Below is an updated (minor edits) version of a speech I wrote in May of 2017. You'll notice time stamps in the text, as I had to fit this into a 5-7 minute time frame. Enjoy!
Join the Movement of Just Be Nice
Let there be no misunderstanding about the word movement here. This is not about religious or political movements. And, if you are thinking about yet another meaning of the word movement, we WILL NOT be discussing prunes!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Toastmasters….
A discussion I had had with a friend of mine, led to this idea. My friend feels it is unfortunate that many people feel a need to rely on “some higher power” for help. One example he cites is when people pray for their sports team to win.
The details of that discussion were probably more colorful than I can share here with you today. The result, included in the title of this speech, was that we should all practice, or be members of the religion of, “Just Be Nice.”
Yes, I know I said we would not discuss religion here.
That’s why the first part of the title of this speech is, “Join the Movement.”
“Now that we’ve cleared that up….” Just remember, it’s a movement, not religion. And, it’s the easiest practice in the world, with no regular attendance required, no prayers, no need for singing ability, no dues, collections, or “Sunday go to meetin’ clothes.” You simply make up your mind to just be nice.
Well, it’s easy. Based on research I’ve done on how to start a movement, it only takes one follower to make me a leader. More importantly, that one follower not only transforms me from a subversive lunatic into the founder of a movement, but he or she now sets a brilliant example of how to jump in and participate at the grassroots level, as the real momentum begins! The possibility of this activity becoming something worth doing has now doubled and twice as many people may be influenced by our collective behavior. It sounds easy so far, right? Well, it is fun, so I hope you’ll try it.
Who, what, where, and when?
This answer may seem simply obvious. The who is you, doing whatever is kind, wherever you are, whenever you have the opportunity. Ah, you say, but where do I find these opportunities. That’s easy, too. Almost anywhere you go or anywhere you are, if there are other people around you, the opportunity to be nice is there. The key is to be open to that possibility.
An observation, more good things happen to me when I expect them to happen. As much as I could avoid disappointment by reducing my expectations to zero, that just doesn’t suit me.
You, perhaps I should say, I’m hoping you, might feel the same way. See the possibility of goodness in everyone you meet and your approach to people will be colored positive by this prejudice. Yes, prejudice can be positive if applied correctly. Prejudge people to be wonderful and you’ll meet lots of wonderful people.
Did you just say, “why?” What are you, some kind of rabble rouser? Are you looking for trouble? I’m sure it’s just as easy to find. Remember that bit about expectations we just covered?
Yes, you may find the world and the people in it meet your expectations. Good or bad, you’ll likely have it your way.
But, seriously, the “because” answer for “why” becomes far clearer after you’ve had some experience with this behavior.
1. Because you’ll feel better is one of three reasons why you should be nice.
2. The other two reasons are other people, the objects of your kindness.
3. And, other people who witness your kindness, who get something akin to a contact high just by seeing your good deeds.
If we had more time, we could go into the serotonin effect and what happens inside the brains of all the people affected by your kindness. The short answer is a heightened sense of wellbeing and happiness. These good feelings are brought on by a rush of a neurotransmitter, created in happy people, as a direct result of your brazen expression of kindness toward another human being. You can almost feel it now, can’t you? Enjoy!
But, alas, the end is near and here comes the “what you can do, what I want you to do, and what I think you’ll enjoy doing.”
Choose one or more of these actions. (1:15)
1. Start a movement in your community. I’ll give you this speech with my blessings. Use it as is, when I win this contest, you’ll have award winning material to use to continue this movement! Or, modify it, make it your own.
Find your voice and change the world.
2. Start a movement among your closest friends. Leverage your circle of influence to drive positive change. Same offer as before…. if you like this speech, it’s yours to use, free of any encumbrance.
Find your voice and change the world.
3. Start this movement personally. Make a commitment every morning when you rise, to go out into the world expecting an opportunity to make someone happy. Your good deed need not be grandiose, dandy or verbose. If you are open to it, surely your spirit will realize this possibility.
Be a single voice of kindness and change the world.
As I close this speech, I wonder how you’ll feel to say these THREE SIMPLE WORDS. So, when I say, “say it with me.” I want you to say, "JUST BE NICE."
Then you’ll know how you feel.
There is a smile out there waiting for you, it will be for you, due to what you do. All you have to do is (say it with me!):
Just Be Nice!