Has everybody noticed how
nasty people have become? When did
"nice" become a relic of the past? When did vulgarity, and discourtesy, take over?
One seminal moment was when a Congressman yelled out in the middle of former President Barack Obama's 2009 State of the Union speech,
Rep. Joe Wilson disagreed with what the President said about his impending health care law, and he screamed out his disapproval. That unprecedented coarseness sent shockwaves throughout Congress, as well as through our civil landscape.
Although politics has always been a rough and tumble business, that disrespectful outburst was a new low.
Others have blamed our discourtesy on talk radio, TV news and social media. They claim the crassness is caused by extremes on both left and right.
In the 8 years since Wilson's outburst, things have only gotten worse. We seem to be living in an era of
argument. Once-thoughtful disagreements have now become raging rows.
The nastiness has seeped into our family life, TV talk shows, social media--where cyber bullying has become epidemic--as well as our everyday conversations and casual meetings. It was recently reported that the unruliness has spread to fast food joints! We might never agree on why this civic nastiness has exploded, but we do know this: it's
bad for our health.
On the other hand, there is scientific proof that
niceness has positive health benefits. According to Dr. David Hamilton, author of "Why Kindness is Good for You,"
acting nice elevates levels of dopamine in the brain and creates a "natural high".
This emotional well-being can elevate blood flow to the heart--it's heart healthy!--and can slow the aging process.
When we are kind to each other, says Hamilton, we feel a
connection, and new relationships are forged, and existing ones strengthened.
Perhaps best of all:
it's contagious. One person's kind act can easily multiply: people LIKE it and WANT to be kind, too.
I think niceness matters.
And so does tennis icon Roger Federer. I'm crazy about Roger! And not just because he's arguably the world's greatest tennis player ever. Besides winning 19 Grand Slams, he is the most marketable athlete in the world, is fluent in four languages, is a father of four, and at 36 years old, is playing tennis like a teenager.
And unlike many in the public eye, he's nice, and respectful, and never loses his cool, even when he loses a match. He's the epitome of class. In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, he was asked what it felt like to be so universally celebrated. He responded,
"It's nice to be important, but more important to be nice."
How's that for an answer?!
When you ask employees what makes a good boss, most will say a person who is kind, and treats them well. Studies have shown consistently that
kindness brings out the
best in workers - not threats or insults.
Just ask yourself: how do you
feel when unexpected kindness hits you in the face?!
When someone is
extra polite on the phone? When someone
apologizes for bumping you in the street? When a driver
lets you in as you stew in the middle of the intersection? When a bill collector
waives a fee after you've protested a charge?
You probably feel
gifts of gratitude
go a long way toward making us feel happy. When people are polite and helpful, the joy is palpable.
Now imagine running your business
on a platform of NICE.
THAT can truly set you apart from others.
We have holidays celebrating Moms, Dads, Religions, Christopher Columbus, Pizza, Golf, and kids ("Bring your kids to work!" day)...How about
instituting a National Holiday called
" Let's be nice to each other day!"
If we can't practice it willingly, maybe we can legislate it?!
Or maybe, we
Just Do It.