Consider the story of four Oxen’s…
During a beautiful warm summer day, four oxen’s graze on a field. Not too far away, in the high grass, lurks a lion. Ready to enjoy a nice meal. He sneaks towards the oxen’s, all grazing in different corners of the field.
Just before he starts his chase, one of the oxen’s notices the danger and gives the other three a shout.
The four oxen’s look up and come together, turning their tails to one another. Many times, the lion tried to attack them; but whenever he came near and whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them.
That day, all oxen’s survived.
Because at last, however, they fell a quarreling among themselves, and each went off to graze alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.
The Survival of the Nicest
Charles Darwin’s ‘The Evolution of Species’, explains the concept of the ‘survival of the fittest’. Darwin describes how the best-adapted organisms, who happen to have the best genes, would survive and pass on their genes to the next generation. This would result in a population of perfectly adapted species that possess the necessary genes to survive. I’m not going to go too deep into his work, as you probably know the core part of it anyway.
For centuries, the ‘survival of the fittest’ has been the common reason to why some species die and go extinct, and others survive and thrive.
But here is the interesting part…
Scientists and an increasing amount of literature tell us that it is rather the ‘survival of nicest’. Why is this?
The sharing of resources and selfless acts of caring for others has been proven to be more efficient than acts of self-interest, self-obsession or pure egotism.
Think back to our four oxen’s grazing on the field…
When we stand together, give each other a hand, and truly look after one another, we form a bond that is hardly breakable. A single thread may not be robust. But many tied together to form a thick rope, makes them unbreakable.
It all begins with little, daily selfless acts of kindness…
Like sending a thank-you postcard to someone (instead of writing an email). Or holding the elevator door for someone or helping an elderly lady carry her groceries to her car.
Why Kindness Wins
YES! this is the part you have been looking forward to whilst reading or scrolling through this article.
If you haven’t yet read the above part of this article, you’ve missed out on a mind-blowing, epiphany moment. So perhaps you may want to go back.
#1 The Greatest Gift For Your Own Well-Being
Many of us, many times, desperately put in a lot of effort to ‘finding happiness’. But happiness alone is only a short-term emotion you get once you’ve achieved a goal or are up to something that excites you. Like performing really good in an exam. Or getting a pay raise. The first minute, perhaps even days, you feel great, but after two weeks, at its latest, those feelings of euphoria and happiness simply… fade.
Great, your little high is now over.. now what?
Consider a recent finding…
A scientific study examined the two groups of students in a primary school on their length of staying happy after practicing little acts of kindness.
One group of students was asked to practice five acts of kindness every day. The second group was asked to practice five acts of kindness per week.
After 6 weeks, their levels of happiness were measured.
The results were remarkable.
The students who performed 5 acts of kindness each day, reported more than double the levels of happiness they experienced than those who simply practiced five acts of kindness per week.
The point is that the more you practice kindness to others, the happier you get. And I think its fair to say, that there is no better cure for any pain than to feel a shot of happiness rush into your mind.
#2 Kindness For Self-love
Kindness is commonly seen as the act to be generous, considerate, friendly or warm to someone. Yet the key lies in not expecting anything in return. Kindness is selfless.
If you know, that the dude standing over there is a complete jerk, being kind without the expectation of him being kind to you, is the best thing to do. Why?
Because in such situations, your mind will know that you have shown yourself from your best side, and don’t have to blame yourself when someone doesn’t like you.
Once you begin to notice that you perform purely selfless acts of kindness, and truly don’t expect anything in return, your self-love will begin to flourish like nothing else.
This is due to our release of oxytocin. You may have heard of it. You may not.
Oxytocin is our love chemical. And yes, just as the description implies, it gets released when you make love to someone (thats quite logical…).
But! Here is the good news…
It doesn’t require that much effort to get your daily dose of love.
Simple acts like a hug, a soft touch or even talking to someone in a way that would show you value them, release oxytocin. You know what also releases oxytocin?
Valuing and being kind to yourself. 🙂
“Be Somebody Who Makes Everybody Feel Like a Somebody”
#3 Receiving Through Giving
The other day, I was jumping in for our receptionist at my office. Up came Daniel. But Daniel wasn’t in his usual mood. He wasn’t only (clearly) having a bad hair day, but also looked stressed like he had just been out on a 10K run. My eyes were wide open and I asked what I could do for him. He asked if the grey conference room was free (yes, we assign color codes to our conference rooms). Within a second, I checked the schedule and kindly told him he could go in without any problems.
He looked back at me, smiled, and disappeared behind the door.
To my surprise, he didn’t disappear behind the door of the conference room, but behind the door of the kitchen, in which he made me perfectly tasting, well-foamed cappuccino for me.
When he came back, he smiled and thanked me.
This moment was evidence that once you give to others first, with great kindness, the world will open up to you, and treat you like you have treated others.
It’s quite magical, but let me tell you… IT WORKS.
#4 Initiate a Chain Reaction!
Okay, back to chemicals. Chemicals in our body explain all the magic behind kindness.
Apart from oxytocin, we also release endorphins and serotonin.
Endorphins are responsible for masking our physical pain. That’s why, whenever you are really happy, all pain that seemed so bad a second ago, completely vanishes.
Serotonin is released when we feel proud of ourself. Remember the last time you felt great pride after achieving what you always wanted to achieve? Yup! That’s serotonin.
Funnily enough, those chemicals also put us into such states of euphoria, that we unconsciously begin to treat those around us in accordance to how we feel!
To put into simple words, those whom you treat kind will stay in their high of ‘OMG what a nice person!’ phase and pass this vibe onto the next.
Don’t believe me? Watch yourself next time you’re treated by someone who is exceptionally kind! You will be amazed! 😉
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.” – Seneca
Take home message. The ‘survival of the fittest’ has been the deciding principle of who survives… and who doesn’t. I say, that together is better and that kindness, trust and cooperation can help us get much further than going through life alone.
What do you think? Do you believe in the ‘survival of the fittest’ or ‘survival of the nicest’? How often do you practice selfless kindness?
If you liked this article… hit the LIKE button below. Perhaps you may want to share it as well. If you don’t, just do so anyway. It’s free and nothing more, than a simple act of kindness!
Thank you. 🙂