Extreme Kindness

Extreme Kindness

Connecting the world through kindness.

Bestselling authors, corporate trainers and internationally acclaimed advocates for social change, the Kindness Crew is sparking a global revolution in kindness. From audiences at Fortune 500 Companies to entire metropolitan centers, the Crew has inspired and mobilized millions to commit acts of community service.

The scent of possibility

Rubbing old-school goopy-white sunblock on my face turns me into a kid again. Remember how the smell of sunblock was synonymous with too much fun in the sun? You’d squint as mum or dad smeared it over your eyelids, nose and lips. Legs would be pumping with excitement: lemme go, lemme get out there! Your brother or sister was already out there shredding it because they beat you in the application line! You knew the day would be full of icy-cold juice boxes, squished sandwiches, raft-building and hair matted back by lake water. Or maybe salty from the sea.

It’s all there in the scent of SPF 15.

Man I can’t handle it: I’m back there! Can’t you feel the hot stones under your feet? The pop of blue berries in a mouth that laughs blue! Skinny, bony bodies working on beach projects that mum and dad have to approve every 15 minutes.

Go to the pharmacy and buy some Coppertone. Phone your bro, phone your sis and swing by dad’s office. Get him to slather you up and hit the beach, because life is too short and sweeter than sugar.

Thinking of y’all.

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Kindness as a first reaction.

While attending university in Victoria several years ago I had an experience that shaped the way I participate in compassionate action.

It had been a particularly wearisome week and I was marching across the expansive Uvic campus with my nose buried in a book. I was pretty tuned out to the rest of the world. My directive was clear: ‘Get to my next class with as much speed, as little distraction and the maximum information stuffed into my already gorged cranium’ I skipped quickly across grassy knolls and sidewalk curbs taking the most direct route possible. I was just hitting near perfect pace when my cadence was instantly broken.

“Attention! Arrt!” A voice boomed. I halted, spun around and instantly was nearly sucked from the curb (which I was apparently traveling over), by the wind from a passing delivery truck!

When I had regained my balance I was facing a young man, my age, with a slightly embarrassed expression on his face.

“I mean…Watch out!” he said with a smile and a nervous laugh, having blurted out the first thing that came to his mind.

I let out a nervous laugh myself as the blood began to rush back into my face.

We both stopped for a few minutes to talk and laugh. I thanked him for saving me from certain truck grill mutilation. Stunned but joyful, we shook hands and went our separate ways.

Upon reflection of this episode I realized how imbedded within the human programming it is to help. We all have it. It’s the first inclination to take action, (in any language) to help when the situation dictates, even with total strangers. Marc Ian Barasch describes this reaction in, “Field Notes on a Compassionate Life” when he sites interviews Holocaust rescuers. When asked to describe why they would endanger their own lives to harbor Jews from the Nazis one rescuer simply stated, “The hand of compassion was faster than the calculus of reason.”

I realized that when my Qubequois compatriot yelled out he did so because he believed that it was important enough to act immediately. Forget embarrassment? You bet. When choosing to act, he didn’t even engage it. He just moved on that first compassionate impulse. Given that we all have those immediate notions isn’t it important enough to act immediately for the betterment of the planet? To act on these impulses or at the very least promote them within the hierchary of your decision making process?

So, here is my challenge for this week:

Pay attention. Listen to you initial impulses. Be brave and engage in impulsive, heartfelt and compassionate action.

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the 9th habit

How can we create a discipline for kindness in our life? No, I don’t mean a random act of spanking, I am interested in exploring how kindness can be a habit, an addiction that we just can’t quit. I believe like any other action we take, it must start with the intention or desire to do so. We must feel the need to get our fix of the helper’s high. We must believe there is a need to create more kindness in our lives and in the lives of others. Once we have realized this we can then start the planning. Just like building a house, we need to create a blueprint for ourselves of how we want to change our life. We can first look at where kindness is lacking in our lives. Is it with a person we are frustrated with, strangers in our community, or maybe it is our perceptions of other cultures? As we break ground we can begin to loosen the thoughts that are preventing us from setting an unstable foundation. Thought by thought we can build a healthier way of seeing the world: a world filled with positive people and opportunities to make someone’s day, and in turn improve our own.

Once our new mental frame is complete, we can head outside and plant new expressions of compassion. Each day we can commit ourselves to one new act of kindness. We can write this commitment down, tell a friend our veritable pusher of goodwill to remind ourselves of our new habit!

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This video showcases the important need for positive and balanced management/employee relationships.

This video showcases the important need for positive and balanced management/employee relationships.

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High on Kindness!

Adventure abounds! Manalive am I ever stoked!

Recently Chris, myself, Mark Lutterll and our friends Frank and Jessica, spent a couple of days summating Mt’ Adams a 12,281 ft peak in Washington State located about 30 km away from the smoldering Mt. St Helens. The weather was perfect, the mountain was beautiful and the people we met were incredible. From the park rangers, to the recipients of our congratulatory high 5’s everyone was exceptionally friendly and helpful.

At one point in our early morning ascent, I paused to grab a picture of the deep orange sunrise exploding around me creating a shadow of the mountain to the west. With clumsy, cold fingers I dropped my new camera case and it went skidding down the hill to oblivion…. or so I thought. Apparently a local climber with two super dogs spotted my case skipping down the glacier and sent one of his hounds to fetch it. When we both arrived at the top he returned my case with a smile and a handshake. Really, it was just awesome! It’s people like these who get me excited about the future of the world.

My challenge this week is to try a random act of kindness while doing some physical activity!

Whether that’s saying “Good morning!” to everyone on your day break run or piggybacking an old lady across the street, just make it happen, and have some fun with the journey!

Enjoy the video. Let me know what you think!
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Detached or downright nice?

My recycling chores always grind to a halt when I reach the newspaper bin. All those printed words sitting on the page, unread! I can’t bare the thought of sending off the papers to be reincarnated without taking at least one last look through them.

And I’m stoked I did today. I found an article in the National Post titled, “Kindness is the new sign of cool”.

A couple of psychology grads from the University of British Columbia set out to discover what constitutes cool. They surveyed 800 people and asked them to rank on a scale of one to seven (one being uncool, seven being cool) over 90 adjectives. Detached, confident, friendly to name a few.

Some folks still thought those who rocked a rebellious, ironic vibe were where it’s at. But the landslide victory went to the emotionally open, compassionate, sentimental stallions. Score one for the Napoleon-Dynamite-Lyger-sketchers of the world! I wonder where the Fonz would have stood on this one?

Time to recycle your views on what’s hot and what’s rot. Speaking of which, back to work!

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Ultraviolet echo

Dig this ultraviolet echo of alright made all-bright through you. Chew the super alfalfa, the succulent sprout of the mega all-mind: the translucent treat that’s all around and under your feet! Be a translator and inhale the CO2 of me-disappointment, make it the oxygen of us. Turn armor into chlorophyll, guns into afterthoughts then forgotten thoughts. Dream the waking synapse-explosions of little ones, then figure out how to squeeze those dreams into three-piece suits and sneak them into board meetings. Laugh so sloppy it shocks you and makes you cry. Then have seconds, thirds. Don’t talk; choreograph sentences! Make more than love, make that thing that giants want to copyright but can’t because it sets just before they can grab it. Plant trees in littered coffee cups and paint pictures on the insides of elevator doors that say, this is all for you.

Because it is.

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The Kindness Crew Meets Craig Kielburger

Last week Chris and I went to see a strikingly inspirational lecture. It was well attended by all ages and appreciated enough that it received a standing ovation. Craig Keilburger, one of the founders of Free the Children, has always been a hero to us and so you can imagine our stoke when we discovered he was speaking in Victoria.

Craig spoke with heartfelt and sustained passion for an hour and a half. He had the audience both moved to tears and uplifted with potential. His genuine message to literally “Free the Children” from factories and sweatshops worldwide resonated strongly with all listening. During the Q and A period several young kids stood up, (in front of hundreds of people) and let Craig know that he not only had their admiration and support but their commitment as well.

This lecture was one of the most engaging and genuine presentations I have seen and I would highly recommend…

Exploring out the website,

Reading the book,

Or seeing the lecture.

Before departing for Turkey to continue his work Craig stayed behind to meet the audience. Chris and I got the chance to meet him and I cut together this bizarre little video with some footage taken on my crappy digital camera.

P.S. Many thank yous to to Dani, Chris’ partner, for alerting us to the fact that Craig was in town and for capturing the moment on a less than perfect camera.

Enjoy….
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Poetry and Kinder Business

What use has poetry in todays world?

Why do two members of the Kindness Crew have English Lit degree’s? Can this mean anything?

Personally I study poetry because it is often the end result of what the most brilliant minds of every age tend to produce. They did or do not write solely to entertain or gain wealthy patrons. No the true POETS try to question and answer the most importnat topics of the Present Day. Religion, women’s rights, death, birth, war, peace, politics, pollution and love are but a few examples of these subjects. But in the present era one can argue that BUSINESS and economics have taken center stage in the most important Current Events.

Governments and Religious Leaders must nowadays often step aside for the needs of the great and terrible business man. Business and Coprorations will most likely decide much of the planets future. But a force this powerful must begin to define ethical and moral boundaries. To quote Anita Rodrick: if big business does not operate with any honour or kindness to speak of then “God help us all”.

So WHAT do the POETS tell us?

Well……The poet David Whyte writes:

“It is difficult to be creative and enthusiastic about anything for which we do not feel affection. If the aims of the company are entirely fiscal, then they will engage those whose affections are toward the almighty dollar. If they have a range of qulaities or a sense of creative engagment…they may get in return something more worthwhile from their people…[Companies] must find a real way of asking people to bring these hidden, heartfelt qualities into the workplace. A way that doesn’t make them feel manipulated or the subject of some five-year plan. They must ask for a real conversation.”

So what is Mr. Whyte trying to tell us?

I would suggest after reading this, that companies recognize that in todays world: society is progressing far faster on the individual front as oppossed to the whole. People can and will be heard as we are knee deep in the information age. Compnaies must try to keep up with the ever changing needs and desires of their employee’s. they must work with people as oppossed to above them.

Pls send your comments on what Mr Whtye is speaking on and also feel free to share any more poetical comments on the business of today’s world.

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Ace of Assertiveness

Beside my computer lies a set of cards, each one dedicated not to a sports player, but to a human virtue. They are titled, virtues cards. Linda Kavelin Popov created these cards as a response to the overwhelming negative forces shaping culture and society. They are only one of the tools developed under the Virtues Project, who’s mission is to provide empowering strategies that inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life.

Today, the top card on the deck is assertiveness. The card reads, “being assertive means being positive and confident”. You are aware that you are a worthy person with your own special gifts. You think for yourself and express your own ideas. You know what you stand for and what you won’t stand for. You expect respect. Today I will look for ways to be assertive with myself. When I start to feel lethargic after working for hours at my desk, I will remember this card and draw strength from it.

Each day, I cut this deck look for the queen of creativity, or the king of cooperation or the ace of assertiveness. I focus on the card for a few minutes, reflecting on how I can embody this card for the next 24 hours tomorrow, I will draw another. This task may seem very simple, and it is. There is power in simplicity, especially in connection to how we live our lives. If we can focus on how to make small, positive changes, they will eventually growth beyond our imagination.

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