An Experiment of Many?

James Taylor wrote (melodically, of course), “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.” I think JT was correct. Having said that, I am currently participating in an experiment with the other members of the planet (yes, that means you,  too). This is an experiment that I have been methodically examining for some time, maybe perhaps, a lifetime. This enterprise is entitled, “How To Get Along With Everyone.”
Using that title reminds of an old Steve Martin bit. “I wrote a new book called How To Get Along With Everyone. I didn’t write it myself, I wrote it with this other a$$hole, J%&k-off.” Hopefully, my experience will not be fraught with such transperant untruth at its core.
This experiment, by the way, is one which you CAN try at home or work, or play, or out in the regular old world. I am not a paid professional and I don’t get any proceeds resulting in your participation (well….. maybe I do, but more on that later). The rule (and there is only one) is: Be nice to everyone you encounter. Nice, you say? What’s that mean?
Okay, I confess, my studies have determined that NICE is a fluid concept and I am coming from a rather SUBjective reference in my definition, but here goes: Being nice is being truly glad to have the moment you’re having with that person, and treating them with that gladness and actually being in that moment with them.
That was easy, wasn’t it? I can do that – no problem. Really? Do you know how hard it really is to actually be nice to the clerk at the store, that person you pass on the trail, the other drivers, your BF, GF, spouse, kid, significant other or whomever? Not always easy.
I’m finding it sometimes easier to be filled with “niceness” with strangers: someone like the guy at the convenience store as opposed to my family and close friends. With my clan, I have history, expectations and pre-conceived notions as to who they are, how they are and what they are thinking and/or feeling. Those pre-conceived notions can cloud my experiment with judgment. And it’s hard to be nice, when I’m in a place of judgment. So to get out of this judgment, I want to get into what I will call freshness. I want to look at each encounter freshly, almost in a state of newness or uniqueness. If I can do that….. game on!
What I have found is what you’ve found any time you’ve ventured down the nice trail – people enjoy it and most of them are equally nice back! The nicer I am and especially, the more people I am nice to – the better my day goes AND (I assume) the better their day goes. That is the payoff, or kickback from engaging in such an activity.
I’m the last guy to get optimistic about some type of goofy experiment as this, but this little bit of niceness or, dare I say it, love can, as Jackie DeShannon sang, make the world “a better place.”