“You are a good man” – he said, looking at me, nervously stroking his red tie, as if to straighten it further – “I just don’t understand the way you see the world.”
“What do you mean?” – I asked, sincerely curious.
“Well, you can’t run a business and be so gentle and calm.”
“It’s just not how the world works.”
I thought about it on my way home from the meeting, his words still resonating within my mind. It touched a spot, what he said. I have been thinking about it a lot in the last few years, and sometimes even felt he was right. But, as much as I have changed over the years, and as much as I hope to change in the future, some things remain the same. My heart is still opened. My eyes are still in awe, always finding new beauty everywhere. My mind is still curious and joyful of each new project or idea. It’s just a part of what makes me me.
Is it true, then? Being gentle is a flaw in the world today? Being kind is an obstacle to success? The world really less opened hearts and more closed minds? Is the only way to be successful really by adopting the same point of view that made the world today what it is?
The moment of doubt quickly passed. The truth is obvious, once you realize it’s easy to be close-minded and ignorant of other people and their emotions, needs and beauty.
I will not apologize for being kind. I will not even consider being “strong” if it means closing my heart. I will not stop believing in people and focusing on their kindness, even if they themselves are unaware of it. Why should I feel out of place in this world? Because I see people as fundamentally good? Because I see the world as a playground designed to make us all aware of our perfection? Because I ignore ignorant individuals who rose to the top by ruthlessly destroying dreams of hundreds of people who happened to stand between them and their goals? Because I don’t want “success” if the price for it is my own heart; if I need to erase the smile from my face or, worse still, replace it with a false, empty one?
What kind of a success is that, anyway? Shallow and sad – to strive for something material and then fear every day because somewhere deep inside we do understand it is all fragile and inevitably short-lived. To spend most of our lives blind and ignorant to the needs of others, because “that’s how the world works”. Eat or be eaten, where everyone is a potential enemy.
Maybe the world really works that way but, if it does, it does so because we broke it temporarily. We created false values and buried our natural kindness and love under the gravel of fear and greed.
I will not be a part of such a world, but I will not run or hide either. Nor will I apologize for keeping my heart exposed and opened, in business and privately, even if that makes me weak in the eyes of majority. I don’t care.
I know I am not alone.
Kind hearts are usually quiet and shy, but they inevitably gravitate towards each other. The world is changing, and every act of kindness, every honest hug, every sincere smile, every positive action becomes a fabric this new world is made of. I, for one, wish to contribute to that, with every project I start, with every idea I have, with every person I meet, through business or personally, it makes no difference to me.
And I know I’m not the only one.