Many years ago, during college, I was traveling in a foreign country with a friend of mine. Everything was nice. I was fascinated by how affordable everything was, the only downside was quality. I always calculated in my head the amount of work hours I have to put in from my country to live comfortably there. Turns out, the expenses were like a sixth of home. I have a moderately high logic aptitude side of me. Perhaps years of repetitive mental math training while I was young have something to do with it. But then, an incident during a train ride pushed me to realize more. It made me realize the importance to treat people with kindness. Everyone was minding their own business, either staring at their phone or an empty space, not heightened. When the gangway connection opens, disturbing the sound passengers had adjusted to, a small lady crawled in with both knees on the floor. She was begging for money. I do not recall hearing any dialogue. I was positioned in the middle of the train along with my friend. As she made her way across the train on both knees, some gave her a sympathized look, some stared blankly, and some even offered money. Finally, it was almost my turn. This whole time, I knew I was going to give. My only concern was being seen doing so. I reached into my pocket to sort out the bills, because I do have some really big bills in there that I do not want others to see, haha. I tried to find something that would satisfy a meal and a half at the typical eateries there. I was brashly interrupted by my friend. He said “wtf are you doing?” The rest of his dialogue was something along the line of “you do know most of these people, like 9 out of 10 are scammers right?” He was very mad. In my head, I believed him. I’d even said I believed it, but I cannot refuse to help. He said to not be stupid and to think on who will help me when difficult situations arise. For the sake of my own sanity, that moment, I had just let it go. After we gotten off of the train, I began to explain myself in hopes of him agreeing. He did not.
I come back to this scene many times over the years. I realize that my friend is a very logical person with a sharp business acumen. He really is sharp and a self made entrepreneur. Not the kind of modern entrepreneur in current standards, but more like from scratch, traditional type. Everything to him was seen in perspective as a business deal. He’d represent the epitome of a success mindset if there was one, conventionally speaking. So what does it mean to be or not be stupid? Remember, he did say that “most of those people” are scammers. That means he must weigh his decisions on statistical probability, right? Whether that is true or not, is out of the question here. He was probably right also. This means that if 9 of 10 people coming to you asking for money are scammers. And when you give, you made a stupid decision. He sees it as an auto loss. I did mention, after the train ride, that I had tried to explain myself to him afterwards in hopes of him agreeing. At the time, my justification was that I believed he was right but there is a small chance that the person who I offered help to really needed the help. And that chance I was willing to try and make happen. Again, of course, “the chances are so slim” or “you’re better buying a scratch card”. Logic has little room for compassion.
This might be a bit of a stretch, or not. Often times, we hear and would come to a consensus that we should all do the right thing. You probably would see this more on a job post or something. But I realize even this word can mean different things to different people. For some people, it is morally defined. And for others, being statistically error free is right. Tying back to what I mentioned before, if one is constantly choosing the side that has a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct, that does give one the perception that what he or she does every time is right.
Why is kindness important?
Do the right thing
Similarly, this statistically right mentality has taken over as an enemy mindset against charitable organizations. Conceptually, I mirror my philosophy onto the way I view charities set up by organizations. I acknowledge that there are expenses for running an organization. And some I’ve came across has a net contributive total going to the cause being 1/8th of total donations. At least some of the money there is actually going to the cause. At least some people are working for a company we can respect. And the people who are deceitful along the way are given the same chance to change. There seems to be more pros than cons in this model than my encounter on the train. This one may be even all pros because #prolife right? lol. I understand it does feel like losing a match or adding flaws to our statistical judgement report card when we make a decision so stupid to support such a positive contribution with a chance of 10%. It does take quite a perspective to change our mind, or heart. Remember to treat people with kindness whenever and manifest positivity!