Today we are going to look through a financial lens to see how investing kindness can reap great rewards. But first, some context.
Once a year, ADDO brings in the company that manages our 401k to explain its function to newly eligible team members and to answer important questions about investing. These portfolios, like most stock market investments, look different week to week depending on how the market is doing. Therefore, this company rightly encourages us to have a long view of the money. This is especially important for younger team members. They advise us not to check our accounts too frequently because it’s easy to have gut-reactions to the sometimes dramatic changes and swings of the market.
Here’s the bottom line: 401k investments don’t always pay in the short term. They aren’t designed to. However, when we measure the performance of the market over an extended period of time, intentional investments will likely increase, compound, and build up to a point that’s ready for retirement.
OK, enough of the financial talk. I know you don’t come here for this.
A few weeks ago, I heard this quote from Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy: “Kindness costs very little but pays great dividends.”
This statement caused me to think about kindness as an investment, one that generates a return over time.
Truett was right. Kindness doesn’t cost much. Our time, energy, effort, and money require a lot from us, but being kind to people doesn’t drain us of our assets. And it pays great dividends.
Now, this doesn’t mean your kindness should be motivated by personal gain. Like a 401k investment, if you think of kindness as immediately reciprocal, you will definitely be disappointed. If you are kind to someone, you won’t always receive that same kindness in return. Rather, it’s like tending a garden, sowing seeds of kindness will often bear fruit down the road.
I understand how easy it is to become disappointed, tired, or jaded when we go out of our way to be kind to someone, and they don’t reciprocate (or even worse, when they act annoyed). Don’t lose faith. I believe that if you are kind early, often, and consistently over a long period of time, it will pay dividends back into your life.
So let me encourage you with this: When the friend hurts you, when the coworker disappoints you, when the boss doesn’t acknowledge your efforts, when your kids aren’t thankful, when your students act like they could care less, when all of the kindness seems to be invested in people who aren’t reciprocating, just remember that you’re playing the long game.
Kindness costs very little but ultimately pays great dividends.
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