Tag Archives: virtue

A Little Happier: Airplane Kindness, and It’s Nice to Get a Gold Star.

I love this story, told to me by a friend who is truly one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Even just boarding a plane, she finds ways to be kind.

She’s not kind because she wants people to give her a gold star — but I was very happy that someone did give her some very well-deserved recognition. Even when it’s not necessary, it’s gratifying when our efforts are appreciated. And I very much appreciate the fact that the man sitting next to her on the plane made the remark that he did.

Listen to this mini-podcast episode by clicking PLAY below.

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Do You Have a “Taste for the Good?”

 “There is in the soul a taste for the good, just as there is in the body an appetite for enjoyment.”

– Joubert, Pensees

If you have a strong “taste for the good,” read Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead. A beautiful, beautiful book, with a truly good main character — which is rare.

One of the reasons I love children’s literature, especially from the past, is that it’s often fairly didactic. The Secret Garden, Heidi, the Narnia books — I love that element.

Be Selfless, If Only For Selfish Reasons; Selfish, If Only for Selfless Reasons

From Further Secrets of Adulthood:

This is a very important Secret of Adulthood.

Be selfless, if only for selfish reasons: do good, feel good — it really works! One of the best ways to make ourselves happier is to make someone else happier. It’s a kind of gratification that never palls. Some people think that this good feeling detracts from the altruism of any virtuous act — but to my mind, the fact that we feel good when we do good for others is one of the best aspects of human nature. I feel happier when I see anyone doing something good — especially if it’s me!

Be selfish, if only for selfless reasons: when we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves. That’s why we need healthy treats. That’s why we need to work on the Strategy of Foundation.  When we take care of ourselves, we can forget about ourselves, and turn outward to think about other people and the problems of the world.  People who are happier are more altruistic: they give away more money, volunteer more time, and are more likely to lend a hand. One of the best ways to make someone else happier is to be happy ourselves.

Agree, disagree? Agree partly?

How to End This Sentence? “There Is Certainly No Greater Happiness Than To…”

How would you end that sentence? Here’s how Dr. Johnson completed it:

“There is certainly no greater happiness than to be able to look back on a life usefully and virtuously employed, to trace our own progress in existence by such tokens that excite neither shame nor sorrow.”

–Samuel Johnson, “Rambler No. 41,” August 7, 1750

I love the work of Samuel Johnson. I was looking back through the draft of Better Than Before, my book about habit change, and I realized that I’d quoted him several times — and I cut out several more quotations, as well. (To pre-order Better Than Before, click here.)

What authors do you find yourself quoting most often?

Story: The Fact Is, It’s Nice to Be Appreciated.

This week’s video story: It’s nice to be appreciated. Even if you don’t do something for the recognition — the recognition is nice.

How I love stories when virtue is rewarded! Here’s the one that I mention in the video, that I already posted, and here’s one for today:

Note that my friend’s acts of kindness weren’t “random acts of kindness “; they were very specific. But they were very kind.

How about you? Have you ever recognized — or been recognized — in this way?

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