Cruel to be Kind

“Sometimes you need to be kind to yourself”, said Stefan Einhorn at a seminar last week in reply to a questions concerning what to do when somebody asks you to do something you do not want to or have time for. “If you cannot deliver, you should say no because in the long run it is kinder.”

He should know because he has written an excellent book called “The Art of Being Kind”. Being a Professor of Molecular Oncology he has had plenty of opportunity to observe what it takes to be kind, both at work and at home. You actually often have to be both brave and smart to be kind. There is also much research that demonstrates that humans benefit from kindness and most of us want to be good.

There is a world-wide ongoing debate concerning if it is better to support entrepreneurs in struggling economies through companies like MyC4 where lenders get interest or through charities like Kiva. Most people seem to take the position that there is room for a variety of players and I totally agree with this. However, I also believe that we need to become better at offering true business deals.

When you do want to help charities, there are plenty of opportunities to do that in combination with business. The site God Handling (A Good Deed) offers an opportunity to purchase from web shops and at the same time make the companies pay charities. As a consumer you don’t pay any extra, but the company pays to get some more publicity.

If you are in doubt concerning what charity to choose, you might want to use Charity Rating. Here the charities have been categories in terms of what focus they have, what countries they cover, how transparent the information is and so on. So far only Swedish charities have been rated, but there are similar organisations like Charity Navigator in the US and Guide Star in the UK.

Should you want to experience a really weird mix of kindness and cruelty, I recommend taking a look at The Cruel Game, and become a benevolent assassin.

“Will innocents be caught in the cross-fire?
Oh, yes.
But when your secret weapon is a random act
of kindness, it’s only cruel to be kind
to other players...”

Maybe Hamlet got it right in the end…

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