Following their infamous "40 Days of Dating" experiment, New York designers Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman have designed a new experiment that they hope will be a lesson in kindness. The social experiment, called 12 Kinds of Kindness, will document their year-long resolution to become kinder, more empathetic people by following a series of self-prescribed steps, says Fast Company assistant editor Meg Miller.
Each month, the two will tackle a new personal challenge that will change their behavior and lead them to be more empathetic to those around them.
Walsh and Goodman describe themselves as "self-obsessed millennials" and see the project as a way to become more self-aware in an effort to be more empathetic toward others. Though some might see irony in solving that problem with such a public display of introspection, Walsh and Goodman say they also have plans to expand the project to make it more participatory, to be revealed as the project rolls out. "It's sort of a modern day, non-religious way that any one can attempt to examine their lives and apathy and attempt to become kinder," says Goodman. As with any good first-person story, the idea is to use the personal to resonate with people universally.
While some may call the project extreme, aspects of the experiment can teach everyday readers about learning to be empathetic. For managers leading a team in the workplace, a lesson in empathy could create better relationships with staff members and foster more understanding and stronger leaders.