The Power Of Small, The Power Of Nice

Little things matter.  Like being nice.

Recently the pastor of my church resigned and took a different assignment.  He was with our church for 15 years and had many long-term relationships.

Just before leaving he made the remark that all of the notes of thanks and encouragement he received after he announced his resignation were deeply encouraging to him, and that they made him resolve to speak up and encourage someone else when he had the chance.

This is the power of small.  The power of nice.  It’s free and has a massive effect on people around you. Here are some ways I’ve seen this superpower used recently:

  • A flag person smiling and giving a wave as I drive by construction on the road
  • A drive through (minimum wage!) employee giving me a sincere cheerful greeting
  • A client singling out each person on his management team and telling them why they’re so important and what he appreciates about each one during a planning meeting
  • A subscriber dropping me a note thanking me for a Monday tip
  • A friend sending me a hilarious text
  • An employee buying a co worker an unasked-for coffee
  • A neighbor taking in my garbage bin from the street
  • A friend of my wife’s putting a ribbon around a bar of chocolate and leaving it at the door for her

Here’s another measure of character that I use:

How do you treat people who you have nothing to gain from? 

They’re not your boss or client or someone you’re trying to impress.  Just one of the people who help make your world go round.

My daughter is a Starbucks barista, and she estimates that 5% of people make an effort to be nice.  Most aren’t evil either.  They just don’t return a smile, don’t say anything nice, don’t say thank you.  They state their order and move on.  Why not take 4 seconds to give a sincere smile and make someone’s day?

When I’m with a ‘big’ businessperson and they treat a lunch server like they’re a slave or just an unimportant minion, I take note.  This is a sign of character, or lack of it.  And it’s probably reflected in the quality and health of their work culture too.

During today’s mental health crisis, sometimes being nice can literally be the difference between life and death.

So do something nice this week for someone around you.  Something small.  And see the difference it makes.

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Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.”  He is also co-founder and senior instructor at

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