#FridayReads – Congratulations, By The Way by George Saunders

FRIDAYREADS - congratulations by the way by george saunders

Kindness is a very big deal to me. If we could all just be 1% kinder imagine how we could shape the universe so differently. Hmm.

I’ve been into reading college commencement speeches and when I saw George Saunders address given to a recent graduating class at Syracuse University, I knew it was a must-read.

Don’t be an old fart doling out advice

It was with a good chuckle but a very real reminder we all kind of grow into that old person giving out advice like it is Skittles to small adrenaline junky children. I find myself at times saying, “When I was your age…” (and I’m 46 years old, yeesh) it sometimes doesn’t really resonate with a younger crowd. Things change over time.

Getting old usually means a little kinder, for most…

I know, I know – we all have that one old person who is a real pain in the ass, right? But as Saunders points out, “Most people, as they age, become less selfish and more loving.” That made me wonder. If instead of waiting until we are crotchety, what if we became selfless and more open earlier in life? How much different could the world be today?

How do you go about embracing this?

As I look upon my three adult children (28, 22, and 19) I want them to be the type of people where kindness comes very naturally. And so far? I have hit jackpot as all three of those little souls would help anyone they could. (One of my life’s greatest accomplishments.)

But how do you go about doing this? Saunders reminds, “Find out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous, and unafraid version of you – and go after those things as if nothing else matters.” 

The moral of the story: Go into your day looking for ways to be a little kinder, a little more gentle, providing a little more grace to another human being. We are all fighting our own battles and just 1% more kindness in your day could mean someone else has a 99% better day. The best thing? Kindness is free, abundant, and only needs your selflessness to activate.

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