We started on week 15 the Franklin Makeover. This exercise consists in focusing on a virtue (among 13) for an entire week, seeing it in action everywhere, “being the observer” -in others, in ourselves, animals- then scoring it on the spreadsheet with 7 columns, one for each day of the week. The purpose of this exercise, after identifying these virtues, is to draw them out, manifest, develop, multiply, strengthen them within us effortlessly! The success of this exercise is based on many principles: seek and you shall find – you can only recognize virtues in others because they are already in you – knowledge doesn’t apply itself so you have to take action – law of growth: whatever we think about grows, whatever we forget atrophies without exception – and finally the field will return what has been planted, it doesn’t care!
Here are the virtues we will be working on:
- Specialized knowledge
- Taking Initiative
- Pleasing Personality
- Kindness (Week 16)
- See the good in others ( last week, week 27)
We have been asked to organize them by order of greater to lesser importance. I chose decisiveness as my virtue to develop first, then we as a group all focused on Kindness. In the context of Covid-19 social restrictions, I unfortunately didn’t have as many opportunities to witness decisiveness in others than usually but caught a few.
However Kindness, this week, was a lot easier to witness, to give and receive. In summary, kindness is really everywhere! When I took this same course 2 years ago, this exercise on kindness was the most impactful of all! It literally changed forever my relationship to being kind! I became genuinely kinder, to anyone (strangers or not), in any situation (on the road, at the store, on the phone, in person…so easy to kind!) and most importantly and in contrary, it took away my fear of being hurt by being kind, not making me weaker like my belief was but it making me -like the people involved and around me- better, happier, more confident! What a change of blueprint!!
To spread Kindness all around us and the world, we have been asked to share every kindness we saw, received and gave on a dedicated place in the member’s area website, to reach a total of 7000 kindnesses in a week. We ended up being short of a few hundreds, amazing!! That’s a lot of love we know has and will have a ripple effect!
The week unfortunately finished on a negative note… when I shared my tribe that sharing the kindnesses I did, saying how kind I was felt uncomfortable/unnecessary. Not so much in the context of attaining a number of shares, but when my old-blueprint (apparently still alive!) self-talk was coming up “nah that’s really nothing what you did, it’s totally normal, it’s not worth mentioning…”, judging myself, being afraid of the judgment of others. And this self-talk has been suppressing who I am since my childhood (I was born and raised in France and moved to the US when I was 31), stopping me from being totally myself, from talking in groups, feeling desempowered and stupid.. When I took the courage (my 3rd virtue) to talk to my tribe, I worded the reason of my discomfort out as being raised “humble” by my parents. Unfortunately this has been interpreted and stretched out where my mind wasn’t at all, I believe because of differences of cultures and maybe cultural biaises. In my mind and family/culture, being humble is an act of kindness, to not make others feel less than, -funny enough it is actually like we were asked to do kindnesses without anyone knowing we were behind them-. What I didn’t have the clarity to mention at the time regarding sharing personal kindnesses was that “privacy” is something very important not only in my family but also in my culture.
This situation is an example of the complexity of human interactions/relationships, intensified by a multicultural context; an illustration of the power of words; of the only factor we can control that is ourselves, the world within; and reinforced that kindness is the key action to finding ultimate peace and happiness.