By Tino Mantella
TLG President & CEO
I have been thinking a lot about a specific excerpt from the book “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor. The message that has stayed with me is to perform five random acts of kindness every day.
Before I watched the attached YouTube clip which suggests one great thing we can all do – simply recognizing people for their contributions first thing every morning BEFORE EMAIL (now that’s hard!!), I actually started looking around to see how I could commit a random act. Let me rephrase that; how I could do something kind for another person. I am trying. For example, I saw an elderly woman carrying a box to her car at Avalon. I thought to myself; here is my chance. I asked her if I could carry the box to her car for her. She said no. That was a bummer. I wondered if it would count because I did ask. I suppose not.
Going the Extra Mile
Going back to Shawn’s message in the YouTube clip, sending a message, calling, or going the extra mile and delivering an unexpected recognition to another person can make an amazing impact, not just for a day but for a lifetime. I bet all of you reading this are like me and can remember times in your life when you got an unexpected message of appreciation or kindness.
I remember the time I got a letter from a person who lived in the New Haven YMCA residency. This came more than twenty years after I ran that Y and he had lived there. I didn’t remember the person, but he remembered me and thanked me for being kind to him and allowing him to have “a home” when he had nowhere else to go.
I remember when my daughter wrote in my birthday card that I was her hero. She remembered when she was about ten years old, and we were driving back from a vacation, and I saw a car on fire on the other side of the highway. She recalled that I ran across the road and helped the couple get out of the car and put the fire out. Twenty years had passed and so had my memory of the incident, until she raised it. And I remember when I got a call from one of my staff who had received a significant award and she told me that I was her second call right after her dad because she wanted to tell me of my contribution.
I want to continue to look for ways to show my own acts of kindness. Maybe I won’t ask people if I can carry their bags, but maybe I will. Recognizing others by telling them you see them and what they have meant to you can make all the difference in the world. It has for me. When one thinks about “decency” there are so many factors that go into being a decent person. Yet, you don’t have to climb the highest mountain. You/we just have to take steps in the right direction.
BTW, I want to thank the newest member of the TLG team, Eve Barrett, who is our CTO, for telling me that “The Happiness Advantage” is a good book that I would enjoy. Thanks Eve. The contents of the book made a difference to me, and I wouldn’t have read it if you hadn’t told me about it.