One thing we all have in common is that we like to be complimented.
And on the flipside, none of us like to be insulted.
Even those particularly evolved folks who bear insult with equanimity and don’t respond in kind, we can rest assured that they too would prefer to be treated with kindness than to flex their humility muscles.
Unexpected kindness is particularly pleasurable. Imagine you are going about your affairs and someone walks up to you and says, ‘hi there, you have a really beautiful smile,’ or ‘it was really nice how you held the door for that woman with the three children.’
It would kind of make your day, wouldn’t it?
That’s precisely what happened to Ett Venter. Ett was shopping at the mall when a woman he didn’t know approached him and said, ‘hey dude, this is a bit weird, but I just wanted to tell you I think you look great. Have a nice day.’
It was a brief and simple encounter, but it changed Ett’s day. It even changed his life.
In this Ted talk, Ett discusses the power of compliments and our ability to make tremendous differences with very easy and costless words and actions.
At this time of conflict and strained social discourse, it is worth reflecting on the potent ability of our words to set the stage for how we will be received and how we will incline others to react.
We are often so focused on policies, parties, and platforms that we overlook the shared humanity that underlies and outweighs our ideological differences.
There are vital issues to be discussed and debated for certain, but usually an approach of kindness can be disarming and infectious, and we will find that the one across from us who seems so foreign and unyielding is just as eager to be treated with compassion as we are.
Begin with an unexpected compliment, and we may find something very different from what we ourselves expected.
Watch Ett Venter’s Ted Talk here, or by clicking on the image above.