Psychology Blog: How to be Intentionally Kind

Thanks. Giving.

There’s now a company that can input your age, gender, and health specifics and then accurately predicts your longevity. The data is programmed into a smartwatch to assist you in counting down the years, weeks, and days until your probable demise.

I’ve mentioned this service to a few people: Most feel the concept is morbid (as do I), but this technology does conjure the question: If I knew how much time I had left…would I live my life differently?

Time Thievery

We gauge our lives through a process of linear mapping – a system of measurement based on how much and when: birthdays celebrated, diplomas awarded, salaries earned, vacations taken. When someone dies, we mourn. If the deceased is young, we’re bewildered – disturbed at how death has cheated him or her out of the ample time allotment we feel we all deserve. If the time quota isn’t met, we deem life short-shifted and death tragic.

There seems to be a tipping point in this process, usually around retirement age, when we begin reflecting on our lives. We (again) base our assessment on how much and when…but does this categorizing really measure life-quality?


Unfortunately, it’s easy to overlook an aspect that has the significant potential to significantly impact the quality of both our lives and the lives of others. Although non-quantifiable, this element is readily available to us all – regardless of age, gender, health, or social standing.

I am speaking of the ability to be purposefully kind.

This phenomenon is not empirically measured but exponentially felt: its impact reverberating for decades within those we’ve reached out to, reassured, and respected. Think of your favorite teacher and how his or her intentional nurturing helped shape the person you are today (thanks, Mr. V). How about the bosses that saw your potential and took the time and additional steps to mentor you toward personal and professional betterment (thank you, Steve, and John).

Life-Extension through Life-Expansion

Kindness pivots on our abilities to adopt good intentions and adapt these instincts into acts that are greater than ourselves. These perspectives free us from the limitations of self-involvedness: as we set down linear calculating and myopic strategizing, spiritual expansion occurs and our lives become increasingly impactful.

The best guarantee of a lasting legacy involves helping as many people as possible attain their full-potentials. Your good intentions will live on in them and the people they touch, as they, too, pay it forward.

Human – Kind

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, may we realize our personal possessions and accomplishments are only a slice of a much bigger pie: It is our kind contributions to others that truly create the satisfying feast of a life well-lived.