There are certain things we do throughout a week that take a lot of energy. They leave us feeling slightly drained or tapped out. Sometimes this can just be regular work, other times it is being at home and all the chores and things associated with that.
But there are other things that really require very little of us. These are things that, whether you do them or not, may not have a great impact on you. They are more selfless, and focused on others.
The two things I want to highlight here are simple things. They require very little energy, but can make a significant impact in others.
Really, these two things have the ability to change the way you interact with those around you, and increase the level of impact you may have in the world around you.
Be nice to someone you don’t “need” to
It’s easy to be nice to people you like. It’s easy to be nice to your spouse or your kids. And really, it’s a given that you’re going to be nice to the people you love.
It’s probably a given you’re going to be nice (at least outwardly) to those you work with as well.
What I’m talking about here is two-fold.
Don’t just be outwardly nice; actually mean it. We can be talented at putting on a nice face and exchanging pleasantries with people we really do not care for. That co-worker you have that aggravates you, that you avoid sitting at the lunch table with, that you walk the other way when you see them coming–genuinely be nice to that person.
Also, we interact with a lot of people on a daily basis we don’t “need” to be nice to. They are people we may not see again or with which we have no significant interaction. It could be at the register of the grocery store or the drive thru window or the gas station worker. What would it look like to be genuinely nice, make eye contact, and extend a compliment or warm greeting to someone like this?
I am by no means an expert here, but the times when I have just looked up, looking into people’s eyes and shown them value in the way I interact with them, have been powerful in both my life and theirs. People tend to perk up and feel good when someone values them and speaks a kind word.
Be that kind of person today.
Take the time to stop and listen
If you are like most in the United States, you are busy. The busier we get, the less likely we are to stop and truly listen to others.
Busyness can rob us of the joy of story and the beauty of our surroundings.
A second way to significantly impact someone today is to stop, look them in the eye, and practice active listening. Hear what they are saying, see what they are meaning, and respond with something more than a one or two word answer.
Being kind and taking the time to stop and listen will change the way you see people and the way they see you. It speaks to the inherent worth of people when we do these things.
Put the phone down. Be willing to slow down. Look up. Look people in the eyes. Interact with care and kindness. That’s a world I want to live in. What about you?