Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor in their recently published book On Kindness have released a short but thought provoking treatise on the matter. They raise interesting questions. Is kindness for losers? Is Kindness just narcissism in disguise? Does capitalism allow for kind heartedness? In conclusion the authors argue that generosity of spirit and kindness is a more natural state of being. It does not need to be a forbidden pleasure. Indeed our attachments to others fulfill our sense of humanity.
My observations over the years, without the benefit of the psychoanalyst (Phillips) and historian (Taylor) is that kind (not naive) people are the winners in the most important sense of the word. My argument is that kindness is a key sub element of respect.
The next time you need to work together with someone who is a little too stressed out, overextended (overworked?), or just plain tired, watch how much easier it is to have a more productive meeting when you extend this person additional kindness. We can succeed and thrive at work with kindness as a key part of who we are. In fact, the authors noted after considerable study – is more natural and who we really are. It is ok to treat ourselves and others kindly. Really.