Here’s why you should be kind at work

Here’s why you should be kind at work

This time last year, I visited a bustling cafe in downtown Salt Lake City. I had never been there before, so I decided to go all out  breakfast and a cinnamon roll— Carb City.

After finishing my meal, I went to pay my bill, but there was a problem: I couldn’t get my server’s attention. After trying to catch her eye for almost ten minutes, I felt miffed. After all, I had stuff to do…

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When she finally noticed me, I asked for my check. She smiled and told me that someone had come in and bought breakfast for everyone in the cafe, and that I owed nothing.

Surprised  shocked, really  I thanked her for the service, gave her a tip and left happier than I arrived.

Later that day, I sat at my computer and thought about my breakfast experience. I wondered why acts of kindness leave such an impression on people.

Could it be supply and demand? Are they really so uncommon in the modern world that their value goes up?

I can’t speak for everyone, but from my personal experience, the answer seems to be yes. No matter how many times we hear “treat others the way you want to be treated,” it never seems to stick.

It’s unusual to say hello to strangers on the street or talk to someone on the bus. This seems odd to me, especially considering the demonstrable benefits of kindness. Altruism can improve your health and even create physical changes within your body.

Don’t believe me? Read on  and don’t worry, this isn’t going to be feel-good mumbo-jumbo. I have some data for your consideration.

The rewards of kindness

What do you do when you feel down or stressed? Treat yourself to dinner? Wallow in self-pity? Order an extra drink?

Life is full of stressors that require coping mechanisms. Each person will have a different set. The problem is that many of us practice coping behaviors that don’t actually make us feel better

In fact, all three of the options I listed above are likely to compound whatever problem drove you to them in the first place. You’re lonely, sad or disappointed. Turning inward isn’t going to make you feel better. It’s bad logic.

Turning outward is a better choice.