While witnessing life’s tragedies, heartbreaks, discriminations, and injustices, how often do you catch yourself saying, “Someone should do something about that problem . . . but not me. I couldn’t possibly make a difference”?
To see yourself as small and powerless serves no one. Real growth is about tiny shifts in thought, perception, belief, and action. It’s about realizing that you are the person who can and should do something about the injustices of the world. The “something” you can do is what Be Nice (Or Else!) is all about: starting a BE NICE revolution.
It takes just one person to start a BE NICE campaign. You can decide that you will no longer participate in a lifestyle of being mean to people, in big ways, small ways, overtly, covertly, intentionally, or unintentionally. You can decide that you will no longer let good service and kind words go unnoticed. You can decide to show your appreciation for every act of kindness, no matter how small or large. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
Host Your Own Awards Show
It’s amazing the number of award shows that pop up every year. We have award shows for acting, for fashion, for hairstyling, and for musical talent.
How about if you started hosting your own awards show on a daily basis? How? Start recognizing and rewarding people who are nice. Look for, thank, acknowledge, and take care of them. Remember, that which you focus on starts to grow.
Reward Nice People
It’s amazing that some people will have a bad experience with a rude waiter and instantly complain or write a letter. For the tiniest infraction of rudeness or meanness, they’ll loudly announce their displeasure. Yet all of us experience niceness and meet nice people every single day, and do nothing to reward it when it happens. We say nothing to someone who smiles at us. We write no letters to hotel managers when we experience a pleasant front-desk employee. We don’t compliment an airline flight attendant as we leave the plane and say, “You were so nice. Thanks!”
When a person is mean, for some reason we give them priority. We hurry to accommodate their needs. Let’s turn that around. The next time you experience a really nice waitress who goes out of her way to brighten up your day, reward her. Maybe you could choose to leave an outrageous tip, and as you’re leaving the restaurant, say something like, “You were really nice. Thanks!” so she connects the big tip to being nice.
You could start a letter-writing campaign to support people who are nice. In fact, I’d like to propose that for every “You did me wrong” letter you write, you must also write at least ten “You were amazing and nice” letters.
Boycott Shows and Films That Aren’t Nice
A BE NICE revolution must be more about acknowledging, celebrating, and accentuating all the niceness you find than about pointing your finger at the not-nice. Having said that, it certainly couldn’t hurt the morale of us nice guys if we put a little bit of energy into standing up to the not-nice. I know I wouldn’t be opposed to taking one for the team by boycotting those who are bent on spreading their misery and gloom.
What if we all boycotted television shows that give people a platform to put other people down, for the entire world to see? These type of shows pop up more and more, it seems, and they give mean people a voice. Or at least they give decent people an opportunity to be mean, and unfortunately they go for it. Hey, we all do mean things on occasion, but not in front of a television camera.
Avoid turning on the television and being content to watch whatever appears. Choose to watch television shows that inspire you, lighten your mood, educate you, make you laugh, and do all that without degrading others or giving mean, nasty people a platform.
When it comes to which shows and films to watch and which to avoid, it’s true that you’re just one television viewer and movie ticket purchaser. Your choice to not watch certain shows may or may not make a difference in television ratings, but it will most assuredly make a monumental difference in your ratings as a nice person.
Support Nice Celebrities
People become famous for all sorts of reasons, and their fame can last for fifteen minutes or a lifetime. In the matter of our BE NICE revolution, I’m most interested in what an individual does with his or her celebrity. I tend to be more attracted to movie stars’ talent when I hear that they’re also nice people or that they do amazing things with their star power.
Let’s face it, a movie star can make good things happen just by picking up the phone. You and I might have to work a little more to have the same impact. Since I know firsthand how difficult it can be sometimes to make a difference, I’m always thrilled to hear of celebrities who’ve chosen to use their star power in worthwhile ways. If they make that choice, then I can make the choice to support them—I’ll pay money to see their movies (not the violent ones), I’ll watch their television shows, I’ll buy their music, and I’ll see them in concert.
I’ve often been accused of Ready, FIRE, aim, rather than Ready, AIM, fire. On the other hand, I know people who Ready, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim . . . and they never fire. They never make a move. I challenge you to take action now, make a move, and do something toward starting your BE NICE revolution.