The Challenge of Being Kind

Posted by Luke McMeeken-Ruscoe on

Shaving is part of my self care ritual. I always notice I feel better after a good shave. 

In basketball, and probably a lot of other avenues of life, there is an idea, look good, feel good, feel good, play good. Shaving was one of my very few pre-game rituals.

I think that carries on to today, the idea that I am shaving to feel good and prepare myself for the challenges the day will present. 

However, sometimes I just don't feel like it. Maybe I have things on my mind, or I am feeling down and I just skip it, then one day turns into two, and two days turns into four, and I look at myself in the mirror and I feel like a slob. 

Shaving then becomes a kindness to myself. It is something I can control, but sometimes I fail at. 

Being kind to others is something I also control, and sometimes I fail at.

Kindness is a Skill

Recently, I had a customer get in touch because their payment failed for their subscription. This isn't uncommon, there are numerous ways a payment may fail. 

The customer took it as a personal slight that we had personally cancelled their payment to make them look bad. They said some not nice things about Straightface.

I was so confused about what they were suggesting and was in an little bit of an argumentative mood so I replied to the email with how do you think payments work? How does it serve us to not take your money? Possibly your card didn't have money at the time?

They came back again with saying more horrible things about Straightface and that we were ruining their credit score and that we were a terrible business. 

Again, I tried to understand how they thought the financial system worked and how they thought credit score worked. 

They never addressed or even answered my questions, they just threatened to put negative comments on all the social media posts we do. 

It is a huge threat because there is no nuance on the internet and people believe bad reviews from people they don't know before good reviews from people that they do. 

What I could have done

I should have been kinder. I should have said that maybe the billion dollar financial company that processes the payments made a mistake. It could have happened. 

I should have said I will look into it, when really I have no capacity to look into it. It a third party that is kept away from us so we can't have access to everyone's financial information. 

It would have cost me nothing to indulge their ideas but I didn't rise to the occasion.

Also, if someone is thinking that a failed payment is going to ruin their world and a small business from Mt Eden is out to get them, they might have other things going on in their life that really needs to be addressed and I could have been more supportive rather than combative. 

So far they haven't put any bad comments on social media which I am pleased about.

Moment of Gratitude

I read a framework for life a while back, it was say hello first. The premise is that everyone is shy so be the first person to say hello. 

Again, I try and sometimes fail at this, but I am slowly getting better. I often feel self conscious that they think I am weird or silly but people generally like to talk about themselves so I try to start with a question or compliment about them or what they are doing. 

I said hello to a guy at the gym and it turns out they have a business and now we might be trying to do something together. You never know who people are, what they know, and where things can lead. I always assume everyone is smarter than me at something and so everyone can teach me something. It hasn't failed me yet.

Shave well, be awesome, say hello first, and try to be kind. 


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