Kindness is one of the beautiful things that always make our lives better in some way, shape, or form. The more we practice kindness, the better we’ll feel and the better our relationships will be. In today’s episode of the Pursuit of Learning, we’re having a deep conversation with someone who has mastered the art of being kind. Donna Cameron, the author of the multi-award-winning book, “A Year of Living Kindly: Choices That Will Change Your Life and the World Around You,” joins us today to talk about all things kindness.
We kick off the conversation with a brief review of what motivated Donna, the story of what led to the realizations behind writing her book, some of the values we’ve lost as a society in recent years, and what we have to do in order to rebuild those lost values. Moving onto kindness, Donna explains two key distinctions we have to make; being nice versus being kind and being kind versus not being unkind. We talk about the role these definitions play when it comes to practices that help us be kind to fellow human beings.
According to Donna, kindness is a practice where we need to take certain risks, but it also comes with benefits. We talk about some of the scientific research that explains several benefits of being kind, such as being able to sleep better, enhanced creativity, and greater life satisfaction. We also talk about how corporations can cultivate a culture built around kindness and how we can practice kindness toward ourselves.
Just like in everything else in life, our path to kindness may also have some obstacles. We talk about some of these obstacles and some things we can practice in order to overcome these obstacles. Another concept Donna dives deep into is passing the gift of kindness to our future generations. She explains that when our children see us being kind to other people, they tend to absorb those traits of kindness, developing kindness within themselves as well.
[01:24] Life & Motivation – We start the conversation by looking at some of the things that motivate Donna in life and the motivation behind her book, A Year of Living Kindly.
[08:22] Bringing Back Lost Values – At the moment, our society seems to be struggling with issues such as political divisiveness, the us-versus-them mentality, and the adverse effects of technology. We talk about how we can use the message of kindness to recover from these issues.
[11:51] Being Kind vs. Being Nice – Donna emphasizes a subtle difference between being kind and being nice that makes a huge impact. We talk about what differentiates these concepts and how identifying this difference helps us in our relationships with fellow human beings.
[18:59] Kind and Unkind – It’s not enough to not be unkind, says Donna. Donna shares with us a story that shows us the value of being kind and how our kindness can reward us in surprising ways.
[26:07] Benefits of Kindness – Although it may seem like a minor thing, kindness comes with a set of physical and mental benefits. Donna dives into some of the research that explores these benefits of being kind.
[31:35] Kindness in the Office – Donna shares her thoughts on how businesses can cultivate kindness in the workplace culture and how it will contribute to the quality of the workplace.
[38:24] Pause and Kindness – Most of us are trained through living to respond immediately. And this tendency to respond immediately takes away from us the ability to think about our responses before we execute them. Donna shares her thoughts on why we should practice taking a pause.
[43:30] Kindness Inwards – Despite being kind to others, oftentimes, we tend to put others first and not be that kind to ourselves. We’re often our biggest critics. We dive deep into why we need to practice self-kindness and some strategies we can use to get started with being kind to ourselves.
[59:40] Forgiveness – How the practice of forgiveness helps us be kind towards others as well as ourselves.
[1:04:06] Values – Values can come in different shapes. Different people may perceive values from different perspectives. Donna shares her take on how we can identify our values and develop our behaviors around our values.
[1:07:06] Roadblocks – The path towards being kind may not be that easy because there are some obstacles that get in our way, such as fear, lack of time. We explore how we can overcome these obstacles.
[1:21:00] Children & Kindness – When asked how we can teach our children to be kind, Donna’s response was to model it because when our children see us being kind to others, they’ll start going on the same path.
[1:28:37] Situationally Kind – Donna explains one of the behaviors we want to avoid in our path to kindness. We talk about the negative effects of it and what we can do to avoid it.
Connect with Donna
Mentioned in the Episode:The Nonviolent Communication Training Course by Marshall Rosenberg: