphor of river kayaking.

We were talking about how you float along weaving and dodging big rocks and working with the currents to try and successfully navigate your way along the journey. We then started talking about the crazy times that inevitably appear and how to deal with them. I basically said you just have to hang on through the white water do your best and wait it out until you hit a mellow section of the river.

My Dad then Socratically asked, “What if it’s all white water?”

I really didn’t know what to say.

“Hmmm.”

It got me thinking that as I get older the pace of my river seems to be perpetually quickening with no real sign of slowing down. Sort of a frightening thought if you’re just hanging on and waiting till things mellow out.

I really don’t want to go through my life freaked out about where I am. I want to be able to look around, engage my surroundings and think about something other than my own survival. From that space the journey becomes not just about me, it begins to include context I exist within. Suddenly I’m empowered to consider the rest of the world, and that is the genesis of kindness.

It seems like there is a lot of power in those rapids and if you choose to enter them armed with a strategy and a light heart you may just be in for the adventure of a lifetime.

That was my mini epiphany. I get to choose how I approach the hairy sections of my life. It seems simple but when you get it, you really get it.

The rapids of life are powerful, unpredictable and usually inevitable. You are the only one with a paddle and there are no foreseeable flat sections in the river. Do you enjoy the trip or not? Were all going to get to the end eventually, why not jump in and challenge your perspective.

For me, approaching yet another hairy section of rapids I am poised for the greatest adventure of my life and really, honestly, am feeling pretty stoked. I’ve got my paddle clenched in hand and a grin peeled across my face.

Take a deep breath and enjoy the adventure.

Here we go….

(this is me… metaphorically)

33 Comments »

« Previous Page« Previous Entries Next Entries »Next Page »