“Nothing is so contagious as an example; and we never do any great good or evil which does not produce its like.”
– Francois de La Rochefoucauld
The Power of an Example
Those that we surround ourselves with can have a profound effect on our outlook on the world and the way we treat others around us. This is why surrounding ourselves with good examples and role models is so important in shaping the person we wish to become. Examples can have a powerful effect on many aspects of our lives from building good habits to even dealing with deep-set fears.
In a study at Stanford University, a group of psychologists ran a test with a group of kids that had a fear of dogs. The kids were all asked to watch a small four-year-old boy play with a dog for 2o minutes a day for four days straight. After these children had watched the young boy’s example the study showed that 67% of the kids were now more than willing to enter the room to play with the dog. They followed up again a month later and the example had stuck with the kids and they were still happy to play with the dog. While this may not work so well for all fears it does effectively show the influence that the example of another can have on our minds.
A Good Example for Me
While I admire my wife for so many reasons she reminded me recently one of the greatest reasons why I am so grateful to have her in my life, her considerate nature towards others. I have never met someone with so much love and consideration others than her. Recently we had a Saturday when we didn’t have anything planned and we’re trying to figure out what we should spend our day doing. Of course, my first thought was to start suggesting things like swimming, playing a game, or watching a movie together. She said that she wanted to head out to get ice cream at our favorite place and deliver it to a few family members who had been having a hard time later. Of course, I loved the idea and agreed while also feeling a little dumb that I had been suggesting more selfish answers while hers is something more considerate.
So we deliver some ice cream to some relatives who have been dealing with some difficult times lately and they were so surprised and appreciative. It was really such a small thing for us but it seemed to brighten their day just a bit which helped make it a memorable day for us as well. I feel like I learned a lot through my wife’s great example that day and am working harder to look for ways to brighten another’s day. The funny thing is I don’t think she thought much of it but, a good example of kindness often doesn’t notice the effect they have on others.
Examples in Your Life
People all over the world are often displaying great examples through the small acts of kindness they do each day. I would ask you to look for those examples in your life and work to emulate them in how you act. Their good acts will drive you to be better in your own life. Also, be sure to put out a good example to those around you so that the snowball of kindness can continue rolling onward brightening lives and helping others. You can make a change in the world through your example and can really help others out in ways you might not even recognize. Just think of the boy playing with the dog, he might not have known the good that his simple actions had done for those other kids involved in the study but his example made all the difference to them.