Are you aware of the ripple effect of kindness? Research shows that kindness is highly contagious.
Research shows that kindness ripples out to three ‘degrees of separation’, or three ‘social steps’.
Imagine dropping a tiny pebble into a pond.
The pebble creates ripples which spread far and wide which then create movement within other areas of the pond.
Being kind can be compared to dropping the pebble.
We spread good feelings far and wide; 3 social steps wide!
Imagine that you are kind and evoke gratitude or a sense of deep connection with someone whom we will call ‘Steven’. Steven is then likely to be kinder to ‘Sarah’ (1 degree of separation from you).
Sarah is then more likely to be kinder to ‘Peter’ later on in the day, (Peter being at 2 degrees of separation from you).
And then Peter is more likely to be kinder to “Joshua”, (Joshua being at 3 degrees of separation from you).
One act of kindness has the power to affect many lives.
The above is obviously based on one interaction initially with one human being.
We, however, interact with many people in one day, particularly within the workplace.
Imagine if you created 5 positive and kind interactions within one day with 5 different individuals.
Those 5 individuals are then more likely to be kind or kinder to 5 others.
Simply by being kind to one person, you have the potential to be the ‘pebble’ that spread ripples far and wide.
Your behaviours have the power to create a more positive and happier work environment; surprising ‘Ed’ with his favourite hot chocolate and marshmallows could result in ‘Zac’ feeling appreciated later on in the day.
Zac may see that ‘Harriet’ is struggling with her work-load and offer to help. Harriet then returns home to be kinder to her husband.
And YOU, as one person could create all of this and more.
I’m reminded of a personal experience which supports my words.
A few years ago I’d returned to a hospital car park following an appointment.
I walked over to the car park machine to pay for my stay. As I took my place in the queue, I noticed that an elderly couple were having trouble paying.
The machine didn’t seem to be taking coins and kept rejecting them.
A longer queue formed behind me, and it didn’t take long for negative comments to be heard such as, “This is ridiculous, they should have someone here to help”.
Others decided to join the negative conversation.
Walking to the front of the queue I approached the elderly couple and offered to pay for their ticket with my debit card.
“Thank you so much” they said and trying counting out coins to pay me to which I replied, “I’d like to pay for it for you as a Random Act Of Kindness” and smiled.
Overhearing this the queue of people immediately stopped complaining.
They watched the elderly lady throw her arms around and give me a hug.
They heard her say, “I wish you the very best in life” to me.
They saw our deep connection, and they saw the tears in her eyes created by one simple act.
They were profoundly impacted by the whole experience. A perfect example of the ripple effect of kindness.
I often wonder how many people were positively affected that day as a result.
I’m not sharing this to impress you, but to impress upon you that we all have the power to create experiences like this every single day, both at work and at home.
In my previous article about kindness within the workplace, I mentioned that a positive work environment increases intelligence, creativity and productivity.
Having read this article, I’m hoping that you now understand that your ‘pebbles’ spread far and wide!
You have the power to make the work-place and the world a better place; all it takes is a little thought and a little time.