Do you ever ask yourself why you engage in a kind act? Have you ever pondered in quieter moments of honesty why you did a good deed — was it to make yourself look good, or were you expecting something in return?

In other words, do you have a hidden agenda (sometimes we don’t even realise it ourselves!) behind your altruism, or do you truly embody the old saying, that a good deed is its own reward?

As our nation unites to tide over the Covid-19 situation, I’m happy to hear about the many stories of people stepping up to help and show care for one another.

But I’m even more encouraged to read about Singaporeans who quietly and without any fanfare, make small simple gestures of kindness. Like these two silent heroes.

One, a private-hire driver, took the initiative to make his Muslim passenger feel at ease to break fast during her journey while another quietly swept up leaves at her estate at night because there has been a shortage of cleaners during the circuit breaker.

Were both actions huge acts of philanthropy? No. Did both of them make a big deal of what they did? No. And it is this unthinking sense of kindness that makes them even more commendable in my eyes.

Being considerate to another

What touched many in these two stories was the simple yet powerful act of sparing a thought for a fellow human being. It is a sentiment that can sometimes be sorely lacking during the circuit breaker period.

Being other-centered, without thinking about how it may benefit you, can often inspire in unexpected ways.

Here are three reasons why:

We are all interconnected

We do not live alone. Our actions, big or small, impact living and non-living things around us. Just like how a smile can brighten someone’s day, an unfriendly demeanour naturally gets one’s guard up.

Make a small positive change in your mindset and see how it changes people around you. Positivity works just like a boomerang. Try it and see how it comes back to benefit you!

Life is not a zero-sum game

Not every situation needs a winner and a loser. Collaboration is key. Bringing out the best in everyone makes life easier for all.

Anyone can beat the other guy, but it takes an expert at finding a middle ground to ensure a win-win situation.

You never know, sometimes, the competitors of today could very well be the collaborators of tomorrow.

It takes you further

Focus on yourself and you remain myopic. Look beyond your problems and listen to the concerns of others; you are unknowingly broadening your perspective. When you develop a heart for things not directly concerning you, you become a better person, with a bigger heart.

When we look out for others, opportunities to connect arise. And it is building connections that gives us that extra push to succeed.

With Kindness Day SG coming soon, let’s celebrate kindness in the whole month of May!

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Top Image: Ivan Josiah Soh / Facebook All Singapore Stuff