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Updated: May 15, 2023


“Those of us who are kind and compassionate experience clear benefits to our well-being and happiness. We may even live longer.  Kindness also helps reduce stress and improve our emotional well-being.”*

Like many thousands of others, I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring Canada (vicariously!) through the BBC’s recent Race Across the World series. For those who are unfamiliar, five pairs of contestants are challenged to travel from Vancouver to Newfoundland via various compulsory stop-offs, on a small budget and, often, totally reliant on the kindness of strangers. To complicate matters they are not allowed phones or to fly and they are racing against the other pairs.

It has been eye-opening to witness the generosity of the Canadians, towards these travellers, and the willingness of the contestants to graciously ask for, and accept, help and hospitality - it has left me deep in thought.

The qualities that have really struck me, are the threads of kindness, humility and gratitude seen in each of the very different, likeable and characterful pairs. One particular pair - a father and daughter team – Ladi and Monique (picture above) – seem to have gained national affection for their warmth and respect towards one another.

Whilst considering his daughter to be his princess, of whom he is immensely proud, through their adventure Ladi is keen to teach Monique some life lessons. One of these lessons was demonstrated when Ladi spent time cleaning a coach “ just for the sh**t of the gig” (quote, Monique!) rather than to earn money or in exchange for a lift/board and lodging/a meal.

Ladi responds by saying “We are helping a man who has helped us. It never went through your head that it would be a good thing to do? It is just showing an appreciation. Sometimes in life that’s what you got to do.”

Monique, respectfully, says “Got it” to which he then says “It is a life lesson – repay kindness with kindness and it will come back on you.”

And sure enough, as the journey unfolds, they experience the incredible kindness of strangers. Albeit unintentionally, I think they have become heartwarming role models of kindness and appreciation.

Although small acts of kindness may not feel like much, your kindness may have a more powerfully transformative effect on someone's life than you will ever know. Imagine the world impact if we were all to choose to live this way regardless of how tough things were for us.

And as Ladi says “It will come back on you” and that could make a massive difference to your day just when you need it.

Kindness has been proven to positively benefit our own wellbeing – amazingly it has a positive effect on our levels of serotonin (meaning that we feel better physically) and also increases our feelings of happiness.

What small act of kindness could you do today?

Kindness begets kindness. What do you think?

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