Through one act of kindness, be it at home or at our workplace, we can create a kind, gracious society.
There is a story about four people named EVERYBODY, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY, and NOBODY. A very important task had to be accomplished and EVERYBODY was sure that SOMEBODY would do it. ANYBODY could have done it but NOBODY did it. SOMEBODY got very angry about this because it was EVERYBODY’s job. EVERYBODY thought ANYBODY could do it, but NOBODY realised that EVERYBODY wouldn’t do it.
Mr Jean-Baptiste Moliere, a French playwright, once said, “It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.”
What we do is generally understood by all. It is what we do not do, thinking that it is not our individual responsibility that is often a problem.
We are responsible for how we treat others. Whether we are in a private, government, or non-profit organisation, we have the power and responsibility to make a difference in our workplace, and to the community around us by doing good beyond our call of duty.
We can reach out to one another by simply asking “how are you today?”, and then providing a listening ear. We can even challenge ourselves to do one random act of kindness every day, be it opening doors for others, offering a cup of coffee to a colleague, or inviting a new colleague out for lunch.
We can also pay it forward with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes and collective acts of kindness. CSR is the way we make the business of kindness our business beyond generating profits. The benefits of kindness have the power to transform an organisation to not only enrich the lives of its employees, but also the community it operates in.
CSR is about giving back to the community and it starts with being aware of what the community around us needs. It is about serving others through volunteering our time and effort, or simply performing small acts of kindness for the people we meet every day.
Many studies have shown that doing good deeds for others leads to happier people. Helping others bestows a sense of satisfaction on the receiver, the giver, and all who witnessed the kind acts. When we help others, our brains release a mixture of chemicals, including dopamine, which makes us feel good. 1 Hence, by being kind, we influence others to be kind too, and this produces an endless chain of effects, a virtuous circle of kindness.
Dr Martin Luthur King, Jr once said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” As an organisation, we need to ask, what are we doing for others that is making a positive difference? And more importantly, as an individual, what am I doing to serve others in my workplace and community?
In 2014, the Singapore Kindness Movement partnered with Gardenia in a month-long campaign to encourage acts of kindness in daily life. For each hashtag #NationofKindness on social media, SKM donated a loaf of Gardenia bread to families in need. A total of more than 4,900 loaves of bread were distributed.
As part of our team-building activities, we also volunteer with various charity organisations such as The Volunteer Switchboard and Waterways Watch Society to help in the good work they do.
A kind and gracious society starts with each one of us making a difference in our workplaces, homes, and the spaces we interact in. It all starts with one act of kindness at a time.
1 Hamilton, DR, 2011, 5 beneficial side effects of kindness, The Huffington post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-r-hamilton-phd/kindness-benefits_b_869537.html
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