Maybe We Just Aren’t a Kind People

By Jay Forte

Why is it we pull together when confronted with a catastrophe? Remember how we felt after 9/11. We cared about each other. We loved each other. We helped each other. We didn’t see our differences; we saw our similarities. We wanted to hear each other’s stories and cared enough about what they were going through to really listen and to try to help. We were united.

Now look at us. We see each other as enemies. We can’t listen to people who don’t share our perspectives. In fact, we demean, criticize and hurt those who don’t share our beliefs. We lose family and friends over a variety of hot button issues, like equal rights, free speech, racism, the environment and a variety of other things that fill the news.

I can’t remember a time when we have had so little regard for each other. We are so focused on having what we want that we forget we share the country with others. This realization could incite a range of emotions, but for me, it’s disappointment.

I’m disappointed with the churches that support and condone hatred and disrespect of anyone. I’m disappointed with anyone in a political office who disrespects any part of our population. I’m disappointed with anyone who thinks some of us are more valuable or more important and treats others poorly as a result. I’m disappointed with people who don’t have room in their heart for those who are suffering, homeless or in pain just because they don’t look like, act like or live like we do.

This behavior is seemingly so apparent that it makes me wonder: maybe we just aren’t a kind people.

But, we weren’t born hateful and judgmental. We learned it. So, if we can learn it, could we also relearn how to be kind?

Our country is an experiment. Could people who look different, believe different things and live in different ways learn to see what is great in each other, collaborate with each other and find a way to peacefully live with each other? Could we show the rest of the world that we don’t always agree but we commit to solving our issues fairly and respectfully? Could we show the world that when we are kind, caring and respectful of each other, we unite to do remarkable things both at home and in the world?

I believe we can.

If we are mindful enough, we can learn to shift from seeing what is different with others to seeing what makes them remarkable (because there are remarkable attributes in all of us). And as such, they deserve our respect, care and support.

Our founding fathers’ intention in creating a country committed to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness wasn’t about who could have the most stuff, so we could feel more important than others. It was the belief that we must work together to build a culture that allowed everyone to self-realize, to cultivate their potential so they could deliver that potential back to our world. This is how things improve. This is the formula to be our best to make things better for all of us in our country.

And if we can do this within our borders, we could learn to do it and teach others to do it with everyone on the planet.

The result? A kinder and more mindful world where everyone has a life that matters. We all live under the same big sky. Whatever life sends, we have the collective genius to handle it. But to do this, we need everyone. We need everyone to contribute their ideas, support and remarkable abilities. Life is big and complicated, but we have what we need to handle it wisely and well. To do this, we will have to learn – or relearn – how to be kind.

Take Action

Check in on yourself. Are you kind, caring and respectful to everyone? If so, bravo! If not, check in on whatever beliefs you have that give you permission to behave otherwise. Kindness encourages relationships; being unkind discourages them. Relationships drive trust, and trust drives the ability to work together and solve life’s challenges. Maybe it is time for a belief adjustment.


Consider reading Your Personal Board of Directors

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Staying Calm and Wise in a Wild World: Your Reality Check

By Jay Forte

More than 7 billion people live in our world, each with their own unique behaviors, strengths, talents, values and perspectives. With so many differences going head-to-head on a regular basis, it’s little wonder it can seem like all hell is breaking loose. At every turn, there is some negative or disheartening news about politics, taxes, healthcare or terrorist activity. There are days I think the world is spinning out of control.  

But here’s your reality check. It’s not. It’s just the world doing what it does. The challenge is to learn how to stay calm and wise when presented with the events happening in our world.

Here are some of the popular myths of today’s wild world and your reality check on each.

Myth: Conflicts are inevitable.
Reality: Conflicts come when we are unable or unwilling to see value in another’s perspective while holding tightly to what we think is right. By learning to see the value in others, and where we are similar instead of different, is the starting point to learning to live without continual conflict. Differences of opinions are inevitable, but conflicts don’t have to be.

Myth: For you to win, someone has to lose.
Reality: There is no need for a zero-sum game approach to life. Everyone is equipped with their own strengths and talents, which may help fill a void that you can’t tackle with your own strengths and talents. Learning to see each person’s intrinsic value enables us to be wiser in the way we share what we have to help others succeed in life.

Myth: There is only one right way to move forward.
Reality: There is no one way to do life. The road to a happy and successful life is as varied as the people living them. You may find that after tuning in to yourself and reflecting on what you discover, you may have some beliefs that need realigning because they make you dogmatic, judgmental or critical. Each person has their own way of moving forward in order to be their best self while also respecting, supporting and empowering others to do the same.

Myth: Life is hard, mean and unforgiving.
Reality: Your ability to live a happy, meaningful and successful life is not based on what life gives you. Instead, it is based on what you do with, and how you respond to, what life gives you. Life isn’t always happy when you are rich or miserable when you’re poor. You aren’t better or worse because you align with many of the ideals of either the Republicans or the Democrats. You aren’t better if you are a Christian, a Jew, Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist. You simply have a different set of beliefs that help you learn how to be present in life.

These are just four of the many myths our wild world inspires. What can you do today to stop living your life based on myth?

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. What values or beliefs keep you small, judgmental and critical, and what can you replace them with?
  2. What can you do today to better understand and respect others?
  3. How can you make the world a better place?


Consider reading Small Actions Lead to Sustainable Change

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