In 2015, a question was posed “so, if you’re so sensitive to the pulse of change, what’s the next shift in the focus of human relations?”
The answer surprised us both. Kindness, I said.
We were sitting in the basement café of the RSA. The BBC’s Religious Affairs correspondent, Caroline Wyatt was at another table in a thrillingly vivid cerise mac which would date the meeting at around 2015.
Since then, it has been something of a slow burn and a matter of impatient finger thrumming in anticipation of its rise up agenda items.
But it seems we’re approaching that happy moment when promoting acts of kindness is understood as a universal good, available to all. I don’t mean deliberate action designed to go out of the way to be kind to one another. I mean when the default setting of kindness informs the nature of actions.
Action designed to benefit others necessarily benefits the doer. It generates a sense of well-being, calms the viscera and extends agapé. The glorious validation that comes from being meaningfully useful rolls in, wave upon wave, when we give our higher selves license to spill generosity of spirit over our rim.
I say that but offer no scientific proof: yet.
Together with University of Sussex, the BBC’s All in the Mind is launching The Kindness Test “to explore our everyday experiences of kindness in different settings.”
Starting: that’s the hardest moment of anything as it requires peak energy. Starting the process to lift intentions over the hump of prudence (self interest) isn’t nearly as heavy a thing as one might think. And the benefits … well, you know them already and that they kick in with immediate effect.
Nourishing virtues like the capacity for kindness – thankfully limitless in us all – it’ll be so interesting to listen to how it impacts your mood, emotional resilience, well-being and vitality generally. Happily, business leaders are beginning to recognize the degree of power which comes if they have the courage to be kind.
Scroll back through these pages to search out plangent howls for compassionate Kindfulness: there are a few.