Do you believe kindness can change not just the world around you, but you yourself? Build on what started in her youth and then as a teacher today’s guest is helping all of us create a better world with kindness.
Learn more about Orly and her work at Life Vest Inside.
Orly is the founder of the global non-profit, Life Vest Inside, a kindness expert, educator, best-selling author, entrepreneur, and keynote speaker who inspires audiences to take action. Her talks and workshops provide the groundwork for lasting change and motivate people to become the best version of themselves so that they can influence the world for good. Drawing from her personal journey, groundbreaking science, and her signature wit, Orly inspires people to tap into the power of kindness—the most underutilized skill in today’s world. Through her talk, Orly demonstrates how kindness and a simple shift in perspective can alter the way a person connects with themselves and the world around them.
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Kindness Boomerang – Making the World Around You Better in 365 Days
Tim Kubiak 0:02
jus believe kindness can change not just the world around you, but you yourself. Today we’re with Orly Wahba. And we’re going to talk about how kindness in 365 days of kindness can change the world around you and how you view yourself. Thanks for listening. As always, I’m Tim Kubiak. I’m your host of bow ties in business. If you haven’t already done so please hit subscribe. You can find us on our socials at bow ties in business on Facebook and Instagram bow ties and B I see on Twitter and me at Tim Kubiak just about everywhere. And if you’re in sales, we do have a new Facebook group. So just drop a comment and I’ll get you an invite to it early. Thanks for being here. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started with your work.
Orly Wahba 0:46
First of all, Tim, thanks so much for having me. I’m really honored to be here. So to answer your question, actually, I got started, I started my organization, my nonprofit back in 2011. But I was prior to that I was a middle school teacher for seven incredible, life changing years really the concepts of kindness, compassion, empathy. These were things I was implementing into my classroom on a daily basis. And I saw the impact that it had in my students. And it was actually my students who basically encouraged me to take that leap of faith to leave my job. It was supposed to be just for a year, I was taking this one year leap of faith to see what would happen if I put my all into a dream I had ever since I was a little kid wasn’t a dream of starting a nonprofit per se. But it was a dream of really unifying people around the world through the power of kindness and empowering people to understand just how incredible they are that we are all like another piece of the puzzle. And so I took off for that year, took a film I had a I created a film, I have a background in film production. I created this film called kindness boomerang. And it shows it’s all based on real life experiences. I personally went through like these little moments that left an impression on my life. And it’s a five minute music video following an act of kindness as it goes down the street and then it boomerangs back to the person who set it into motion. I put this film up online had no idea how who were how it would reach people I was a teacher had no background in business or marketing. And the film just went crazy viral within the first couple of months, this point is reached well over hundreds of millions of people around the world. And it’s inspired where I’ve come to call the kindness revolution. And it’s been an incredible, incredible journey. It’s incredible to see how one thing that you put out there in the world. And when it’s coming from a very authentic place of wanting to do good, how many people’s lives it can touch and it can reach. So it’s it’s been very exciting. But my backstory, like I said really started ever since I was a little kid, this little four year old Orly dreamer that dream of changing the world and people looking at me like I was absolutely crazy. And a lot of my, my own personal experiences from my adolescent years, brought me to the place where I am today.
Tim Kubiak 3:01
So you started early, right? And you’ve always had the vision. What was it about working with essentially middle school children who can be some cruelest creatures on earth really, each other that led you to really drive towards your message of kindness?
Orly Wahba 3:20
I’ll tell you, it’s funny. Whenever I tell people that I was teaching Middle School, they’ll say the same thing that you just said. Meanwhile, I love that age. I think it’s such an important age. Because you’re really trying to figure out who you are and where you’re going. It’s a very impressionable age. And I The reason why I actually went into teaching sort of starts from when I myself was personally in middle school, I went through a very, very difficult time in my middle school years. I mean, middle school is hard for a lot of people for various reasons. But my seventh grade year in specific in particular, I remember walking into school, the first day of my seventh grade year, I had a really great or at what I thought was a great group of friends in my sixth grade year came in first day. And it was like everyone with a snap of a finger just completely turned on me. My friends, like oh, no, you can’t sit here with us at lunch. You know, you call people up to make plans. Everybody tells you they have other plans in the finding if they’re all hanging out together and just laughing at you behind your back. It was a very, very, very difficult time in my life. I was in the nurse’s office almost every day just wanting to go home, I felt extremely out of place that I didn’t belong. And those feelings of insecurity. They followed me into high school. Now High School is a tough time as it is, you know, you’re trying to figure out who you are. Amidst everybody telling you who you should be. And I was a very shy person. I would not be speaking on a podcast. I wouldn’t be speaking in front of anybody. I wouldn’t even raise my hand in class. Okay, I was a super super shy kid, but I always loved people. So you know whether I knew you whether we hung in the same crew or not. You know, I was that kid that if you were absent from school, I would take notes for you and bring it to the next day. And there I was insecure, you know, teenager heading into high school. And in my sophomore year, probably one of the greatest life changing moments happened for me. Now, I have to say was a blessing in disguise. Probably the greatest thing that could have happened to me without it, I don’t think I would be who I am today. But at the time, it didn’t feel that way. Well as the as they say, hindsight is 2020. And in the very beginning of my sophomore year, we had a fire in my house. And overnight, my family lost everything. We were okay, physically, I’m one of five kids. So we were physically okay. But it does something to you, when you’re home, you know, that place that you run to when the world outside seems to be going crazy. When your home goes on fire, that safety zone is taken away. It does something to you, I can’t explain it. It wasn’t just the fire, it was one of those years, which is not so hard for us to imagine if to come up with a 2020 year, you know, one of those years where you know, everything that could go wrong went wrong. And when you say Wow, I can’t get worse than this, you know, I mean, it’s it’s been really bad, it can’t get worse. It gets worse, my dad lost his business. And one thing after the next continue to snowball out of control, I have to tell you that it was six years, until I lived under the same roof with my family, we were moving around for six years. I didn’t know at the time, I only found out years later that there were days where my father didn’t have his gonna put food on the table. Things were that bad. But that first year, that first year was the absolute hardest hit, I’ve seen your parents break down. Senior parents cried does something to you. And so the last thing I want it to be is to be a burden on them. So I kept my emotions hidden from them, my friends who are going through their own stuff, I mean, they’re 15, you know, and so I kept my emotions hidden from them. But you can’t do that for very, very long. Until one day I went to bed. And I sort of just didn’t wake up the next day, I fell into a state of really, really dark depression. And when I say dark, I mean, suicidal, dark. I was angry at the whole entire world, my family, my friends, and myself. And God, I was just I was angry, I was so angry. And I felt more alone than I ever felt in my life. And I didn’t know how the pain would end. But it wasn’t just the fire. It wasn’t all of these other crazy things. You know, I was home from school for several months, for several months. And during that time, not one person called not one friend came to stop by and see if I was okay. And that made me feel like well, if I wasn’t here tomorrow, would it make a difference to anyone? I mean, when it really mattered to the world? And it felt like the answer was no. It felt like it didn’t didn’t make a difference.
And that made me feel lonelier than ever. And after being home, crying most of the day sleeping the rest of the day after being home for several months, I was forced to go back to school. But I wasn’t the same kid I was completely shut out from everyone. I didn’t care about anything. I let my grades fall I let myself fall, I didn’t care. I just didn’t care. And one morning as I was getting ready to go to school and never forget this, I was in the bathroom and I was washing up. And I was looking at myself in the mirror. And the scariest thing happened. I didn’t see me. I didn’t see that four year old Orly, that kid that dream of changing the world looking back at me it was like she was gone like someone took her. And to be honest, that scared me more than anything. I had no idea how I was going to get back to who I am. But I knew that this couldn’t be my end that I made a promise to myself that 15 that morning in the bathroom was a promise that guided me to my years teaching, to choose to be a teacher for middle school, a promise that guided me to starting my nonprofit. And it’s a promise that wakes me up every morning to be honest, and that’s gonna guide me to whatever’s next in my life that I don’t even know about yet. was a promise to be there for people the way I wish somebody would have been there for me. And to see people the way I just wish somebody would have seen me because in their world, that’s really all we crave. It’s all we want. We want to be able to feel seen to feel heard, like we make a difference like we matter. And those next couple of years of high school. I was sort of walking alone, which is not easy to do. walking alone High School not having that crew at support. But it also gave me the greatest opportunity in the world. It gave me the chance to fall in love with me for me. I got a chance to see myself I wasn’t about impressing that person or the other or you know, getting into that group of friends. I got a chance to actually fall in love with me for me and when What I found is I found my voice. And in my senior year, when we were on a seminar, and we were sitting in a circle, and the teacher in the middle of the circle was talking about obstacles, I did something that I never did before, because I finally had the courage to, I raised my hand, and I had something to contribute. The teacher was talking about obstacles. And then I shared, I shared a piece of my own self. And the craziest thing is that these kids that I used to be so super intimidated from, were listening to me, and then coming to me afterwards and asking me for advice. And what I found is that the more I gave, the more I healed. The more I gave, the more healed I became obsessed in love with this concept, and this idea of giving. And it was those moments, it was that experience that led me to be a teacher, for me, I didn’t want any student to feel the way I felt that nobody should fall through the cracks. And that’s why I made that choice, that life choice.
Tim Kubiak 10:59
It’s amazing how you found your voice at an age 20 years in advance of most people really finding their own voice.
Orly Wahba 11:10
And the truth is, I think it’s due to the hardships, you know, you they say, think about it like this way I always look at it is that our lowest points in our life, are also our opportunity of our highest potential when we are at our lowest, we are also at our highest potential to tap into something within ourselves that we may have never been able to tap into had we not been pushed. For me it happened at an early age in life, thankfully. So for others, some some people doesn’t even happen to for in their in their own life. But the hardships that we go through I mean, we all go through hardships. And oftentimes we’ll notice when we look at the different hardships that we’ve experienced, is that they did push us to a place that nobody would have judged me had I gone a completely different direction. Because a lot of people that are in such a place of despair, can turn to other things to fill the void can turn to other substances, whether it whether it be drugs, or whether it be violence, whether it be whatever may be to fill this specific void. And for me, I found I found kindness as being the greatest thing to empower me to understand my value. Now, I had always been a giver, it wasn’t like oh, I decided to be kind. I was I was this was very much a part of me since I was a kid. But what I learned, and this, to me is really important. What I learned in my senior year, and that moment, where I started giving and healing is that there are two types of giving in this world. Two, one is really, really positive. The other was really dangerous, really dangerous. That says it sounds crazy, how could giving be dangerous, but the way I see it is there’s giving from strength and there’s giving from weakness giving from strength comes from recognizing your own inherent value, you have value simply because you have a life in you that there is purpose for you. When you come to understand your value. Number one, you also start to see the value in others, you are looking at others based on these external numbers, how many social media following they have how much money they have, you get to see that each person is value is a piece of the puzzle. When you’re giving from a place of abundance, it’s coming from a very positive place, you understand your value, therefore you can give and you never feel depleted. It’s like a candle. Right? It can like many other candles, it can create flames and sparks a little place but it continues to retain its flame that’s giving from strength. Giving from weakness leaves you feeling depleted, it feels like sacrifice. It feels and some people give from weakness, it doesn’t mean that they’re giving is fake. Sometimes it’s out of guilt. Sometimes it’s to impress somebody, only we know where our giving is coming from. But if we give from weakness, if giving ever leaves you feeling like a sacrifice, like you’re depleted, I always say stop giving, stop giving right away, outward and start giving inward. Because sometimes we give in order to be validated in a sense by others. But the thing is the only person that can truly validate you as you happiness can only come from within, if it’s going to if you’re always going to constantly look for happiness to come from without, from people validating you, the minute that that validation ends, your happiness goes out the window with it. That’s not okay. Your only true sense of happiness has to come from you. And to recognize that just because you’re here, you don’t have to be the smartest of the wealthiest or the fastest, or the coolest to make a difference. You actually you just need to be you and you make a difference. And kindness is the greatest tool to empower us because when we’re engaged in the act of giving, right don’t we feel awesome like what do you Do you feel like when you’re doing something good for somebody, you feel like supercharged, it’s true. In
Unknown Speaker 15:06
my whole business around that same idea,
Orly Wahba 15:08
there you go, you catch a glimpse of your own potential, and you’re being validated for what’s right. And suddenly, you come to recognize your value. And then suddenly, when you look at others, you start to see the value in everyone else. And that’s how we increase kindness in the world, simply actually starts with us starts with loving the person looking at you in the mirror, which is not easy to do, especially for so many of us that are very self critical.
Tim Kubiak 15:34
Yeah, yeah, it’s, it’s an interesting, I have two adult daughters, and watching that middle school transition and watching their own internal narratives evolve and change, as they aged into adulthood, was watching them lose who they were, and find who they were, again, very much,
Orly Wahba 15:53
you set it exactly right. Sometimes we need to lose who we are. So that we can find ourselves because we can’t be told by others who we are, we have to go through those moments where, in a sense, we’re alone. Now, I’m sure as a parent, I’m not a parent, yet, I cannot wait to have kids, but I’m sure as a parent, seeing your daughter, right going through that. And you know, she’s struggling, it must have been the hardest thing to watch. You know, but at the same time, you can’t you have to allow each person has to be allowed to go through to go through those emotions to go through that process. Like, you know, the story of the caterpillar at the famous story, the caterpillar with the young boy, and he sees the caterpillar, the butterflies trying to break out of the cocoon. And he says I’m going to help it, you know, it’s struggling to get out of its cocoon, it’s struggling. And so he starts to help, you know, the caterpillar take off its appeal, so that it can emerge as a butterfly. And it comes out and flaps its wings a couple times and falls down to the ground, and it dies. The concept is, is that that motion of coming out of the cocoon, even though it hurts, it’s so painful, it’s so hard, it’s actually needed, because it is engaging our muscles so that we can become strong so that when we emerge, we have the ability to fly out on our own. But it’s never easy seeing somebody go through the process. It’s extremely important those moments, those hardships are, what the finest they are what gives us our voice and that they are what bring our character.
Tim Kubiak 17:23
And the ability to define yourself is important, I would think, right? Don’t let other people tell you who you are
Orly Wahba 17:32
100%. You know, we we tend to, especially in today’s world, you know, we’re living in a digital world. Now I’m not bashing digital media, because without it You and I wouldn’t be connecting right now. Absolutely awesome. But at the same time, we are living in this world where we’re constantly comparing ourselves with others, it’s so easy to do it, we pick up our phone, we go on to Instagram, or Facebook or whatever it is. And suddenly we see this facade of a world that other people have created. And we ask, why not me? Or maybe we just started a business. And we start looking at people that are in the same industry like Oh, how come there’s so much more successful? How come I’m trying, I’m trying for years and years, and I’m not there. And we continuously compare ourselves with others. And we allow this gap of where we are to where we want to be that this may be so big, we allow it to crush us. And that paralyzes us and actually stops us from actually achieving anything, when really what we need to do is to look at our own suitcase, because we have a journey that we’re headed on. And our suitcase was individualized packed for us with what we need to get to where our mission. But if we’re going to continue to look in other people’s suitcase Oh, what is he got? How come I don’t got that Heck, come on what that thing I want. And we always constantly are our, you know, wanting to have what other people have in their suitcase, we forget to look at our own, we forget to look at the skills, the resources, the talents that we inherently have, and how we can utilize them to get to our destination. Because each and every one of our destinations are different. No matter what I try and do my life I can be up 24 hours a day, seven days a week work like a dog. But I’m not going to I’m not going to be Tim I just won’t be you. I’m not going to be able to do what you’re meant to do. Because we each are another piece of the puzzle, different shapes, different colors, but every piece the same size every piece mattering in the same exact way as the other pieces.
Unknown Speaker 19:31
Let’s talk about life vest inside where’d they come from.
Orly Wahba 19:34
So life vest inside the organization itself started in 2011. But I have to tell you life vest inside the name actually begin came about in 2009. And now I had no clue that this was going to turn into an organization. It was a story that I told to my students, and I’ll never forget the first time I told it to them. It was January of 2009 and I was going away with my family on winter vacation. We we had a stopover. And so as we were switching plans, I was listening to my voice messages. And I got a message from somebody my community at the time there was a young girl, six year old girl who was diagnosed with leukemia, my community. Now we have a very large community very, very close knit communities. Everybody knew what was going on, everybody was praying for her sending positive thoughts, and so on and so forth. And I’m listening to the voice message. And I hear that the six year old girl just passed away. And I was completely devastated. I was floored. But the first thing I thought about was my seventh grade students back at home. You see, right before winter vacation, they started opening up to me about something for the first time they lost a friend of theirs to the same illness three years prior when they were just in fourth grade, and losing a friend in your fourth grade.
And they started opening up to me about and asking difficult questions. Why do bad things happen to good people? You know, why does God do certain things? Why did these things happen in this world? And they just started to be able to get through to them to provide them just a bit of comfort. I said to myself, What am I going to do when I get back home? I know that they’re going to hear about this, we’re from the same community. How am I going to be able to explain yet again, has something so devastating and tragic happen? How, how am I gonna be able to do that? And I get onto the plane, and I had tears in my eyes. And as I sit down the stewardess put me to see that wasn’t supposed to be in. But I’m very, very big believer that everything happens for a reason. And so I’m sitting down in this chair, and I’m just asking, why. How do we find order in this chaotic world, please? How? How do we stay afloat? In a world that’s always pulling us downward? And as I look to my left on the wall of the plane was a small sign that had on it three words. That would change the course of my entire life. And it said on it life vest inside it pretty crazy. Okay, it says life vest inside on a plane, okay. The message I took, you know, what is a life vest, no matter how much you push down on it, it pops back up. So the message I took was orderly your life vest, your ability, you’re asking How do you stay afloat in a world that sometimes sometimes seems to be pulling us downward? Your greatest life vest is inside of you. It’s inside all of us. It’s through the kindness that we give the kindness that we bestow on others and the kindness that others bestow on us that we keep each other afloat in a world that sometimes seems to be pulling us downward. Because we’re not going to be able to prevent the obstacles and the mishaps from coming, they’re going to come. But what we have the power to do, what’s in our ability to do is to throw somebody a lifeline of kindness, that even though they’re surrounded by these raging waters, they’re surrounded by their troubles. something as small as a little life vest can be the difference between life and death, can give them the hope to know what’s going to be okay. But it’s interesting if you think about a life vest. What’s the difference between a life vest that will allow you to stay afloat and one that will allow you to drowned, there’s only one thing that’s a difference. And it’s air. When you blow into a life vest, you fill it up with this air, and the stronger it becomes, you now can be a float and now you have the ability to lift others up. That’s why when you’re in a plane, what do they say in case of an emergency? What do you do? You put on your life vest first, then you help the guy next to you it’s not unkind. It’s a complete understanding of what kindness is. If you are going to drowned, if you don’t love you, if you don’t understand your value, if you are not a float, if you don’t have that strength, you’re not gonna be able to lift others up. But what is the greatest way to lift somebody up? What is the air that we put into our vest? Where does air come from? comes from our mouth. It comes from our essence, right? We blowing our air supply. We have two eyes. We got two ears, two hands, two nostrils, we got one mouth. Why? Because this is an instrument. It is the greatest gift that we are given it is our greatest tool. It’s our ability to communicate thoughts, ideas, to move things, to combine both the mind and the heart together to express in a clear way something that you feel to lift someone up or to tear them down, can come from this one place. And we have a choice every day. How are we going to use this air this essence that’s within us? What are we going to blow into others? Are we going to blow words of kindness or we may fill them up, lift them up, bring life to them? Or are we going to tear them down? We have to realize that we’ve been gifted with this One gift with this one vessel, because if we are going to make holes in that vessel with the negative speaking and hurting of others, then it’s going to be a tainted vessel, it’s not gonna be able to hold anything, even the good that we want to bring into the world, it’s not gonna hold. So we have to protect it. And that’s the greatest way to lift somebody to speak words to, to lift them up with your, with your caring and with your concern. And that’s how we keep this world afloat. Our life vest is right there inside of us, we just have to reach it, we have to recognize it, see it within ourselves, and then we can easily see it within others.
Tim Kubiak 25:37
I think that’s one of the points that I always try to remember is, you don’t know where somebody else really is what’s really going on, right? And you have a choice. Do you make it better? You make it worse?
Orly Wahba 25:50
You know, I have to tell you what you just said choices is my favorite word. You know, the film kindness boomerang. The short film I told you about that went viral that reached hundreds of millions of people five minute music video. I always show it to people. And I asked them a question, how would you define this, and lots of people sell kindness, empowerment, inspiring Nonono, there’s only one word to define it, and you just set it. It’s choices. Every person in this film made a choice. We every day of our lives, we make choices, we can choose to see people and to engage. Or we can choose to turn a blind eye to make like as though we’re not there, we have the choice. And it’s a choice we’re given every day. And regardless of the mistakes that we make yesterday and the day before or even today, we wake up the next morning, with a blank canvas in front of us with all these paints, and guess what we are the painter of our world, we get to determine to choose what that picture is going to look like. And maybe you’re not going to like how it looks that one day. But the greatest thing is that you have another picture to paint tomorrow. Sometimes we could be our own worst enemy, by preventing ourselves from making progress. Because we’re hard on ourselves, we sometimes define ourselves by our mistakes, which is not true. We all make mistakes. If we’re going to define ourselves by our mistakes, we’re never going to be able to overcome those mistakes, it’s going to seem too large. So it’s very important to separate the two and to recognize that the greatest thing that you have in your life is the ability to choose because the choices that you make today don’t only impact the life that you lead. They don’t only dictate your life, they impact the lives of those who choose to follow you. And so that’s a responsibility. And what will we choose? When we can recognize that we matter? Suddenly, our choices matter? And suddenly we’re making better choices?
Tim Kubiak 27:45
I want to come back, you talked about social media and curated lives, right? Yeah. And how have you seen that change? The folks you work with in the past, say five years,
Orly Wahba 27:59
in terms of how social media has impacted us? Yeah. Well, again, there is no one thing that is absolute good, or absolute evil, you know what I’m saying? I mean, there’s always a middle, everything in life is a balance. So I do believe that social media has a tremendous positive value if it’s used properly, because we now have the ability to connect with people in such a rapid speed to learn about people of different backgrounds and cultures and races and religions to try and see well, you know, we have a lot of commonality, yes, we’re all different. And yes, we’re supposed to be different. That’s why we all have a different fingerprint. We each leave our mark in this world in a different way. But there’s so much more that connects us. So in that sense, social media has been has been incredible. In that regard. I’ve seen it in terms of just how I personally am using it with I started with the short film, I had no funding, I had no knowledge of how to start there. So how to, you know, get this out there to places around the world. But because of social media, I had an idea for example, one of the first events that I ever created, and one of the first initiatives I created within the entity bigger initiatives is called dance for kindness is a global flashmob, a global kindness flash mob that takes place. At this point. It’s been well over 65 countries throughout the world. And each year takes place in a minimum of 120 cities. And it’s completely volunteer run. And it’s started because of the power of social media. I had an idea to create this event to celebrate world kindness day in bring awareness to world kindness day which is on November 13. And I put a post on social media. And I said guys who wants to do this with me. And these 30 brave souls said me and in their first year and I met with every one of them, and I trained each of them what to do and how to do it. In our first year. We had the event in 15 countries on the same exact day. And these were not fans, these became friends. You know when I first saw started the entity, I didn’t have a website, I had no plan I didn’t, I was planning to use that first year to build the foundations of my entity. And this film that I put up just on our YouTube channel that had no subscribers at all, suddenly went viral. And I was thrown into this craziness, all I had was my YouTube channel. And all I would do for about 20 hours of the day, no joke is respond to comments. That’s it. And connecting with people and building these relationships. And, and even in a sense, there were sometimes these fights that would break out and I would come in, I would mediate, it was really amazing. So these are the power, the positive benefits, you know, of social media. But in terms of in terms of the negative, again, it’s very, very similar to what I said earlier. People can oftentimes compare themselves with others, they can oftentimes social media, if you’re on it for too long, and I don’t, I don’t I mean, I’m not I’m not a big recommender of that. It can make you feel like your life doesn’t matter. Or you can feel you could come to feel insignificant bias by trying to live in another person’s life. At the end of the day, it’s not about watching life, it’s about living in life, living in the moments, where I think that it’s been a detriment, especially with youth. And it’s you know, is the fact that there’s been a lack of communication skills, people have lost the ability to know how to communicate, this has happened even with some adults who were around even way before this device existed. But with kids, you could be in a room. And there are a bunch of kids there, but they’re all on their cell phones, they feel so much more comfortable connecting via sending a message than having to actually communicate in real time, it becomes a source of a tremendous amount of anxiety. And I think that we’re losing something very essential, which is the ability to communicate, and also the ability to have dialogue. Dialogue comes from hearing different sides of something. Suddenly, in the world of social media, I found that if you don’t like an opinion, you just okay, unfriend you, you know, you just completely push it to the side, which I don’t think is that that is not going to help us grow as a world. We need to hear differing thoughts and opinions and ideologies. And that’s okay. Because no one is the same. And I feel that even people have misused the word kindness. And it’s been very sad to see it happen little by little over the years. I noticed this happening years ago, I was hoping it wasn’t going to go in the direction it was going, but it definitely did. Because kindness has been used as a potentially been, you’d be used by people that don’t necessarily have the best,
you know, the best thoughts in mind for society in a manipulative kind of way. I know that sounds really crazy, but if people are going to become so super inclusive, that they become exclusive. That’s not that’s not necessarily a good thing. And what I mean by that is, if you only accept people, you’re saying you only everybody should be kind, but if you only accept people, that you label a specific way, then that doesn’t seem so inclusive. That seems very exclusive. Inclusive means you understand that we all have different thoughts. We all have different opinions, different opinions, you know, and that’s okay, you can share your perspective, you can hear another’s. And that’s okay. And I believe that the reason why so much animosity exists within the world, whether it be people of different races, or ethnicities, or backgrounds or political beliefs, or whatever your religious beliefs are, everyone is saying this because people don’t believe enough in what they believe. Now, if you are secure in who you are, and you are secure in what you believe, you suddenly have freedom. You have a freedom to embrace others for what they believe. If you are really secure, and not fearful, then that this guy’s ideology is gonna influence me if I am fearful, what do I do? I shove my thoughts down their throat. Now it’s my way it’s my way. I’m the right way. I’m the middle of the road. Everybody thinks that the middle of the road me on the middle of the road where everyone is in the middle of the road. Because in our mind, psychologically, we cannot believe that we’re not living in the correct way. So we whoever else is not living like us is the other we make everybody the other. And that becomes very, very dangerous. Very dangerous, because suddenly you no longer have a different different voices, different opinions circulating you only surround the bully by What you think? And therefore, what if anybody thinks differently? They must be an enemy? And that’s super scary. super scary. And super dangerous. super dangerous. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s definitely something that I’ve seen happening for many years, it’s been happening at least over the past 1012 years, I would say easily. But it’s a, it’s something that we can fix, we just have to be able to get to a place of dialogue of understanding that we do not, we’ll have to think the same. We can share our perspective, share your perspective, you need to hear the other person’s perspective, maybe they’re still going to think their way and that’s fine. It shouldn’t be sharing so that you can convince it sharing so that it’s sharing of ideas. It’s getting the fact that Okay, we’re all different. But that’s okay, I can embrace you fully. Because I’ve embraced myself. But if I don’t embrace me, how am I going to embrace you?
Tim Kubiak 36:05
That’s right. That’s right. And so, you know, I’ve got a tech background. And one of the things I’m super critical on his privacy violations, and frankly, what the major social media platforms do and their algorithm. So if you and I like a different food or different sports team, not not even worldviews, they’ll feed me more of what I like, and you more of what you like, and we never meet in the middle.
Orly Wahba 36:29
And then that’s dangerous, ah,
Tim Kubiak 36:32
hugely dangerous. And I had this, I have a friend, it’s a journalist, and we had this conversation recently, it used to be, you’d have op ed pieces in different newspapers, and they would bring in a different viewpoint, even if the newspaper itself lean one way or the other. Now, if everybody consuming their news online, it’s all about keeping the eyeballs on their selling advertising. And it’s the same with the curated lives I watch, you know, you know, people react in the pandemic, hey, so and so took a vacation, oh, my God, you know, they’re gonna, you know, or the opposite end of well, we should be able to do what we want. I’m like, okay, it’s probably somewhere in the middle. But
Orly Wahba 37:08
you know, who am I to judge? That’s exactly right. And you said it right. At the end of the day, we have to stop judging one another. I mean, it’s the most, it’s the most craziest thing. But again, judgment, judgment often comes because a person doesn’t want to look at themselves in the mirror, we are fearful to look at ourselves in there, I think, if anything, what COVID has done for us. And what is forced us to do is it’s forced us to look at ourselves in the mirror a little bit more, you know, if you took advantage of what that opportunity was, because suddenly, we couldn’t be busy with what we’re normally busy with, you know, we are constantly in the busy work, right? But the hardest work is the work of the heart, the work of the heart is the hardest work to do. And because we’re always surrounded by so much noise, we are constantly distracted from doing it. And with COVID, there was the silence, and is there for those that took advantage of it to really do that work. And to continue to do that work, to be able to look at ourselves to stop pointing this way, you know, when you’re pointing this way, really pointing back yourself? Stop pointing out at others? Who are you? Who am I? What do I value? What do I believe? What are they? What are the character traits that I find to be important? How can I better myself? You know, maybe you don’t necessarily like the person that’s looking in the mirror, but that’s okay. Because our goal in this world, I think that the reason we’re here in this world above anything, it’s not about the pursuit of, of money or power, or it’s not about the pursuit of job titles. We’re here for one reason to perfect that character traits. That is why we’re here. And so if we can do that work, that’s much easier to blame and to look How come he’s doing this, and he made the wrong decision on that. And she did this wrong. Of course, it’s easier to you know, it’s easier to throw stones than it is to actually look at, you know, you got to look at yourself. It’s it’s the, it’s the most important thing that we can do as a society.
Tim Kubiak 39:06
Yeah, and you know, it’s interesting, friends of mine are working on a civil civic engagement platform, and they, they have very good intentions and what they’re building and I could be brilliant. And I’m like, and it could be Pandora’s box and right on the dark cloud on this one. I’m like, Well, folks, if you thought about, right, because we’ve seen it before. How do you get people to the table to accept that you have a different view? They don’t have to accept your view? How do you get the world back there?
Orly Wahba 39:39
It’s a great question. I have to say one of the greatest things that really I find with life essence side, and this is something I’ve said from the very start, is that it’s a place where really everyone gets to be who they are. You know, they say that education is the key to tolerance, right? So very famous quote, why? Because when you come to learn about another Suddenly, they’re no longer the other, there’s something that you can find in common with them. In a sense, you see something within yourself within them. That doesn’t mean you have to have the same ideologies or beliefs. But the human side, the human side, the side that feels that goes through experiences that has emotions, we all go through our ups and downs, we all have something that we might be dealing with. And when we can come to see that in another, suddenly, that brings us again, that brings us back to the table with life vest inside, you know, there’s zero political affiliation zero religious affiliation within the entity. I myself, I’m religious, but that doesn’t mean that I’m pushing my thoughts and ideologies on somebody else. It’s a place where Who are you, we we give a an open space for people to share, to share who they are to share where they’re from, to be proud of their country, we have all like with our event, we have everybody waving their flag, I love I love flags, I’m so into that I just I think it’s, they’re, they’re super cool. And I really respect flags. And so it hurts me when I see people doing things to flags, because that’s, that’s your identity, it’s your nation, it’s something you should be proud of. And so by empowering people to be proud of who they are, to be proud of what they stand for, and giving them the opportunity to meet others that that think differently, or that suddenly it’s like, oh, wow, I never met somebody that is, you know, this way or the other way. And these connections just just come to be, you know, in such a beautiful way, it starts with each of us. It’s not, there’s no magic formula, you know, the only thing that each and every one of us can do is be responsible for ourselves, we may say, Oh, you look at what’s going on in the world, it’s terrible. It’s so far gone, we’re not going to change it. That’s not the attitude to have, you know, there might be a lot of negative that people see the world. But I see a lot of good. There’s a lot of good out there. Just because negativity sells, you know, so the media is constantly showing us negativity. Don’t. Don’t underestimate the power of how much good exists in the world today, we tend to forget, just look back at history you have far we’ve come, we’ve come very far. So I can never understand people like oh, my goodness, it’s like we’re back in the Middle Ages. I’m like, what do you do you know, what the Middle Ages was? You know, at that time period was like, seriously? Why? If we’re gonna continue to look at the world through this lens of negativity, yeah, sure, you only get to see negative, no problem, you can, everything’s gonna look negative. But if we start to look at the world, through the lens of kindness, to start to see the good, acknowledge the good, give attention to the good speak of the good, this person did that good that suddenly more good is going to be shown to you because we are magnets we draw to ourselves, we put out there, which is like why when if you wake up, and if you woke up late one day, you missed your alarm clock, you stepped into a puddle, you got to work late, you couldn’t find a parking spot, it’s 9am, you’re like, Oh my gosh, it’s gonna be one of those days. And suddenly what happens, it becomes one of those days. Because we draw to ourselves, that’s not easy to flip our mindset. But we have to forget, we have to not forget that there’s a very important muscle in our body. And it’s our eyes. It’s as important as the muscles, any other muscle. And it needs to be worked out, to train our eyes to see the good to see the good actions to see the good things within people, not only to see somebody to find what’s bad about them, use your eyes, use them as a muscle to see the good. And suddenly, you’re going to see so much more good coming your way. It’s it’s going to be it’s overwhelming how much good there there really is. But we have to stop doing nothing. Because it feels like there’s way too much to do. You want to start you yourself start seek out work on yourself in terms of when somebody is going to share a perspective on something that I don’t agree with? How am I going to engage? I don’t need to agree with them. You don’t need to agree with somebody, but am I going to hear them out? Am I going to treat them with respect? Meaning I’m listening to them I’m sharing but I’m okay if we both go our separate ways. Each of us can deal can do it on our own. And if we do, we will be a model for others to follow. Because when you do something positive, you’re not only affecting the person, you’re doing it for other people that see you doing it. They see it too. And it impacts them just the same. And perhaps now their next choice will be better because of what they witnessed you doing.
Tim Kubiak 44:36
Yeah, that’s an interesting approach, because so many people will go hard stop, right, I’m done. I can’t hear this because it’s not what I think is one of the things I enjoy most is so often I get around people that are considered at the top of their fields, right. And they’re the ones most open dissenting opinion most often, right? What do you think that? What why did why do you think it’ll work that way? Right? You know, how did you come to that conclusion? Because they’re weighing factors beyond their own immediate perceptions.
Orly Wahba 45:17
I couldn’t agree more. And it’s especially because, you know, when you’re when you’re when you get to the top of your field, okay, for example, you come to understand right now, this is not a generalization for everybody, of course, because nothing ever is. But asking that question what you just said, Well, why do you feel that way? We tend to not do that most people tend not to do that, like you said, they tend to do the heart stop, or their voice gets louder, or they just start shouting things, and they’re trying to just share their point. But when you ask why, you know, what got you to that conclusion. It’s a person sharing their own inner experience with something and you cannot label a person’s experience or the way that they perceive something as one way or the other. It is their perception. A perfect example. Do you remember a couple years ago there? Was this some recording that went viral? Some people hearing Laurel some people hearing Jani? Do you remember this thing? I do. And it was the picture of the sneaker, some people seeing it green? Some people seeing it pink? I don’t know. This is a perfect example. You have an audio, it’s this same audio, and you’re sitting in a room with 10 people, and everyone is hearing a different thing. Are you gonna have? Are you gonna really have arguments? No, but it’s Laura. No, but it’s Jani. What does it mean? It’s a perfect example, that the same exact thing seen by two people can look or hear a completely different way. That is what we need to be able to take from it. It’s not one way or the other, sometimes. Everybody experiences life and perceives life differently based on the their personal experiences they’ve been through up until this point. So you can’t label a person’s perception as wrong. It is there it is their perception. All you can do is embrace them anyway. You’ve shared your opinion, like whenever I have, you know, whenever there is, because there’s been sometimes negative comments, I’ll get sometimes negative comments coming my way. And even though, you know, do we say that happens with anything in the world? Yeah. You know, and so I always the first step is to allow the person to feel what they feel, I’m never going to tell a person No, you shouldn’t feel that way. You shouldn’t believe that. That’s wrong, who might tell somebody it’s wrong. I understand that you feel this way. You know, I, I understand where your perspective is, I’d like to share another perspective, I share my perspective, but I always end off with opening the door for them to say it, you know, your perspective, if you’re going to continue to believe in your purse, that’s completely fine. Meaning, I’m wanting to share with you another viewpoint. So even though we may not agree, or whatever it is, you’re seeing this other viewpoint. And I’ve always found that that’s worked in an incredible way because it’s left people off, even if we both continue to believe in what we believe on our own paths. With this sense of again, and that’s what dialogue is about, of being heard and being seen, we are allowing people to feel heard and seen. And that is really my biggest mission for people to feel heard and seen. And that doesn’t mean that they’re gonna see things the same or hear things the same. And that’s okay, that’s completely okay.
Tim Kubiak 48:43
Who do you work with mostly these days?
Orly Wahba 48:46
In regards to in terms of what meaning in terms of are you
Unknown Speaker 48:49
working with? With middle school kids? Are you working with corporations?
Orly Wahba 48:53
Great, great question. Really, it’s, it’s sort of across the board. So I do a lot with education. I love kids. It’s like, my favorite thing in the world is kids. So I work a lot with schools, I’m giving talks in a lot of schools, especially digitally right now, we also have our kindness curriculum that we work with. And the kindness Boomerang book that you mentioned earlier is utilized a lot in schools, but I also am working with, with entities with companies, with organizations with community centers, in terms of incorporating kindness into the workplace, and how kindness you know, basically brings about more efficiency and productivity and, and the loyalty of employees to their business. And helping in a sense from the top, you know, from the top down, being able to see and to hear your staff in a in a respectful way, that you’re actually able to generate a tremendous more amount of productivity and efficiency for your for, you know, for whatever your business may be. So in both of these regards, I’m working with, you know, different type of entities in this regard yet.
Tim Kubiak 49:57
What did I ask you that I should have asked you
Orly Wahba 50:00
That’s a good question. Good question. That’s a hard one. Oh, my goodness, there’s so much we can talk about. That’s the honest truth. So let’s see here. What I would say, Hmm, that’s you stumped me on this one. What did you What have you not asked me that it’s a tough one. Well, I’ll tell you what I have going on currently, right now. Currently, right now, the the biggest things that I’m working on, within life vest inside, because I’m also working with another entity that’s teaching social entrepreneurship to youth, and helping them understand and recognize their ability to give back into the world, the prerequisite to being a success in anything is coming to believe in yourself. And so this course that currently I’m teaching, it’s an online course, is geared towards empowering students to understand their the power that they have, within themselves recognize that failure is really a stepping stone to leading you down a path of success. And then within our master class, it basically is teaching the ins and outs the steps of coming up with an idea and putting it into fruition. Even if you don’t have $1 to your name, how do you do that. And a lot of it is based on personal experiences of creating this entity, creating life vest inside. And a separate entity I recently created. I recently released a mobile app called Abraham’s legacy. It’s a social network for prayer that connects people from around the world. Through the power of prayer, I did this this project in memory, my grandfather, but I learned a lot starting the different initiatives that I’ve started. And my goal is to be able to empower youth to take that same that same, you know, process and to recognize that although there are people that will discourage you, in this world, when people discourage you doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in you, it means that they don’t believe enough in themselves. So if a person doesn’t believe that they can achieve things of value, how can they possibly believe in you. So this has been something really exciting that I’ve been working on, it’s called the social impact initiative. And I really do love it very much. The other thing that I’ve been working on is we are doing, we’re gearing up to our 10th annual event. I don’t know if it’s going to be digital or physical. It’s coming in November, even though it seems like it’s a far away, it’s long away, it’s not so far away. It’s a leadership training program. It’s this through our dance for kindness event. And we have group leaders from age 10 to 76, that go through this leadership training program that incorporates both theory and practice. So they are learning how to essentially run this event, but what they’re learning really is how to take any idea that they have for positive change, and break it into its parts. Because we many people can have these big dreams. And it’s great to dream big. But you also have to think small, you need to think about the small steps to get you there. Because if you’re going to just simply that’s why the you know, New Year’s resolutions never work if you’re going to just dream big, right? Unless you want it right away, and you see this big gap, that gap is gonna crush you. So you need to take one step at a time one step at a time. So I’m working towards gearing up for that. for that event. I’m really, really excited for it.
Tim Kubiak 53:16
That’s, that’s exciting. So everything you’ve talked about, can people find it in life vest inside
Orly Wahba 53:22
100%, you can find that at life vest inside calm, you’ll be able to then get to some of the other sites like our dance for kindness site dance, for kindness, calm, we have monthly dance parties, which are so much fun people get to join on, we have a new dance every every month. And then together on zoom with people from around the world, we had our first one like just the you know, just back in February. And and then we engage in three simple acts of kindness with the group online, each one taking three minutes and we share our experiences with that specific act. So you can learn all about that on our site. You can also check out loads of resources, we have the kindness Boomerang book, 365 days a year, one page every day with an act and inspirational quote, and then a short reflection on the power of paying it forward. It’s a great resource being used in schools and companies, just for yourself in general, as well as our really cool acts of kindness cards that are catching kindness cards that have on them specific acts and then you do the act and then you pass the card on to somebody else to continue the progression of kindness. So you could check out all of this on our site. And also sign up for our newsletters. I put out a newsletter once a day Monday through Friday, called a daily kind. It’s a short 32nd read to kickstart your day with kindness. And that will just simply help to click on your eye awareness, your awareness that you can start seeing the opportunities so you can engage in them. And then we put out a monthly newsletter called the kindness flash focused on a specific theme. So I highly recommend both of those. And you can learn like I said, you can learn about all of this at life s inside calm and also check out check out on YouTube, we have loads of video collaborations that we’re doing especially over the months of COVID. We’ve been doing these incredible video collaborations with people from around the world that we post up on a monthly basis.
Tim Kubiak 55:11
So and for anyone listening, I’ve got all the links in the show notes. So you can just open the show notes, click and find all the stuff. So thank you so much for taking the time to be here today.
Orly Wahba 55:21
Thank you so much for having me. I’m really honored