“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”Mahatma Gandhi
A few days ago I was paid a compliment on Twitter that I’ve been thinking a lot about. At risk of looking like a showoff, I’d like to share the interaction with you because it’s a really good example of what I want to talk about today.
Here it is:
Honestly I wonder the same thing. That's why I try to be over the top open and honest and caring on here, because the world needs more of it 😊— Ian Weir (@ianweirwriter) March 11, 2021
Ok, so let’s ignore the part about me being the “nicest human ever” (because I’m definitely not), and focus on the second question and my response. If you pull out the smileys and the compliments, the conversation boils down to two main points which I think are super important.
- Why aren’t people nicer to each other
- I don’t know, so I’m just gonna be nice
Today I want to share with you what Twitter and this blog have taught me about being nice. Spoiler: It’s a lot, but it was by no means natural.
See, the thing is, a lot of what I do on Twitter is specifically calculated to be extra nice. Or at least it started that way. I go out of my way to pay compliments, to freely and openly “like” and share other people’s work, and to do basically anything I can to be a light for people. That’s also why I started this blog. The way I see it, there’s entirely enough darkness and anger in the world, so I’m gonna put as much good out there as I can.
But the weird thing –and by weird, I mean super cool– is that that overly sunny outlook and disposition is starting to be less of something I have to work to do, and more and more of who I am.
It started as a side effect of trying to find positive and uplifting blog post topics twice per week.
In the very beginning –before I got on Twitter– when only like three people per week were seeing my posts (thanks Mom!), I had to work really hard to come up with ideas. But after a couple of weeks I started to notice that my overall outlook was changing. Things seemed better, I was spending more time with my wife and less time isolated, and I was more able to look past all the dark in the world and see the nice things. And on top of that, I was more easily able to come up with post ideas! It was great! That small yet deliberate decision to look for positive things had started making a huge impact on my life.
But then I got on Twitter and the change accelerated. Fast.
At first, I had planned to use Twitter only as a way to promote the blog. I was going to post about it, promote it on the incessant “#writerslift” advertising threads, and interact professionally with people as “Ian the nice blogger guy.” That plan didn’t last long. Once I started to interact with the other writers and authors on the platform I started to get more comfortable, to make real friends, and to become a part of the community. Only now, being “Ian the nice blogger guy” had opened the door for me to continue to feel comfortable with being super nice and open with everyone all the time. Its a refreshing, if totally unexpected, change.
And now that niceness is starting to translate into my real, offline, life as well. I now find myself looking at other people differently and from a more positive perspective. I’m more patient, more complimentary, and more willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. The habits I forced myself to build as “Ian the nice blogger guy” are now just my habits, and that’s changing my entire outlook on life. How cool is that?
So here’s my challenge to you: try to be “the nicest human”. If that’s hard –and it probably will be– fake it. Go out of your way to voice every nice thing you think about the world, about other people, about someone’s shoes, whatever, just put the good out there. I’m willing to promise you that if you do it for a week you won’t have to act quite so much. After two weeks it will feel natural. And after a month you’ll be looking for ways to do it more–because you’ll want to.
Thanks for reading, you’ve got this,