Do you fully realize just how shitty some people’s lives are?
Do you know that some people are barely making it through life and that it takes every ounce of energy they have just to keep moving?
Do you get it that some people are broken and filled with regret day after day?
You might say you realize all of this, but do you really?
All of this is true. But most of these people experiencing this sort of pain are hiding it.
In fact, I don’t believe I have ever seen someone wearing a billboard that says hey my life sucks and I want to die.
They are ashamed of their pain. They have been conditioned not to ask for help. Told to suck it up and keep it to themselves. Man up.
So you likely won’t know these suffering people when you see them. But do know that they exist and that they surround you.
Did it surprise you that Anthony Bourdain killed himself?
He had it all. Except for happiness. Many others have far less of a life than he had.
Oh, sure we can judge these people. Perhaps if they had worked harder in life. If they would only pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
Anthony Bourdain worked hard. He made a great life for himself. He was still unhappy.
We judge all the time. Does that make you feel good? Truly?
What feels even better than judging is helping. Helping is a win-win. It makes you feel good to help someone and it makes them feel good.
I am not going to waste my time with a quote or research on that point. It’s something you can experience yourself and know it to be true.
And helping someone is something that you can do every day of your life very easily. Stupid easy.
It will take little of your time and effort. Mere seconds even.
More importantly, it may make all the difference in the world to someone. Your kindness could make a life or death difference to someone. For example:
Tim Sanders is a leadership coach and former Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo!. Sanders advises all of his employees to reach out to their workers and subordinates to show their appreciation for their work. He often tells the story of how he did just that, speaking to his staff individually, giving them positive feedback on their performance, and telling them that he appreciated their efforts. Sanders recalls telling one specific man how glad he was that the man come into his life.
After Sanders visited with his team, he was shocked when that man turned up a few days later and gave him an expensive gift, an X-Box console. As it turns out, this employee had purchased the X-Box by pawning a revolver that he had intended to use to kill himself. After hearing the small words of praise from his boss, the man decided to keep living and seek help for his depression. Just a few kind words were all it took to help him out of his suicidal funk.
“Sometimes people just need people,” Sanders said.
Small-minded simpleton that I am sometimes, I can get annoyed when I go to a fast food place and the staff are rude or don’t speak.
It’s easy to get annoyed with those people. It’s easy to get impatient. It’s easy to dismiss people.
But they may be the very people who need our help the most. Whose lives may be shattered. Their rudeness may be their way of coping with their pain.
Instead of doing something that’s negatively easy. Let’s do something else that’s easy. Positively easy.
Why don’t we adopt the approach above. Let’ s start handing out some kindness to people.
The next time you go to a fast food place, or any place where someone waits on you, engage them. Truly engage them.
Ask them how they are today. “Hey, you doing alright today?”
And then look them in the eye and tell them you want them to have a good day.
You may have just saved their life. Or maybe you just made them feel a little better.
They might come away from that experience and think maybe everything will be alright.
I guarantee you will feel a little better. And maybe that’s all you needed to make your day, or even your life, a little better.
That’s all you gotta do. So simple. Positive and easy. Positively easy.