The Most Important Idea In The World…

It’s no secret that ideas can change the world.

Ideas can move mountains, ideas can heal the sick; ideas can save lives, and ideas can start wars; ideas can put you to sleep, and ideas can wake you up; ideas can build walls,  and ideas can tear them down.

And it’s no secret that truly great ideas are often very simple.  Cliches are cliches for a reason, and that reason is: simplicity is power.  The moment something becomes unnecessarily complex it’s vitality begins to drain away.

The greatest ideas are, more often than not, also the simplest.

But which of them is truly the most important?

Imagine this:

Imagine you found yourself the leader of a vast group of people.  A group who were about to venture out into the world for the very first time with nothing but your wisdom to guide them.  A group who would listen to and follow your every word as law for the whole of their lives and to the absolute best of their ability.

But you could only say two words to them.  That’s all.

What would you say?

It would seem that you’d have a responsibility to find the truest and most useful two word sentence possible.  A responsibility to find the that idea that would do the greatest good and the least possible harm in the world.

And you would have to be certain that whatever you said could act as a reliable guide in most all situations; whilst also being something that was clear enough to adequately resist misinterpretation by any self-interested parties seeking to twist dogma in order to further their own ends.

So what would you say?

I would say:

Be Kind.

Because: this is the truest, simplest, and most important idea that I know of.

Because: these two little words are a compass that unfailingly points north.  A compass that can act as a guide in almost any situation that you find yourself.

Because: within these two words, is contained a whole philosophy of life.

As human beings we can frequently become overwhelmed by the tides of circumstance.  It is all-too-easy to slip down the slope into mindless reaction as we scramble just to keep ourselves afloat.  Time is short and our attention finite; we simply do not have the bandwidth to think through each particular situation as it occurs.  Which is why, as a species, we have a genuine need for clear, simple, and true guiding principles.

The best ideas offer solid ground to stand on while the earth is shaking; they are guiding lights in the darkest tunnels; they offer an unmatched refuge from the chaos of the ever-raging storm.

In the times when I find myself in real trouble, lost in the woods and completely unsure of what to do or which path to take, I turn to a set of fundamental principles to help guide my actions and my choices.

This is one of them.


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95 Comments

  1. Hi James..very eloquently written and so true. Be Kind would be the best idea. Ellen always ends her tv show by saying Be kind to yourself and each other. Yesterday I went through the drive through at Dunkin Donuts and the speaker was so bad it irritated me. When I got to the window I said the speaker is bad. They guy at the window said, well up here we have food and coffee and smiles, so the speaker doesn’t seem so bad now does it? He said it’s a beautiful day, which it was. He made me laugh and he made my day, so I went inside the store and told him he made my day and I really needed that, and I gave him my number;-) which he used right away!

  2. I was under the rule of cruel people too many times. Your 2 words are the best next to mine which are encourage others. I do this maybe because I did not have it in my life until recently. Be kind. You were by posting this

  3. Before I saw your two words I was thinking “Love everyone”. I’m glad we were pretty much on the same page. This is a great post.

    Thanks for liking my post.

  4. So glad I found you site today. I love this post and agree that Be Kind is a wonderful focus for life. Just the other night I was having dinner with old friends who have very different political views from me. One man started talking politics and he was getting angry saying something had to be done to fix things. And I said, “Be kind.” That stopped him in his tracks. I noted how his wife is kind when she works with her elderly clients. I said we could change things if we each would be kind right here right now. We avoided an unnecessary argument. That’s when I realized that kindness can be a great way to support my political views. Just glad to find your site and be reminded once again to be kind.

    1. Hey there.
      First, thankyou sincerely for this – it really touched me and I am glad to meet you. I love the little story you have told here.
      The best thing about the Be Kind campaign was that it connected me with so many like-minded people. People such as yourself. I am most thankful for this.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment, hope you are well,
      – J
      P.S. – Apologies for the lateness of my reply, I have been away for a while in a place with no internet.

  5. Yes & yes & yes. I think when there is nothing left to give, all we have is the love we have held all these years, close to our chests, guarded and stored away. And kindness, of course, is giving away that love, even when it hurts, even when we need it, because there is always someone who will need it more. Perhaps that is the only way we gain more of it. There is love & there is giving it away, and that is kindness. That is the only thing we have in this universe, I think.

    1. I love this comment. But then again, that is no surprise, when I look to see who had written it.
      I thought of you this morning for some reason, and realised that we had not spoken in a while. I am sure it is my turn, and therefore my fault, but you should know that I will write to you soon.
      I agree with you. Of course 😉
      I hope you are having a beautiful day,
      – J
      P.S. Oh! I have some questions for you 😉 I will include them in my email if that is OK.

      1. It is always a wonder to hear from you, my friend, but I know too many of your waking hours are spent creating magic – and so, please do take your time. I will be happy to answer whatever questions you have, and hope that the universe has been treating you kindly since we last spoke. ❤

  6. It is a good thought that words are important. The most relevant words ever spoken, that effected the existence of man beyond all others were, “And God said, let there be …and there was…” Words belong to God, we only use them and hopefully to His glory. The 2 words that I would use would have to be Jesus saves. It is not a complete thought, but it is a good one.

    1. Words are, as you have said, very important.
      I should clarify tho that, in my example, the people you are speaking to have no knowledge of world religions, so to say ‘Jesus Saves’, while it would make sense here, would not be understood in the example.
      You are obviously a Christian, so maybe a better question for you would be: ‘What do you think Jesus would have said, had he only 2 words?’
      Have a great day,
      – J

  7. “Be kind” was my mother’s favorite mantra to us when she felt we were falling short in the humanitarian department. Love this. And no, I don’t have two words! I was going to say Love each other–but that’s cheating:).

  8. Reblogged this and commented:
    After much thought I have settled on my two words. I don’t know of anything more fulfilling in a persons life than if we all would learn to “Trust Jesus”.

  9. While reading this article, I was having flashbacks of times when I’ve done good things for others, especially strangers and my heart skipped a beat. It feels good to know there are still people out there who are kind to others. This is what we need, what the world needs, and no matter what the situation, a little bit of kindness can make a difference to you, to me, to anyone. It can go a long way. You are an amazing creature James! Thank you for your words, for you love, for your kindness. It means the world !!

    1. Yes, yes, yes and Yes!
      Thankyou so much for this.
      Running the #BeKind T-Shirt campaign has been amazing. People are buying the shirts and writing to me everyday about #BeKind. I am loving it.
      I could not agree with you more.
      Thankyou for writing to me, and for getting a shirt if you have. You are awesome xx

  10. When you asked for two words, I was thinking of, “Let’s Love”, and “Be Kind” just speaks different language of the same meaning. Love your idea. I hope it can influences more people. The world needs more kindness.

    1. It really does.
      It seems to be going well, the reaction has been very cool. I keep getting messages from people who have ordered Shirts – gives me hope.
      Hope you are doing well, thanks for taking the time to write, glad you liked it.
      – J
      PS – I like your two words too. 😉

  11. Really appreciated this, both the suspense of not knowing and your choice. (I was going to say “Be yourself,” but it can take a lifetime to know yourself, and “Be kind” is certainly more simple and predictably helpful. 🙂 Speaking of which, belated thanks for the coffee post, which could certainly be considered a kindness. I followed your advice and love my hand-ground coffee, as well as the little grinder itself. Bravo!

  12. Hey, it’s so nice to read your words again here and on such a beautiful topic – each post or comment that I read by you leaves me with that world-shifting word, kindness, always. I wanted to thank you as well for all the inspiring words and pictures that you post on IG, you inspired me to start writing poetry again and I took a risk and posted one on my blog! I hope this note finds you well and I’m wishing you all the best for, “be kind” and your new music to come, Kim (Stirling).

    1. Hey there!
      Really nice to hear from you. Thankyou so much for this, I am going to have to say that it is you who are the kind one – your comments never fail to brighten my day.
      This is great news. I like it (Prophecy, right? 😉
      Keep it up, and thankyou. Very much Thankyou.
      – J
      (Edinburgh)

      1. I’m smiling, firstly, because you took the time to check out my poem and secondly, dear James (Edinburgh) because I wasn’t sure if you would be able to hear my voice through my words – in the recent past having left comments here and on IG under my own name, Kimberlee Stirling and now I’m leaving the same under my blog name, with so many of us writing you, I did not know if you would catch on to the switch! I have a second poem in the works now, it seems that once one starts, it’s hard to stop! It’s a beautiful August 1st here in Vancouver and I’ve just come in from another morning walk through the park’s lovely gardens. I hope this finds you well!

              1. I’m just dropping in to wish you well as your ” be kind” T-Shirt campaign winds down. I hope one day to see someone wearing one, I know it will make me smile! The sun is setting earlier now and it’s getting dark as I type out these words, have yourself a great night!

                  1. Yes, I had a great night and now I’m catching up on e-mail, etc. Regarding IG, I set up my account via my laptop, I do not have a phone and if it was you that DM’d me, I’m sorry I could not read or respond to it! Otherwise, the day has started out well, the sun is shining and I’m off to have lunch with a dear friend at the very cool Park Royal Mall in West Van! Take care!

                    1. It totally was me, how did you know? 😉
                      I am really glad your day has been good. The sun is shining here and I am just back from my run.
                      Big hug, big love,
                      – J

                    2. I am back as well after a delicious lunch and a walk down to the ocean is in the works for this afternoon. Glad to hear that you have sunshine, too and I hope you had a great run. Until next time…

  13. Very well written. Love the post!! I really had to sit here for a min and think about what two words could make or break my whole group and could possible affect the way they go about doing things. In this day and age, a simply idea like be kind can really be implemented worldwide. I think it’s a wonderful idea to put it on t-shirt to spread the word globally.

  14. Hope the design works.
    Clear and simple.
    Echoes for me things my Mum always said “If you cannot say anything nice – do not say anything at all” and the Dalai Lama’s oft quoted
    #1 “My true religion is Kindness.”
    Kindness, Clarity, and Insight (1984)
    #2 Variant: My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
    As quoted in Tibet, a Guide to the Land of Fascination (1988) by Trilok Chandra Majupuria and Indra Majupuria.

  15. Love that, James. Yes, Be Kind are the two key words for humanity. They are tantamount to the word Love as understood in its widest context. Your T- shirt is great. Also love your lines on ideas as “They are guiding lights in the darkest tunnels” that an idea can “spread like a positive virus from mind to mind until it blossoms from inspiration into a myriad of real actions.” And these lines here are real poetry to me, so touching, what a lovely metaphor: “(Ideas are) slow ripples that flow outward from a pebble dropped into still water, multiplying.”

    1. I really liked that line too, I played with taking it out, but just couldn’t bring myself to.
      Thankyou so much, I really, really appreciate your words and could not agree with you more.
      Have a great night, write anytime,
      – J

      1. Thank you James. This post of yours is very serendipitious to the subject of my August newsletter, the theme of which is ‘Let’s make it better’. I’ve added a link to your post in it. Fits so well 🙂

  16. Be kind: an idea so simple yet so powerful. Thanks, James!

    Yesterday, while I waited at the ice-cream counter at our local Rite Aid drug store in West Los Angeles, I experienced the power of being kind to a stranger. The stranger was a white woman, probably ten years younger than I am. I’m a brown-skin immigrant with a Belize accent (so I’ve been told). During our fifteen or so minutes of sharing what ice cream has meant in our lives growing up, we bonded in such an unexpected way that the black man who joined us thought that we were friends.

    Considering the racist/ethnic divisive rhetoric during our 2016 US presidential elections campaign, I found those moments of three people – white, brown, and black – waiting in line at an ice-cream counter very cathartic.

    1. I LOVE this story.

      MORE THINGS LIKE THIS 😉

      Thankyou so much for sharing your experience, and for reading the article it truly made me happy, and I couldn’t agree more with you.
      I really believe we can make things better and this gives me hope.
      I hope you have a great night, thanks again,
      – J

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