Do you believe kindness can change one person? And then that one person can change the world?
Leon Logothetis watched The Motorcycle Diaries and a thought popped into his head. He wanted to see if he could travel around the world on the kindness of strangers. This birthed The Kindness Diaries, a book and an original series on Netflix where Leon travels the globe on Kindness One relying on the kindness of others.
After being introduced to The Kindness Diaries by my author friend Brian Lund, I knew I had to have Leon on the show to talk about the amazing power of kindness. Kick back, pop in your headphones, and listen to this great episode of Answers From Leadership.
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Leon, what else would you like listeners to know about you?
I support the Liverpool football club. I’m a big soccer fan. And I love connecting with people.
So… What inspired you to do the Kindness Diaries? Did you think people would be kind enough to get you across the United States and the world?
The Motorcycle Diaries was the first foray into traveling around the world on kindness. I was a broker and I felt disconnected with no sense of purpose.
There was something about Che’s travels around South America where he relied on the kindness of strangers that touched me. So I started to travel.
What did you discover about kindness as you traveled across the country on your motorcycle Kindness One?
The thing that I found predominantly about traveling around the world was that ultimately people were all the same. By that, I mean we simply want to be seen. We want to be heard. And we want to be loved.
The simplest way to do that is to be kind. By being kind, we make someone else feel less alone.
There was a scene in The Kindness Diaries where you asked a homeless man to let you stay at his house. You found out he was homeless but he still offered to let you stay where he lived. How did these acts of kindness impact you?
It impacted me profoundly. These acts taught me that kindness was free. And kindness isn’t relevant to the amount of money you have. It’s relevant to how open your heart is.
The story of Tony, the homeless man, was an amazing story. Here was a man who had nothing. He had one bag he hid in the bushes so no one would steal it. Yet he humbled me by showing me that his ability to give far outweighed mine.
What do you think made Tony be kind to you?
I would say it was probably he felt like I saw him. Many people, myself included, walk past homeless people as if they don’t exist. In that moment, I didn’t walk past him. I talked with him. I connected with him.
Why do you think we don’t see these people who are willing to be kind or why aren’t we kind to these people?
There’s an element that we’ve lost our sense of community. We wall ourselves up and we don’t connect with each other.
I’ve got some neighbors, who I’ve been neighbors with for 10 years, who I hardly know them. Yet I can go out into the world and connect with people. I go to places like India where there’s a lot of poverty but they have a sense of community. That’s one of the things we should think about: Community.
How can we celebrate every day where we’re inviting others in and creating a sense of community?
It starts with each individual person. It starts with how you show up in life.
There’s not an easy answer. But it stems from each individual person.
Going back to the topic of kindness, why do you think some people are kind and others are not?
That’s an interesting question… Look, I don’t know. I think as human beings kindness is inbuilt in us. However, there are moments in our lives where trauma happens and our hearts close up. If our hearts close up, it is harder to connect.
Some people are unkind because they’ve had so much pain. Some people might not have a kindness gene. I’m not a scientist, but let’s call it that.
Do you think those unkind people can be taught or inspired to be kind?
I would say absolutely, people can be taught or inspired to be kind. Kindness is a part of who we are as human beings.
Do you think these are reasons why people are unkind in the workplace?
Yeah, absolutely. The workplace can be a pretty nasty environment.
Sometimes, we say the workplace is to make money. And kindness doesn’t have a role there. I would disagree.
The greatest companies are often the ones who treat each other with respect and their employees and customers with respect. And go out into the world and make a difference.
What can leaders do to bring kindness to the workplace?
Once again, kindness in the workplace starts with each individual person. Then it’s up to you to filter down the kindness.
Do you have any tips on the things leaders could do to be more kind in the workplace?
Kindness in the workplace really starts at the top. From those leading the show.
Leading is done by example.
What’s one or two acts of kindness on your travels that really impacted you?
The first act of kindness that impacted me was Tony. There’s something about a man with nothing giving of himself so selflessly that changed my life.
His act of kindness showed me if he can be kind, then why can’t I? And if I can be kind, why can’t you? It took a man with nothing to show me that.
The second act of kindness, I was in India. I went to the slums of India. I spent the night with a rickshaw driver who insisted I sleep on his bed.
His wife and him were going to sleep on the floor.
I said there was no way I was sleeping on the bed. He kept on insisting. He said you are a human being and this is how we treat human beings.
Is there a book that has had an impact on your idea of life, leadership, or kindness?
Definitely. The book is called The Drama Of A Gifted Child by Alice Miller.
Do you have any parting words of wisdom about kindness for the listeners today?
I would say how you show up in the world makes a profound difference. You have a choice if you want to show negatively or positively.
Where can listeners find you?
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