Bad Things Happen After briefly sharing the details of his own decision to leave his unfulfilling life as a broker in London and make his way from Times Square to the Hollywood sign while depending entirely upon the kindness of strangers , Logothetis made sure to avoid any confusion about the substance of his message .“ I don ’ t want you to leave Conference and be like ,‘ You know what ? I heard an Englishman speak , and he told me this Pollyannish story of how kindness can change the world , and all I have to do is be kind and there are no bad things that happen in the world ,’” he said .“ That is not what this story is about . Bad things happen , but good things happen too .”
To illustrate his point , Logothetis shared the story of his encounter with a homeless man name Tony . Despite having almost nothing to call his own , Tony offered Leon some extra clothes and a place to sleep for the night on the streets of Pittsburgh .“ Tony taught me two profound lessons ,” Logothetis said .“ One is that kindness is free . The second thing he taught me was that true wealth is not in our wallets .”
It isn ’ t that we should expect ourselves to practice Tony ’ s saint-like kindness in every situation , Logothetis added .“ Don ’ t leave this Conference and say ,‘ He told me to be perfect .’ There ’ s no perfection .” Rather , he noted , we should instead recognize that the barriers to kindness we may have erected in our own minds can be hard to justify when we recognize that , no matter our circumstances , we still possess the ability to have an enormous impact on others by demonstrating our empathy .“ If we make it a goal to live and to show other people respect , everything shifts . If a homeless man with nothing can be kind , then why can ’ t we ?”
Simple Acts of Kindness What does it feel like when , in our moments of hardship , we are met not with kindness , but rejection ? The answer may seem obvious , but it can be easy to forget how even the most basic of kind gestures can improve the lives of others . With the help of one brave attendee named Kristy , Logothetis demonstrated just how powerful small gestures of acknowledgement and support can be . He started by inviting Kristy onstage and asking her one simple question : “ Kristy , how does it feel when someone is unkind to you ?”
“ It ’ s painful ,” Kristy shared .“ It ’ s really uncomfortable . For me , I feel like I ’ ve disappointed someone in some way or another . Recently , someone was unkind to me , and it hurt .”
At that point , Logothetis instructed those in the audience to rise and turn their backs on the stage .“ We ’ re going to tell you how we feel , now that you have all turned your backs to us ,” he said . Kristy said it felt “ scary , lonely and horrifying .” Logothetis concurred , adding that he felt “ less than ,” and like he “ had no value .” When he asked the crowd to turn and face the stage again , Kristy ’ s expression , and the feelings she experienced , changed immediately .
This dramatic demonstration — and the change it produced in Kristy ’ s de- meanor — made Logothetis ’ s next statement feel self-evident : “ Don ’ t let anyone ever tell you that you don ’ t have the power to touch a life , because in this room , in the past three minutes , you ’ ve just proven to yourselves … how much power each and every one of us has .”
Kindness won ’ t erase the pain others have experienced , but by simply making others feel seen and valued instead of ignored or rejected , we can make them feel less alone . As Logothetis explained , that ’ s the foundation of his entire message .“ People often say to me ,‘ You ’ re the kindness guy . What does kindness mean to you ?’ The truth is that kindness is simply helping someone feel less alone ,” he said .
Practice Makes Permanent Also key to Logothetis ’ s message is the understanding that kindness is not some special characteristic that only a few people possess . Instead , kindness is a choice that each of us have the power to make from moment to moment . To help make that choice a little easier for attendees , Logothetis provided them with a chance to practice directing kindness toward a specific person in their lives — even if that person is not always easy to be kind to .
“[ My dog ], Winston Churchill , is probably the most annoying dog in the world ,” he said .“ He is sometimes unbearable . But what I ’ ve noticed is that I have a lot of patience for Winston Churchill . I have a lot of kindness for Winston Churchill . And I began to realize that there are a lot of annoying
“ If we make it a goal to live and to show other people respect ,
respect , everything shifts . If a homeless man with nothing can be kind , then why can ’ t we ?”
AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022 n PULSE 25