“Be Useful. Be kind”. These were words spoken by President Obama and they stuck in my mind and boy am I glad they did. I try to imagine what kind of place the world would be if we would all follow the two simple steps. Being useful and kind has changed the way i look at life.
What does being useful comprise of? It does not mean always going out of your way to help the next person, for me, this simply means being the best version of yourself and doing the best that you can at the job/task that you have been given. Being useful means doing something that benefits either you or someone else. How about waking up each morning and making a conscious decision to be useful? After some time of thinking this way, it becomes your permanent way of thinking. Put a poster up in a place where you can read it as soon as you wake up, remind yourself the importance of being useful. I do not know about you but I am most productive when I know that the task that I have to take on for the day will be useful for someone else. Usefulness does not have to be immediate, it can also be in the long run which means you could take on a task now and its benefits are realized in the next month or year and that is fine! I remember a former boss asking me to help her compile an annex list for a research paper she had been working on. I could see how much under pressure she was and so I dropped everything that I was doing and invested time in perfecting the annex list for her. Through this, I was useful in many ways, I lifted the burden off her shoulders and contributed to the very noble project that she was working on. No-one will ever know how instrumental I felt and how rewarding it was for me but I will never forget. That is because being useful, in both big and small ways has become one of my main life goals.
Being kind is a separate element, not all useful people are kind and not all kind people are useful. It is a balance that has to be attained. Being kind starts with small steps; holding the door open for the next person, smiling at a stranger and it of cause includes the classic helping an old lady to cross the street. Allow finding the usefulness of the job you do compel you to be kind while at it. We have often heard it said ‘be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle’. I am a strong believer of this and yet I know and accept that my being kind does not translate into everyone else being kind to me. Before reacting to someone that has upset you, ask yourself, are my actions kind, if the answer is ‘no’ then react in another way. There will be people unnecessarily mean, nevermind that, let it motivate you to be kind and useful, even to them and together we can make the world a better place.
As your day comes to an end and you realize that you have been useful and kind, then I Hope You Dance.