I never dreamed that I’d be honoring people for their kindness, but that’s exactly what we’re doing this month down on Seed Song Farm in Kingston. I think it’s a revolutionary concept—recognizing people simply for how nice they are and how they treat other people.
In fact, I would love it if kindness becomes a metric for success in life. Imagine if we have a kindness meter that travels with us for our whole lives, slowly building up and at times, inevitably, going down.
This little meter would make us each a little central “bank” of value based on the way we show up in the world. If we’re mean all the time and the storage of kindness has a hard time building up, this may encourage a person to be a little nicer. If we’re often nice, our kindness accounts will easily build up; we could even be so nice that our riches would have to be shared—a typical thing that a kind person would do anyway.
When it comes to encouraging kindness in our society, it seems like we’ve addressed bullies on the playground, with most schools bragging about zero tolerance on bullying. And yet, bullies run our world’s militaries. Bullies, who are known for not being nice, are rewarded in politics and government. They force us into wars and crippling debt that most nice people don’t want to be involved in.
Could we find peace instead? Peace is possible if we stop treating it like a political state. Peace is a mental state, a natural desire to be kind in our thoughts, our words and our actions.
So let’s continue to encourage people to be nice by rewarding them for it. It’s kind of easy: smile and the whole world smiles with you.