The Butterfly Effect of Kindness

How being kind amplifies

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Sure, we’ve all gone to the grocery store and the clerk didn’t even lift his or her head during the entire transaction. But does it mean you can’t say “hello, thank you and have a great day?” Any of you who have joined me via phone at the store know that when I get to the checkout I ask if you prefer to hold or if I can call you back. That gesture alone often elicits a positive response from a cashier. Greeting both the bagger and clerk by name, treating them as people not servants, grows smiles and sometimes (sadly) a look of shock or confusion. Your simple greeting may change that person’s attitude towards the day. They may have just had a poor interaction with a boss, been ignored by the cell phone using customers for an hour, and so on. You making that effort to interact with the cashier… and the bagger too…and by name as a bonus…reconnects them to the people that surround them.

Too often we ignore the people around us. You may think that no interaction is not negative, but imagine spending your whole day with everyone walking around and treating you as invisible. Taking the extra step to greet someone, hold a door or just smile can change a person’s day. Imagine a time when someone’s kindness or helpful gesture redirected your attitude. And your better attitude rubbed off on another and so on. This is the Butterfly Effect, when one small change has larger effects elsewhere. In what way can you be more present and kind today?

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