Everyone knows that it’s nice to be kind, but the Prof taught me something interesting: it’s even nicer to be overwhelmingly kind, to be so intensively kind on one single day that it blows your little mind.
That makes sense: if you spread your kindness thinly over the course of a week, you might forget the flavour – like the scraping of butter that’s senselessly lost in the riot of a bacon and egg bap.
In the same way, your moments of kindness will be diluted during the week by all the other occasions when you were a douche, or just being ‘normal’.
But if you save your week’s worth of buttery kindness for one huge dollop on, say, a Friday, then all of a sudden you become – albeit briefly – hot butter spread thickly on a crumpet. An unforgettably kind kind of god.
Of course, different people have different baseline kindness. We’re talking about kindnesses that you wouldn’t ordinarily perform.
For example, on Wednesday I let a woman go in front of me in the queue because she had… fewer items in her basket than I did. That’s a kindness I never would have normally performed, so that counts.
But that same evening, I volunteered with a gaggle of other GoodGym runners at a community garden in Bournemouth. That’s no doubt a kind deed, but it doesn’t count because I would’ve done that anyway – it didn’t require any effortful kindness on my part. Baseline.
I can easily tell these two varieties of kindness apart: the first gives me a buzz of almost electrifying, almost illicit pleasure. As I turned to the woman behind me, I thought to myself: Oh my god, I’m such a queue rebel! Is this even legal? This is going to blow her MIND!
As it happened, she just said thanks and walked in ahead of me with her Dairylea Lunchables. But I can’t control that. You are what you repeatedly do: I became in that moment a little more of a kindly person. And, like the bleeding heart liberal that I am, I think that is a goal worth pursuing.