[Clip] I would like to change how kindness is perceived

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One Change in the World
[Clip] I would like to change how kindness is perceived

I would like to change how kindness is perceived in our job as researchers, as future professors, but also in general within society.
I mean that usually in general kindness, I think, unfortunately, is associated with weakness.
So I think that if you are kind, people assume that you’re weak.
Also in your job, you often can hear people say, “You’re too kind, you’re way too kind, you should be more harsh, you should be a bit more aggressive in the way you do your job.” May this job be talking with students or, I don’t know, engaging with other professors.
You are expected to be not kind because kindness is seen as something that makes you weak and less respectable.
Martina is doing a PhD in Rome at the Sapienza and LUISS University in cyber security.
She told me that she has 20 cats.
Yes, 20 cats.
I don’t know if that’s one of the reasons she wanted to talk about kindness today, but listen to this very first episode to find out soon.
How come kindness is associated?
Because it’s true.
I mean, also for me, I have this association sometimes that also we have this in French, we say it’s “Trop bon trop con” which basically means “too good, too stupid, too nice, too stupid.” But why is that?
I mean, how come there’s such association?
I think if we are talking about the field that we are in, if we want to get a bit more specific, I think when you think about a famous professor, I think you imagine someone that is very strict in his work, someone who worked hard to get where it is and to do so, he had to make sacrifices, and often these sacrifices are assumed to be connected with.
Try to be stronger than the events that you have to face in your life.
So for instance, being a professor we know is super hard because once you do the PhD, you have to publish a lot.
If you don’t publish, you don’t get recognition and then you cannot even access the the resources to be a professor.
And so we think that by being kind, the chances that you have to rise are also lower because the more challenges you have to face, the more strong you have to be.
Basically, you need to have a…
I don’t remember the English word exactly, but “taukskin” like “heart”.
And maybe that’s why you shouldn’t be nice because nice, maybe at the end, would you say that being nice is associated with being sensitive and instead you should be not sensitive and have a hard tough skin and just go your way without…
Yeah, basically according to this, you should not care about other people and you should just go your way and try to get there, no matter the cost.
But I think that if we are kind, we also have to think about what other people may be facing.
Maybe we don’t know what they are facing because they don’t tell us.
So it’s all about empathy.
And I’ve been told a lot of times in these two years as being like a PhD, but also as a tutor for courses, that you’re way too kind to do this job.
And at first, it hurt me a bit because I started thinking, maybe I should change, I need to grow up and start to be a little less nice to people.
But then I like asked myself, do I really want these changes in me?
Do I really need this change?
Am I the problem?
Or maybe the problem is that being nice is associated with something that is actually not true.
I personally believe that I, and I hope that I can achieve all my aims in life without having to discourage other people, without having to put other people down just for the sake of achieving my aim.
That’s very interesting.
So for example, so we are talking about academia.
I think there is the same, for example, in politics, politicians.
It’s like if you want to be on the top, become the president, being elected or something, you need to be hard-tasking.
I don’t know that expression.
So there is the same.
And I imagine in many kinds of careers.
And my question is then, if someone is ambitious and wants to have the really top position, do you think that at the end, for that kind of aim, they should somehow not always be so nice?
Or do you think that because you say, I understand this, that you hope you can achieve all your aims, keeping your nice qualities.
And I mean, this is because maybe you have some kind of aims that are not the most ambitious top one to be, for example, president of the country.
And do you think that for a very ambitious position like that, actually, yes, indeed, at some point, you shouldn’t be nice.
Or do you think that even to be president of the country, we can be…
Imagine if actually a president of a country was nice.
Yeah, maybe it could also be a better model, I think, as someone that we can actually relate to.
And yeah, often ambition is like associated with wanting to reach the top and doing everything that you can to reach it.
But I think it’s also a matter on how we see ambition.
So maybe my ambition is not to become the president of, I don’t know, something.
But even if my ambition was that, I would not compromise my understanding of how a human being should behave with other human beings.
Also, I think that a lot of politicians, unfortunately, nowadays that want to reach the top, tend to be like obnoxious and super excessive in their behaviors, also to attract maybe more extremist views.
And sometimes they say, super crazy stuff just to get attention.
But then I think we don’t really know in the end, even if they reach their ambitions, we don’t know how really do they feel.
Maybe they appear as happy to have reached their ambitions, but in the end, they feel shitty because they know that they are not being nice.
Yeah, for sure.
I mean, acting like this, I don’t think it promotes like a good atmosphere, let’s say.
People just…
This creates more violence, let’s say, in a way.
And it also normalizes this behavior.

#society #kindness #work

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