‘Kind > Clever’

Share This Post

24th Jan 2024

Jeff Bezos is known for his remarkable journey from a garage startup to building one of the world’s most influential companies in Amazon.

But what’s truly remarkable is this one lesson he learned along the way: which is about the power of kindness over being clever.

Here’s that story verbatim that Jeff first told graduates at Princeton University in 2010 –

“My grandfather was driving. And my grandmother had the passenger seat. She smoked throughout these trips, and I hated the smell. At that age, I’d take any excuse to make estimates and do minor arithmetic. I decided to do the math for my grandmother. I estimated the number of cigarettes per days, estimated the number of puffs per cigarette and so on. When I was satisfied that I’d come up with a reasonable number, I poked my head into the front of the car, tapped my grandmother on the shoulder, and proudly proclaimed, “At two minutes per puff, you’ve taken nine years off your life!”

I have a vivid memory of what happened, and it was not what I expected. I expected to be applauded for my cleverness and arithmetic skills. Instead, my grandmother burst into tears. I sat in the backseat and did not know what to do. While my grandmother sat crying, my grandfather, who had been driving in silence, pulled over onto the shoulder of the highway. He got out of the car and came around and opened my door and waited for me to follow.

My grandfather looked at me, and after a bit of silence, he gently and calmly said, ‘Jeff, one day you’ll understand that it’s harder to be kind than clever.”

Think about the people you really admire the most in life.

Maybe your teacher, or a friend, or your boss or mentor, or somepne else. They’re probably smart and accomplished, but what truly sets them apart is their kindness.

Even when it’s hard, they choose kindness.

Now, cleverness, which is often associated with intelligence and wit, is undoubtedly valuable.

It allows us to solve problems, navigate complex situations, and achieve our goals.

We all admire clever individuals who can find ingenious solutions to challenges.

But what about kindness? It is often overlooked in comparison to cleverness, yet kindness can create connections, build trust, and make the world a better place.

Kindness has the power to mend relationships, inspire change, and foster a sense of belonging.

Kindness isn’t just about being nice; it’s about understanding, showing respect, and providing support when it’s needed most.

Jeff’s story teaches us that while cleverness is a valuable gift, kindness is a choice that we can make every day. And it’s often the choice of kindness that leaves a lasting impact on people’s lives.

So the question is – how can we choose kindness over cleverness in our daily lives?

Well, it’s as simple as offering a helping hand, listening attentively to someone in need, or showing empathy and understanding when someone makes a mistake.

Kindness builds bridges, fosters connections, and leaves a lasting impact on the lives of others.

It’s a choice we can make every day, regardless of our circumstances or abilities.

So, remember, it’s not just about how clever we are; it’s about how kind we choose to be. In a world that can sometimes seem cold and challenging, let’s warm it up with the choice of kindness.

It’s a choice that can change the world, one act at a time.

The toughest people I know have one thing in common, they are kind, they are good to people irrespective of the circumstances.

The pain in their life does not turn into giving pain back to the world.

Today,  be good, be kind, spread good cheer wherever you go & stay blessed forever.