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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 18-Mar-11


Friday 18-Mar-11

Being nice is good for you

I had a good day this week, where I was deliberately nice to people and got some surprisingly helpful things in return.

On Wednesday I was walking up a street in London towards the RSA for another great lecture when I passed an older guy who was staring at a map and looking a bit confused. I stopped asked him if I could help. He said he was looking for John Adam Street. I asked if he was going to the RSA and he was, so I walked with him there. He was going to meet someone there who hadn't arrived, so I offered him a cup of coffee at the members' bar.

It turned out he is a retired professor with deep knowledge in risk, which is a subject of moderate interest, so we started chatting. Then his colleague turned up and so I bought another coffee. They are in business together to develop the professor's technology. So we chatted, swapped business cards and sat together in the lecture.

Check. Good networking done and I hope they left with a positive impression.

Then I went up to Oxford Street to buy some polo shirts for the summer. Clutching an armful I joined one of the shorter queues to the till. But then Sod's Law appeared as a long conversation went on between the customer in front of me and the sales assistant, including a lengthy visit from the manager. As people came and went from other queues I hung in there, hoping it would all be sorted soon. The sales assistant looked at me from time to time with apology on her face. I smiled back. No hurry. When I was eventually served, I was again unremittingly pleasant. She couldn't help the situation and there was no point being irritated.

When I got home, I looked at the bill, and she'd given me an additional 20% discount on what was already a sale item. I don't know why, but maybe it was a thank you for not kicking up a fuss.

So I ended up feeling good. I'd brightened the day for a few people and consequently felt good myself. Whilst you shouldn't be nice just to seek something in return, it is still a good way of changing minds. Kindness is its own reward and reciprocal giving is just icing on the cake.

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I also believe everything happens for a reason and the laws of cause and effect. Do good things to people for goodness sake and it will eventually come back to you.

-- Tony M

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