Do you ever dream of a world in which kindness is the foundation for humankind? In this episode Jimmy and Lori share their findings from a 12-month research project titled the “Kindness Reciprocity Project” and how this simple method of showing kindness has the power to change the world.
- The outcomes of living a life with proactive kindness as the principal foundation.
- What is kindness? Why is it appreciated by those that experience the emotion or activity?
- How the acts of kindness were provided those in the community.
- What you can expect when you provide someone a random act of kindness!
- When is the best time to provide a kind act for someone.
JW: Just wanted everyone to know if you’re listening to this episode of Live a Life By Design, that no puppies were harmed during the production of this episode. And I have to announce it because I have with me, Lori Few, famous puppy breeder.
LF: No, by no means am I’m an expert in that field, but we did have a stowaway in the studio this morning. So I apologize. He got right through the door and I thought he was not in here and we did get a little puppy love this morning. So we quickly had to escort him out. Although he can’t be quiet that’s for sure.
JW: You know, there’s nothing that says good morning, Lori, like the lick of a puppy on your cheek that just had breakfast. You know what I’m saying?
LF: They are precious hearts. There’s a powerhouse of puppy furball, ready to roll every moment of the morning. They are so energetic. If you need a boost in the morning and you’re not the coffee drinker, find yourself a puppy.
JW: Absolutely. Good morning, everyone! As you can tell, Lori and I are fired up. We’re ready to bring you some great information today that I hope that she and I will enlighten your world with some great information to help you live your life in a bigger, better, and bolder fashion. So today’s topic Lori is something that I hold very near and dear to my heart, as I know you do as well. You want to mention what the word is? What’s the topic of today?
LF: It’s kindness, but it’s spelled C-O-F-F-E-E.
JW: Coffee again.
LF: No. I had to throw that in there. It’s absolutely one of our favorite topics that Jimmy and I love to talk about besides coffee, of course. And this morning’s topic is about kindness.
JW: Yeah! So I had this crazy idea of Lori a little over now 14 months ago. So I took a couple of months to tabulate the data and get everything together. And here we are recording the results of that. But what we did is 12 months of findings of us committing and focusing on random acts of kindness by our team at Compass Capital Management. So during this 12-month period, anyone on our team could perform a random act that was giving kindness to someone that didn’t expect it, we didn’t expect anything in return, this is the true definition of kindness. It is just the outpouring of something positive to someone who didn’t expect it to in the first place. So this episode is going to be neat. We’re not going to get stuck on data. We’ve got some great stories for you. We’ve got some issues that were very funny that happened we’re going to share, but overall, I wanted Lori to help me with this because what we did in tracking this for 12 months, was we conducted 1,213 random acts of kindness by our team. Now the goal of the study was to determine why and how humans interact when a stimulus, such as a good deed had been performed and the person was the beneficiary of that kindness. So the acts were performed in our local community, of course, as well as other cities in which the team traveled. And I will tell you, the responses are uniform, no matter if they were performed in California, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, wouldn’t matter where we are. People I have found Lori, are people. We’re still all carbon based fiber beings I mean, we’re all the same.
LF: Well, and I think it’s interesting because we talk about kindness, being something that is free and something that’s genuine and something that’s available at our fingertips. And sometimes we don’t realize that. And so really with this study, I found it interesting because we are all in this together. And I know we heard that a lot in 2020, but that statement goes so hand in hand with kindness because we’ve been so in this together all years, every year, every decade, it’s a mentality, it’s a sentiment. It’s something that we provide to each other, and sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re doing it. So I’m really excited to hear about this study.
JW: Well, let me just tell you the responses we track were monthly. And what we did then is we tried to determine any trends that we could see. Was there a certain area of the state that we may have traveled and performed for four or five days and had random acts there that they reported differently than some other part of the country? We also wanted to find out which random acts of kindness received the most if you will, stimulus to the person that’s receiving it and you’re going to laugh, Lori as you’d probably know by your expertise, the best random acts of kindness were free coffee at a Starbucks.
LF: Yes. I love it.
JW: No one frowned when they got free coffee from Starbucks.
LF: Well, I mean, I wouldn’t, I don’t frown typically ever when you mentioned that word, of course, and everyone knows that about me, but that to me sets off a chain reaction. And I’ve had the privilege of seeing that experiment myself, going in and purchasing a cup of coffee and then paying for the person next to me and sitting down and watching the next person and the next person and the next person. And I actually spent 45 minutes one morning and counted and got to nine. Nine people continued the trend. And I think it probably would have kept going but at that point I thought, oh my goodness, I’ve got to get on my way. And I was fascinated and thought I could stay here all day, but that’s the longest I’ve seen the chain go. It was nine cups of coffee. And some of those were quite creative orders, I might add.
JW: Yes and I will tell you, these people drinking this hot coffee, that’s free, the way they wish to order it and so forth. They look at you almost with, well, I’ll get into that in a minute. They look at you a little bit wondering skeptically.
LF: Very skeptical.
JW: What are you doing here? Right?
JW: So the name of this research project, Lori, would you, I could imagine if I’m looking for reciprocity, was the kindness reciprocity project. So the KRP. And this is something that I want us to maybe continue doing on an ongoing basis so we can see just how many years we can track this. So we are tracking it again for this next 12 months series, but this is about our first 12 months series. So Lori, welcome. Thanks for helping me out today.
JW: You always do such a great job and anybody.
LF: Happy to be here.
JW: Anybody that can invoke puppies at the very first sentence of a podcast is got me, buddy, right there.
LF: Well, Jimmy, let’s talk about what experience have you seen in our company by having kindness as a corporate attribute that our team strive to live by on a daily basis when serving clients?
JW: So you’re going to laugh. If you do not possess technical expertise, as some people may not yet have, or if you do not have a big team around you, but all you possess is one thing to attract people to you – and I’m going to get the reason why you want to track them in a moment – is for to you to be kind to those people. By being kind, you will find you attract all kinds of wonderful people that bring all kinds of wonderful blessings and benefits to you as an individual. Now, I need to say Lori, that we do not fake kindness. Either you’re sincere with it, or it is noticed immediately. People know when you’re shallow and you’re not being sincere with your kindness. So one of our corporate attributes, as Lori said, is to show kindness. So we actually set out, and our team has each week goals on how to be kind. If some opportunity presents itself, we want to be responsive to that group. So let me tell you what that’s done for our company. As a title to this episode, we put on there that, kindness may be a unifying effort to our community, our country, and our world. It can also be a means of which you can help others build their world. So it’s a connection, if you will. It’s something we have symbiotic within us as humans that we each possess a portion, even how deep it may be, the meanest person in the world can perform an act of kindness. So what we did Lori is, everybody on the team has this goal every week. And then they come to the Tuesday team huddle and they are required to say, okay, I had this many acts of kindness. So what I did is I said to them, here’s what we’d like to do. You have at your disposal, $100 a week. If anybody needs something for you to be kind to them for up to a hundred bucks, you don’t even have to question it, just get it done, put it on your expense report. We’re going to take care of that, whether it’s coffee or somebody needed something outside of that food, whatever. We want them to be responsive to the need in our community and our clientele. And don’t laugh. There is no question asked. It just… it gets done. And I picked this up from one of the greatest companies that Dina and I love to help support. This company is one of the best resorts in the world and its name is Ritz-Carlton. I’m going to give you a quick story.
JW: Why kindness pays off Lori is this. We’re in Hawaii in Maui and we’re staying at the Ritz-Carlton in Maui, right on the beach, and it is fantastic. Well, what happens is a young man that’s never been to Hawaii before, and he is with his lovely wife on the beach and doesn’t really pay attention, when she says, “Hey, stand near the water and I’ll get your photo,” having white pants and a nice Tommy Bahama shirt. And this wave just comes out of nowhere. And I am literally soaked from the waist down in these brand new white pants. So I go, “Oh my gosh.” So I go into the hotel and as you can imagine, they see you and greet you at the door with your name, “Mr. Williams, how are you?” I just love the service level. Well, they look at me and they go, “Oh, we’ve seen this before. If you will allow us, we will have those dry cleaned for you immediately before any stain set in, simply go to your room and put them in a bag, call our office. We’ll pick them up, just set them outside your door.” Do you know the next morning at seven o’clock hanging on my door was a nice, dry, clean pair of white slacks that were not stained from all the seawater and all that? That is kindness.
LF: Very kind. I had never thought about that, but I bet they’ve seen a few pant debacles in their day.
JW: My goodness. That was so funny. Dena got a great photo out of it.
LF: Oh I bet!
JW: Yeah. So, the point of kindness from their perspective was, is they don’t serve people. Did you know that Lori? They don’t serve people. Who do they serve? Ladies and gentlemen. So they’re very kind in their remarks of how they address their clientele. They’re very kind in the acts they perform for their clientele, and guess what that does for their business? It brings repeat, like Dena and I will stay, if we have the opportunity, that’s where we’re going to stay.
JW: I mean, the services has got us sold. Right?
LF: It makes the difference.
JW: Yeah. What about you though? Let’s talk about what you, you’ve traveled quite a bit. You fly all over the place sometimes. Well, when it’s not COVID. Tell me a story about you where you’ve experienced, you’ve been a beneficiary of a random act of kindness.
LF: Well, I will tell you that it actually happened recently. It was quite embarrassing, honestly, on my part. I have never been afraid to travel by myself. I do it frequently and have driving. So I decided I was going to take an early trip to Tulsa. I was going by myself. I left at five o’clock in the morning. It was still dark outside. It was kind of drizzly rainy, but hey, I’d done that before, no big deal. So there I am driving along. I’m minding my own business. And lo and behold, I hit a construction site and I could not, it was between me, the barricade and the giant pothole. And so I hit the pothole. Well, I’m from Oklahoma. We’re used to potholes. We hit those things and keep on trucking. So about 30 seconds after that pot hole made a really loud noise, I look up and my car lights up like a Christmas tree. I mean, the sensor is blinking. It’s telling me to pull over and I thought, oh, this cannot be happening. No, wait a minute. I’m not prepared for this. So I pull over, I get out, I go around to the front and I just hear this hissing noise. And I mean, the tire is already black. And I thought, okay, do not panic, you have roadside assistance. And so I jumped back in the car. Well guess what? Someone forgot to pay the subscription fee for said roadside assistance. So I was about to panic and I was on the verge of tears, but I thought, you know what? No, I’m an adult. I’m independent. I can do this. Well, long story short, Lori did not know where the spare tire was in my car because they’re no longer in the trunk because I don’t really have a trunk, I have a hatch to the back of my car, and the tire is magically attached underneath the vehicle. And there is a system to release said tire, but instead of losing my marbles and crying and just having a melt down out of nowhere comes a complete stranger. And in this day and age, I want to say that I was a little bit skeptical. I was a little bit scared. I had a moment of, oh my gosh. I don’t know this person. They pulled up behind me, offered to help me, help me get the tire, helped me change the tire. I offered to pay them and they said pay it forward.
JW: Oh, awesome. That’s awesome.
LF: That was amazing. And for that moment that I was scared, it turned into something amazing. And I thought, okay, new challenge, Lori, you now have to learn to change a tire successfully all by yourself. No roadside assistance needed. But I did renew the subscription immediately.
JW: Two things from that story. So, You weren’t expecting anyone to show up for assistance, but someone did. The second thing is, is the act of kindness performed by this kind stranger. Actually, first of all, was discomforting.
JW: Explain to me why it was discomforting to you just because you didn’t know the person. Why do you think we are discomforted in those situations?
LF: I think that we just, it’s really sad to say, but I think we’re conditioning ourselves to be skeptical and to be suspicious. I don’t know if it’s the influences from the media, if it’s influences from our inner circles. I don’t know if it’s influences from social media where we hear these horror stories, but I called my mom after this experience and I was telling her about it. And she said, “Well, what do you think that we did when you were a kid? There was no roadside assistance. People couldn’t pay for those types of things. And you waited on the kindness of a stranger to stop and help you. That’s what we used to do.” So I don’t know if it’s a generational change, societal change, but it was such a reminder to me that we are okay to do things the way we used to do them and not to be skeptical and not to be afraid and not to be scared, that people are genuinely kind and want to help someone else in their time of need. And I was so thrilled and grateful because I thought, wow, this is going to be a long day. I don’t know how long I’m going to be stuck here on the side of the road.
JW: That’s a good story. I got to tell you if it had been my mother asked me that question, I would’ve fired back because my mother is 85 everyone. I would have fired back and said, “Well, mom, you wouldn’t have had this problem because back then they didn’t use rubber tires.” Oh, that would have been terrible.
LF: You would have been in trouble.
JW: That would have been that all steel tire like they have in the tractor, you know?
JW: But the good point about that is you said we’re conditioning ourselves. So let’s take a little tangent from this kindness reciprocity project just for a moment. And let’s think about what we’re doing when we condition ourselves as adults and pass this along to the next generation. What I fear is, is that there will be a total lack of trust in all of mankind if we continue to dilute down the trust we currently have as adults in our fellow man. What are your thoughts about that Lori?
LF: I think you’re absolutely right. I think at some level, and as adults, when we’re being skeptical and we’re conditioning ourselves to this mindset, we’re then passing that onto our kids. And it’s really an opportunity to turn that around and to say, everybody who is a human being on the planet deserves kindness and respect and not to judge them based on a stereotype or a statistic or a moment or an experience that you’ve had or someone else that you know, has had. Really go into it with a clear, open mind and be willing to accept people for who they are and accept experiences for what they are. Don’t make assumptions about people. Don’t make assumptions about how you think a situation could go, because I can promise you, I never, in a million years thought that someone would actually stop and help me.
JW: That is a great lesson to be learned. I think you’ve got some great advice for us. I want to give a short story to kind of feed on that a little bit. Way back in the 90s, in our local area with our local Lions Club, what we would use is we would use trustee inmates of the local Sheriff’s department to help us do projects. Painting at our building or the grass getting mowed or any kind of special project. And typically what would happen, Lori is you can’t give those gentlemen any money. They can’t have money, but you can feed them, do some things like that. And so what I did is, I borrowed… or checked out two of these gentlemen that were trustees and they worked for like three or four hours and I took them back to the Sheriff’s office and he had to go through this little drive through area and they had a name for it. And I can’t recall now, but it’s like a drive through where they can see you, cameras are on you. And I take these two gentlemen in and I see their names on there. They check them in and they checked my vehicle and all this stuff make, sure there’s nothing there. They make sure these guys are padded down. They even, say you can’t even bring food back in. So I had already fed them before I brought them back, but I smelled this aroma in the kitchen of this jail and you’re going to laugh. I’m just checking these guys in. I go to the jailer. I said, “What is that delectable aroma I’m smelling? It smells like Italian food.” He says, “Yes. Tonight is lasagna for the inmates.” And I said, “Man, that’s got to be good. It smells delicious.” He said, “Yes.” He said, “One good thing happened. A bad thing for the gentlemen, good for us, is that they arrested for some crime, a culinary arts trained chef.” So this guy was a chef with one of the nicest hotels in some big city and he came through our city and committed a crime and he was in waiting for his arraignment and stuff. So he cooked a seven cheese lasagna in this jail. So now picture this. Here I’m just Jimmy Joe citizen. I’m there just checking these two gentlemen in. And so I just walked back, I don’t even have a pass to the jail. This is back in the day before, they had all these locked up doors and I just walked back to the part of the jail. I turned left, and there in the kitchen is a big table with about five gentlemen there and this guy cooking and they had this beautiful lasagna out with a chocolate cake and all this, and icing and iced tea and garlic bread and salad. And I’m like, wow. Well, I was hungry. I fed the two gentlemen, but I didn’t get anything to eat. So I just sat down.
LF: You invited yourself to dinner at the jail.
JW: Yes, at the jail. So this was really funny and this is a true story, guys. And so I sit down and I wait to make sure that all of the gentlemen are eating from the lasagna. Just I let them eat before I do. I let them drink the tea before I do. I’m not stupid. I didn’t want to get anything I shouldn’t ingest.
LF: You had manners.
JW: So I let them eat first and then it came to me and I saw what they were eating. So I got me some. Well, I’m sitting down eating. I had forgotten, I parked my vehicle out [inaudible 00:21:28] area and this jailer’s looking for me. Like my vehicles locked out there. Right. And he’s looking for me. Finally, he comes into this kitchen dining area and I’m sitting down eating with these other five or six gentlemen wearing their orange jumpsuits. And here I am just Jimmy Williams. And he said, “Jimmy, what are you doing?” I said, “I am enjoying this delectable lasagna.” And he said, “You can’t be back here.” And I said, “I want you to know, these gentlemen have been more than kind to me tonight. And I thank them for the meal and they were all so courteous.” And this is my point I’m braking. I sat down and treated them as if they were truly good human beings, that they were. Somewhere deep down they were good. They went astray, I get that. I’m not just a soft guy on crime. I’m just saying, though, in that moment, Lori, they were kind in reciprocating that to me because of the kindness I showed them for that wonderful meal, a true story though.
LF: That’s a great story. I love that story.
JW: PS postscript, the story. Jimmy can no longer go eat at the jail.
LF: There’s a list says do not let this character in.
JW: You know how in the post office they have photos of people they’re trying to find. They have one of me at the county jail says do not let him back in he eats too much but anyway, that was a true story.
LF: Well, so along those lines though, let’s talk about some of the random acts of kindness that were performed by the team during the study.
JW: Oh, Great. Great idea. So you got to laugh, simple things that would occur, getting the door for someone, trying to get to the building, enter the building. They would generally say what? Thank you. So that’s a positive response. And then also helping someone carrying their load of briefcases and bags and so forth. I’ve done that, I don’t know how many days, get my umbrella out and hold it over someone that didn’t have an umbrella on a rainy day, trying to get in the building. Our parking lot doesn’t have covering on it. So, you want to protect them from the rain or the snow. Also, you’re going to laugh. One of the simplest things, like I said, is buying the cup of coffee for someone. So we have a friend of ours that Lori is now probably banned from his coffee shop, because she’s addicted, but anyway. It’s called Harbor Mountain. I’m going to throw that out there because he’s such a great guy. And Justin, the owner is so kind and just a great gentleman, young man. And so what I did is I stand there for about 30 minutes, one day, just buying coffee for people or refills or whatever they had. And I felt so good. And then they just started buying for others. Like you said, I don’t remember going nine deep, but so just something that simple and what I typically do, some random acts of kindness. If I see law enforcement eating lunch, for example, at a local restaurant, if they’re in their uniform and I see them, or I know they’re a detective that wears plain clothes but I can see they’re wearing a badge, I will generally buy their lunch. Now I won’t buy any alcohol or anything, even if they’re off duty, but I’ll buy their lunch. I will also buy food, lunch or dinner or breakfast for anyone that’s in the armed services. So if they’re in their uniform and I recognize them, I’ll buy their lunch. Again, no alcohol, but I’ll buy anything else. And the thing about it is we tracked all of this, you will not find one person in uniform, in my opinion, through this study, not one that was not grateful or thankful for someone supporting them because those people put their lives on the line all day long for us, which to me is a giant, big, hairy, audacious kindness.
JW: You know what I’m saying?
JW: So I want to return the small favor.
JW: But the most fun one I had though, you’re going to laugh. The most fun one I had was buying someone’s groceries at Walmart. Now this story… Never write a check with your mouth, Lori, that your wallet can’t cash. That’s what I said.
LF: Ooh, that’s a good one. I like that.
JW: A few years ago around Christmas, a young lady with a couple of young children, the places were a little muddied and they didn’t look like they’d had the best of days. And she was looking rather flustered. And it looked like she had quite a few groceries, but I don’t know if she had enough to get them done. And I simply said to her, I said, “Do you believe in the benefit of paying things forward?” Or I said, it kind of like this, “Do you believe it’s better to give than receive?” So what I was talking about Lori is Christmas, right? And at the end of the day, she looked at me and she just said, “What?” I have that effect on people, by the way, what?
LF: No. I don’t get that vibe at all, Jimmy.
JW: Yeah so I said it again. I said, “Do you believe it’s better to give than receive?” And she said, “I guess,” and then she turned around and the lady still checking her food across the scanner. And it came up with a size of money that she’s looking down, she’s stumbling through her purse and she’s looking like, oh gosh, now I’ve got to put something back. Now I’ve got to be honest with you. When I was in college, I had that happen to me and I swore I’d never let it happen to me or anyone around me again, it’s embarrassing to have to take food and put it back. So I said, “I’ll tell you what if you’ll just pay for my groceries,” and I had a few little things. I said, “Then that’ll make me feel better and it’ll make you feel better because you paid it forward.” And she looked at me again and kind of gave her eyes a squint. And she said, “Well, if you believe it’s better to give than receive. Why don’t you give me my groceries?” And I looked at her and I said, “You got it.” And that lady said at the skin of the food. She looked at me and she goes, “That’s $148 and some change.” And I said, “No problem.”
LF: I got it.
JW: Yeah. So to me that was the most fun one because that felt like someone that really needed a helping hand, not a handout was served with kindness. And I’m not bragging on me. That’s not the point of this deal. The whole point I’m making is, is to be open in your eyes, be receptive to the needs. They’re out there. You’ll find them every day. If you just will serve that need, you’ll be blessed in the same instance, is my opinion.
LF: Yes. And that reminds me. And you saying that one of my favorite quotes in terms of kindness, I’ve been journaling and I’ve been doing quotes because this is what I’ve picked up. This is what I picked up from Jimmy Williams during COVID, journaling. So I’ve really, I’m proud of myself. Like I’ve maintained really. I’m about to start my second journal. So I’m really, I’m still committed to it, but I write down a quote and wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference.
JW: I like that.
LF:One of my favorites when talking about kindness.
JW: So I’m going to say something folks. Lori’s not just saying this. If she tells you something, she’s really doing it because I found out from her, we had to do a little bit of redacting on a previous episode because she came out with a little bit of disgusting language about adult coloring books and further clarify what that was. But I’m just kidding.
LF: I’m never going to live that one down.
JW: And folks, she sent one, a random act of kindness, sent one to me to give to my wife. And it is been wonderful for my wife. And she’s loved it.
LF: I knew she would love it.
LF: I knew she would love it.
JW: You know what bothers me is I’m in here stressed out during a storm the other night and she’s in there this coloring her little coloring book and having-
LF: I love it.
JW: So, you know.
LF: It is a stress reliever.
JW: Yeah, the one thing about the kindness reciprocity projects, and as I said, we had 1,213 random acts of kindness in a year from the whole team. And only 31, Lori were non-responsive in reciprocity, 31. That is, to me, a wonderful percentage of people that believe kindness is something that we can all share. So…
JW: Yeah. My thesis is that the act of being kind can be the foundation for achieving world peace. I don’t just say that. I mean that if we were all kind to one another, you’ll see where the world doesn’t share kindness is where we have authoritarianism and we have other areas of oppression of people and taking away their rights and so forth. Whereas if we had peace and we had kindness and we shared respect for one another, I think you’d see a lot of the world’s problems solved, such as hunger. I think we could solve that problem and giving opportunities to those people who previously thought success was just out of their reach. If we could get them in education and get them trained in skills and get some technical background to them, our company just consistently grows year over year, over year. And we are so thankful we do not take that for granted, but I believe it’s because of the kindness we bestow upon our clients and our friends that continue to refer their families. And it just continues to make us feel good that kindness is the basis for our entire business because no one wants to work with or use the services of an evil or unkind person. And to me, it only makes sense that I treat you and everyone else that comes in contact with us in a kind manner. What are your thoughts?
LF: I think you’re right. I think if I had two, we talk about this in our business life quite frequently, if you have two people that have identical resumes, great background, great work experience. But when it comes to the personal interview, if you can discern that, that person is kind and how that person perceives other people in that type of environment, you’re much more likely to go with the person that’s kind. I’m not saying that you have to ooze kindness or you have to, it doesn’t have to necessarily come out of your pores, so to speak, but you can tell a lot by a person. Through their acts of kindness and through their behavior and how you communicate with them on that level. And so it’s the same for business. If that’s the only difference between two businesses, is that I have a quality customer service experience with kind people. I’m much more likely to be a repeat customer of that very attribute. And I think that is so important. And so let’s talk about challenge for the week.
LF: Are you ready?
JW: Yeah, I’m ready.
LF: Okay. We love challenges.
JW: What is the challenge Lori?
LF: This is a challenge, this reciprocity project, amazing challenge. Like I would love to hear more about this. If we keep doing this idea, maybe branch out into different sectors of the world, I don’t know. I could see it becoming a yearly tradition.
LF: But this week’s challenge is for you to perform one random act of kindness each day and see the responses that you receive. I am betting you know one person who will be willing to smile at you. So go ahead and live your life by design.