GLOSS Issue 21 APRIL 2015 - Page 39

Exclusive Extract: DO YOU HAVE KINDNESS BLINDNESS? from BUY IT HERE Life & Love: Creating The Dream by Lisa Messenger As the editor-in-chief of The Collective – a magazine that only shares inspiring, uplifting stories – entrepreneur Lisa Messenger says it’s easy to overlook opportunities to help each other. Here’s how she took her blinkers off. I recently met a friend for juice in the city – she took the train from the other side of town to see me. On the journey, she noticed a guy in his twenties holding onto the rail near the train doorway. From his cane, she could tell that he was visually impaired. She told me she was interested in her own thought process: ‘I think he might need help alighting. I should help him. Should I help him? Someone else will probably help him. What if he doesn’t need my help? What if he’s offended? What if I try to help him, but do it wrong?’ All these thoughts flew through her head in a matter of seconds before she mentally kicked herself. It was a no-brainer! As a human being, seeing another human being in need, she had to offer her assistance. And so, when they reached the last station on the line, she asked if he’d like a hand off the train and guided him along the platform and up the escalators. When I asked what they talked about, she said that was the most memorable thing – after he thanked her, they walked the rest of the way in silence, he didn’t feel the need to keep commending her or apologise for needing a hand. They were just two strangers doing something not that extraordinary really – helping each other. What she’d seen as a huge deal and overanalysed in her mind was just a normal human act. Except, we live in such an isolated, self-serving world sometimes that she almost hadn’t offered to help, because it felt so alien. Do you walk around with blinkers on, or with your eyes wide open? Would you have noticed a blind man in the corner of the train, or would you have walked straight past him? I’m not saying this to be judgmental; I’ve suffered from ‘kindness blindness’ in the past. But helping others is a habit that we all should practice – because one day you might need help, too.