How many of us have heard this saying before? Raise your hand if you have. Ok, now put your hand down because it would look funny if you continued reading with your arm in the air. Most of us, at some point in our lives, have heard this advice. It really rings true. Like most of the quotes attributed to Mr. Franklin, can help us with productivity and accomplishing our life goals. The quicker we do things, the quicker they will be done. Often, if we do put something off it can delay the accomplishment of our goals and dreams by months or even years. That sounds pretty important doesn’t it? We are going to apply this theory to something even more imporatant!
What could possibly be more important than the accomplishment of our goals and dreams? That determines the success of our entire life! This is true. Hard work and avoiding procrastination, which we are all guilty of to some degree, has a huge impact on our material success. Notice the word in italics. That is because if there is anything more important than our success on a material level, it is our success on an emotional and spiritual level. One of the most important ways in which we can develop a healthy emotion and spiritual life is to give kindness to others.
The quote from Emerson above highlights a what is perhaps the most important reason for not delaying our kindness – we never know when it may be too late. I am big into reading biographies of people I respect and admire. One of my favorite stories is the life of Louis Armstrong, the famous jazz musician. When he was young, a kind Jewish couple bought him a trumpet. He went on to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, trumpet players of all time. How different might his life, and consequently the world at large, been different without that act of kindness? There are so many people struggling with accomplishing goals and projects they are working on that a little kindness might keep them going. If they keep going, their accomplishments could go on to change the world.
Of course it is very important to give an act of kindness to keep people hope when they are engaged in pursuing their goals, but there is something even more vital to consider. The quote above is a big hint as to what that might be. What seems like a small act of kindness to us, could make a great amount of difference to the receiver. This kindness can be a matter of life and death. What makes life so valuable, is that we never know when it may be taken from us. We may think, “I’ll message that person tomorrow.” or “I really have to get around to telling that friend of mine how much I appreciate their presence in my life.” Tomorrow comes and that person may be gone from our lives forever. This may seem like a slightly morose thought, and I suppose it is, but it should inject a sense of urgency as well. If there is anything we should not delay in doing it is spreading kindness.
Something I cannot stress enough is the undeniable fact that we never know what battles and demons someone may be fighting inside of their mind. We may think we know someone inside and out but there is always something we don’t know. Margie and I are very open with each other, but she still never fails to surprise me. Your friend, coworker and yes, even your spouse, can seem perfectly happy and even tell you they are perfectly happy but can be waging a war in their minds. Your act of kindness may supply the little bit of hope they need to keep going. In my 46 years on this planet, I have known far too many people that have succumbed to the pressures of the world and took their own life. Most of them I had not a single clue they were suffering. When we lose someone it is too late to share that bit of kindness we may have bestowed. The worst feeling we can be left with after losing someone is not grief, but regret. In my own life, I have had too many “should have” and “could have”.
Procrastination always has a very high price, but none so much as procrastinating giving kindness. We are delaying a feeling of emotion and spiritual well-being and helping our fellow humans (or animals). We may also be depriving the world of some great accomplishment the receiving party could only achieve if only they had a little more kindness and encouragement. To, of course, the greatest cost of all time, a human life. Whether that is someone passing away unexpectedly, or worst of all, someone taking their own life. Our acts of kindness are far more valuable than we can possibly imagine. If there is any act of kindness you are even considering doing, I implore of you to do that act today. Do not wait. Do not delay. Kindness can never be given too soon, but it can certainly be given too late. Share with all of us what act of kindness you are going to act on today in the comments below.