By Alan Cohen


Are you wondering what company to work for? Who to hire to improve your house? Who to marry? Which friends to associate with? Which product to buy? Every day we have to make decisions about who we will work, play, and connect with, and which people and organizations we will support.

Dee and I have recently discovered an impeccable way to make such choices. We are very attracted to work with people who have a good heart.

We were trying to decide which contractor to choose to do some remodeling on our house. After we interviewed several contractors, we looked up their reviews on Yelp. One contractor had a review by a fellow who had hired the contractor while he was dealing with cancer. The contractor had built him a new deck, and then didn’t charge him a penny because the homeowner was going through a rough time. We knew this was a sign to hire this contractor, because that kind of caring energy is the kind we want in our home.

While I was trying out a new dentist, the hygienist and I got to talking about dogs (a subject I get to with just about everyone). She told me that she and her husband have an older dog who was traumatized by the intense construction going on around their house for a long time. They decided to break their lease and move to a quieter town. “Breaking the lease cost us $10,000, but now our dog is much happier and healthier, so it was worth it.” I took this act of kindness as an indication of the quality of the dental practice, for a dentist to have such a kind person on his staff.

We found a dog groomer who left the shop she was working at because her values didn’t match the owner’s. She took a leap of faith to establish her own grooming business out of her house. When we went to drop off our dogs for grooming, we found that she is a single woman who takes in lots of rescues, rehabilitates them, and finds them good homes, all at her own expense. We knew this is the groomer for us and we are happy to support her new business.

In his classic book The Little Prince, Antoine de St. Exupéry said,


“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 


We are living at a time when lots of things are changing, we have huge new choices to make, many people are steeped in fear, and our path can be confusing. At such a time we need to find a way to make healthy choices that will serve us and the people we touch. This is a powerful opportunity to practice choosing from the heart rather than the head.

I often quote Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel, who said, “When I was young I admired clever people. Now that I am old I admire kind people.” If you are going to choose someone to hire, a company to work with, a friend, or a relationship partner, you will do well to put kindness at the top of your priority list. If you are going to support someone, support someone who is bringing light and healing to the world by their loving attitude.

The world needs miracle workers. Anyone who chooses compassion over judgment is performing a miracle. May we make that noble choice.

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