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Content Writer at TAFE NSW

It’s something that our parents and grandparents told us about, but which doesn’t seem to hold much sway in our modern, market society where everything has a price tag

When did it happen? We now live in an age of skepticism, rapid communications and 24-hour news cycles. The dominant sentiment seems to be “what’s in it for me?” How did our society become such a cold, hard place? Surely there’s some kind of antidote to this perpetual negativity and mistrust.

And here it is. We want to inject some much-needed warmth and fuzziness into the world to offset some of our collective cynicism.

“One random act of kindness can bring a smile to someone’s face. You can literally change their life for the better just by being kind… Let’s counteract the negative by being proactively positive.”

Wise words indeed. And the funny thing with kindness is that, like laughter and yawning, it’s highly contagious and has the potential to spread quickly from person to person. It’s the Pay It Forward principle – where the recipient of a kind deed repays it forward to a third party (where it can continue to ripple outwards) instead of back to the original benefactor (where it becomes contained in a closed transaction).

In other words, paying it forward allows the kindness to multiply exponentially.

The quality of kindness is now something that’s viewed by many of us as quaint and “old school”. It’s something that our parents and grandparents told us about, but which doesn’t seem to hold much sway in our modern, market society where everything has a price tag. Kindness isn’t deemed sexy, and therefore can’t be used to sell anything.

But the real irony is that true kindness is still something we all appreciate and recognize when we’re the recipients of it. For both men and women, it’s usually the personal quality most prized in a partner, right up there with a good sense of humour and the ability to fart the national anthem.

Maybe one of the reasons kindness is so publicly invisible yet so privately valued is because it seems to have become so rare. The material side of life is primarily what drives a market society and there’s not much room for “touchy feely” emotions like kindness.

Let’s encourage people to “actively participate in doing random acts of kindness regularly”. Maybe this can help restore the balance and bring a warm fuzzy glow to our competitive, overdrawn, profit-and-loss world.

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