Be Nice

Wayne Gretzky: The Great One, Also the Nice One

Wayne Gretzky: The Great One is also the Nice One

“It’s so easy being nice.” – Wayne Gretzky.
You know what else is easy? This simple concept: we have the power–so much power— to help each other.

We have so much power to heal one another; to build each other up, to support good things and good people.

It’s so easy to help. All we have to do is try. It’s a decision.
Or we can choose not to.

We can choose to accuse, divide, hurt, harm, disparage, disrespect and violate.
And because we often do, we also have so much power to harm.

Clearly we see this play out in our national politics but we also see it play out in City Halls and Commission Chambers and on social media platforms all across the world.
Leaders have the extraordinary power and opportunity to harm or heal. It’s their choice.

With every email they send, with every comment they make they can uplift or they can deflate.
Right about now at this point in the column, some of you are getting a cavity from all this “sweetness.”  I feel you.

And I know what you’re thinking: what about accountability? What about people who deserve a good rebuke?
Well glad you asked. Because accountability is tied closely to emotional intelligence and to kindness.

If mistakes are made—and they will be– they give us teachable moments. But most of the time, the people and organizations who can use the education don’t deserve to be obliterated. They need to be taught and while instilling fear and bullying may be your preferred method, it isn’t sustainable. Oh you’ll get short term results and when you’re gone or not looking you’ll be ignored, forgotten or mocked.
Bullies don’t age well.

Narcissists inflict lots of damage. But they don’t transform or uplift. They are too busy tearing down others so they can feel better about themselves.

True accountability occurs when learning and growth happens. You can only grow in an environment that values personal dignity and respect. The best teams, the best platoons, the best organizations build their success around chemistry, respect, love, kindness and education. The best teams root for each other. Caring becomes your DNA.
As a baseball fan, I love the story of Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs slugger who came back for The World Series after suffering a devastating knee injury at the beginning of the baseball season.
Schwarber was befriended by a 10 year old boy in Arizona who is suffering from a debilitating physical condition. The boy is very sick but he’s comforting the ballplayer and Schwarber was quickly able to put his disappointing but temporary knee problems into perspective.
The two friends exchange letters and encouragement. They inspire each other through simple acts of kindness: text messages, small gifts, kind words. When Kyle gave his friend a bat, the boy asked if he could auction off the memorabilia so other sick children could benefit from better care.

Isn’t that powerful? Isn’t it moving?

Kindness is strength.
We all know stories of unspeakable horror so there’s no need to relate them here. But it’s the every day bruises that some dole out that can take a toll and can leave a mark as well.
The snide email that insults a volunteer, the insensitive attack based on cooked up info, the attempt to bully those who don’t agree with you.
Leaders build, bullies deflate and harass.

Bullies need to be confronted and when that happens they tend to do two things: deflect (it’s not my fault, you are bullying me, how dare you) and shrink.

Because once revealed, a bully is seen as small, petty, mean and insecure. Exactly the opposite of a leader.
Wayne Gretzky was my favorite hockey player. He is also said to be a nice guy.

Being nice is indeed a choice. And yes; it is easy.


  1. Get out and vote!

    It is my wish and desire that everyone who reads this must get out and Vote! Ask your friends and relatives to vote. Ask them to let you know when they have voted. The GOP has obstructed progress at every turn. The way forward is thru progressive thinking, not putting our country back to the 30’s.

    We live in a democracy and the best way to maintain a democracy is for everyone and I mean everyone is to vote. Early voting is available in most states.

    So take a moment and think how it would feel with Trump as President. It’s not very good. So get out and Vote and do your part in keeping our democracy great.

    Leonard Ansin
    Formerly from Boston, Now living in Boca Raton, FL.

  2. Christina Morrison says

    Thanks for putting things in perspective, Jeff. Kindness is a very under-rated characteristic lately – hopefully things will change soon.

    I learned a long time ago – when I managed Managers for a living – that those who work hard occasionally make mistakes. That’s one way to know they are working! Kindness and humor go a long way when handling issues with others. Degrading and insulting behavior never works as a cure…

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