- Michael Thompson
When I began writing in earnest, I was petrified to share my work with others. What would people say about it? Would my friends make fun of me? I was so riddled with self-doubt that I didn’t tell anyone about my blog until a year after I first created it.
However, one day I crossed paths with a man who in our shared town of Barcelona had the reputation for being as kind as he was clever. Our encounter was brief — I questioned the impression I had made on him.
A few months after we met, to my surprise, I received a ping that he had left a comment on one of my articles: “This is good.” A few weeks later it happened again: “Keep at it.”
These messages may seem small but they played a big role in helping me gain the confidence to stand firmly behind my work.
Fast forward to today and I’m exactly where I want to be in my career. Each day I get to do work I care about surrounded by people I love.
This is all thanks to someone taking just a few minutes out of their day to give another human being a boost.
If you want to be rich, be thoughtful:
Over my career, I have worked across three continents. However, no matter where I was, the people who were thoughtful, and proactively created special moments for the people around them, seemed to be doing alright for themselves.
This is for the simple fact that it’s hard to be poor if you’re making the lives of the people around you rich.
The beauty of the world we live in is we have unlimited opportunities to make these magic moments for the people around us. All we have to do is lift up our heads from time to time and think about ways to create them.
Be the person who thinks about others
Watching where everyone else is going and then having the courage to do the opposite is one of the actions that show up again and again when studying successful people. In short, they make a conscious decision to stand out. Fortunately, the easiest way to get noticed today is by being thoughtful towards others.
Heads down and phones out — most of us are oblivious to the world around us, including our fellow human beings. That’s exactly why prioritizing kindness can be so powerful.
Think about how you would feel if, instead of grabbing your phone first thing in the morning, you were to look your partner in the eye and say, “You’re beautiful.”
Would you feel better or worse about yourself if, rather than focusing only on your own writing, you were to help someone else improve theirs?
These acts of kindness aren’t only soup for the souls of the people you help; they feed your own soul as well. The words “when you give, you get” are cliché for a reason: they’re grounded in truth.
Don’t idly wait for opportunities to do good in this world — actively create them
I’m not asking you to put aside your own goals; by all means, keep pursuing your ambitions. What I am asking you to do, however, is to think about ways in which you can leave each person you come into contact with better than you found them.
That friend who’s nervous about their upcoming interview: call them beforehand to give them a word of encouragement.
That new person in the office who’s working extra hard to make a good impression: let them know that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed.
That timid, hesitant writer whose words show promise: tell them to keep at it.
Kind words and thoughtful deeds, no matter how small and insignificant you think they may be, can go a long way. They may even serve as the tipping point that finally gives somebody the confidence to go all-in on their career or passion project.
Change the world one person at a time
We all have big dreams. We all want to be respected and treated as unique individuals. We often forget, however, that our lives aren’t measured by how many people inspire us, but rather how many people we inspire. And the beauty of this is that it doesn’t have to be something that we consider big.
One smile at a time. One compliment at a time. One warm gesture at a time.
That’s how you change the world.