Original, Unmodified Speech #

March 31st, 2017 (title known earlier, January 30th, 2017) #

I’d like to begin by apologizing about the last mess of a report, it was all over the place and hard to put into words. The main idea was though: your mind categorizes everything you see—including people. Today is about one consequence.

I consider myself very kind towards people whom I don’t know. To any of you who’ve gone hiking with me, or have in general been with me in public, you’d have seen this. Yes, while I sometimes spout complete nonsense, people who speak with me typically leave happy. I smile, I greet them, even when just walking by people on a walk or a hike.

I try being kind to random people because that’s what I enjoy doing, and that’s what I think is right. However, if you remember my first lesson (You are an Egoist too), in order to make sure that I never lose sight of this goal, I need a concrete reason that ultimately comes back to benefit me. That’s where the last lesson comes in. Let me explain.

I’ll give you two (fairly realistic) situations:

  1. You are hiking. You see a man passing by. You smile to him, and say, “Beautiful day to hike.” He smiles and acknowledges you.

    The next week, you have an important company meeting, and you see him. You two make eye contact and nod to each other, with a slight smile.

    During the break, you find yourself next to him, and you talk a bit about hiking and weather.

  2. You are hiking. You see a man passing by. You are grumpy, or in general not in the mood. The man says “Hello”, and for some reason you just keep looking forward and grumpy and don’t acknowledge him (maybe you weren’t paying attention to him).

    The next week, you have an important company meeting, and you see him. You make eye contact, but there isn’t any nod, and no smile.

The only difference between these two situations is a two second exchange that happened at an unrelated event, but that made a big difference. If you find yourself in the second position, you can try to rectify it by walking up to them and saying, “Hey, I think I saw you hiking a while ago. Sorry about that, I was having a terrible day.” However still, it’s best just to be in the first scenario.

Your first impression is very important. Every moment is a first impression.

Keeping that in mind can give you an egoistic reason to do many altruistic things. For me, I can rationalize doing my best to be kind to every new person I come across (and more!).

Next post #

In the next post, we talk about behavior broadly, specifically how you can adapt your behavior to different situations, and how your behavior can impact your emotions.