Building A Better Culture With Kindness

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted – Aesop

Who Will Pay For It?

When President Joe Biden introduced his Build Back Better plan, he outlined a comprehensive strategy to improve child care, healthcare, local infrastructure like roads and bridges, and combat climate change. At the time of introduction, the price tag for this bill was around $2 trillion. The main question most people wondered was, “How would it be funded?” Here was the answer:

“…….the plan is fully paid for by asking more from the very largest corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The 2017 tax cut delivered a windfall to them, and this would help reverse that—and invest in the country’s future. No one making under $400,000 will pay a penny more in taxes.”

While the debate ensues about the nuances and the price tag of President’s Biden plan, there is one debate we can no longer have; we need a better culture. This need stems from a continuous stream of hurtful words and actions that are on display every day. Whistleblowers from social media companies have revealed that social media sites apply algorithms that weaponize human nature. This action, to the benefit of social media companies but to the detriment of humanity, promotes content that would make us angry and fired up. This, in turn, spills over into our everyday lives and infects our relationships and interactions with others. We are on edge more than ever before. Our minds and hearts are consistently uploaded with the malware of hatred and anger, making us a culture filled with tension and ready to cancel anyone with whom we are at odds. Our lives are warped and consequently trapped in vicious loops that mentally numb us and rob us of the ability to be civil towards each other. The result is a culture that’s on the verge of collapse. The figure below illustrates an example of a vicious cycle: 

All is not lost, though, because a better culture is not only possible but doable. Unlike President Biden’s plan that calls for the wealthy to pay for, a better culture is something that we can all invest in daily. This month, our blog series Build a Better Culture centers on how to increase the level of kindness in our culture and decrease the toxic levels of churlishness. A better culture starts with better people who make small improvements daily, which can have a tremendous impact on our society. Here is the month’s roadmap:

A granular look at kindness (3/10/22)

Four ways to increase kindness (3/17/22)

When kindness infiltrates the culture (3/24/22)

First, we will apply a microscopic lens to discover the inputs and values that go into making kindness and why it plays a part in building a better culture. Our takeaway here is that kindness is not a feeling or a personality trait but it is a decision and an action we take daily to treat each other better. Next, we will learn ways that we can act to display kindness and begin the journey towards becoming better. Finally, we will take a visionary look at what happens when culture is impacted with kindness. For this to occur, a collective investment must be made to develop the framework that can house kindness in our culture on a more consistent basis. 

A Collective Investment

When Russia invaded Ukraine, something unprecedented happened. As Russia marched its formidable military arsenal to the small country of Ukraine, the citizens, starting with their President, showed immense resolve to stand their ground and defend their nation despite the odds being overwhelmingly against them. This collective investment by the Ukrainian people against Russia has been a source of inspiration to many who are watching the events unfold. It has also triggered immense support from companies worldwide that have halted their financial dealings with Russia. 

Their stance reminds us that with a collective resolve, we can also stand and push back enemy forces of hate, rudeness, and incivility that threaten our ability to show kindness. Compassion, which is a prerequisite to kindness, slowly ebbs out of our lives when we allow the toxicity surrounding us to take up residence in our hearts.  

Final Thought: Building a better culture is fostered through an individual resolve and responsibility to be a daily conduit of kindness. Regardless of what any given day brings, the decision to be kind breeds an environment of selflessness, civility, and empathy and keeps pollutants that promote incivility at bay. 

Keep on Keeping on!

Notes

https://www.whitehouse.gov/build-back-better/

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/12/social-media-democracy/600763/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-heart-and-science-of-kindness-2019041816447

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