Courage & Kindness.

The virtues of Courage and Kindness, in watching the Cinderella movie with my son.

"Courage and Kindness are more important to practice now than ever before!"

We are Disney and Pixar fans through and through.

We enjoy the feel good and deeply thoughtful nature of the stories and the morals depicted.

My 2nd grader was learning fractured fairy tales at school. The concept is about taking a known story and retelling it in diverse ways. The retellings involve variant themes and analogous characters. For example, penguins replace humans and flippers replace shoes.

As a follow-up, the school district recommended the students to watch the Cinderella movie.

Disney's Cinderella movie poster.
Disney's Cinderella movie poster.

As of this writing, Disney+ did not have it. We rented it and watched it in couple sittings.

Spoiler alert below.

Cinderella's mom imparts on Cinderella that courage and kindness are most important, and she should be a practitioner of these two virtues in her life.

After the movie, we recapped it as a family in order to internalize it.

I kept thinking about how we can apply this to our professional lives in various contexts.

Here are my takeaways and meditations on the key theme of the movie.


Meditations

As a technologist and/or a creator, the workday may present various situations where we can practice Courage and Kindness, if we are conscious and deliberate.

The following are example situations to practice courage.

  • You uncover that the root cause of a software bug is taking more time than committed.
  • Sharing your true career interests may feel uncomfortable with your manager.
  • You are not quite able to understand your developer's technical challenges as a creative.
  • You see the team getting distracted by topics that can be prioritized for a later time.
  • The dev team is demanding more handholding through screen mocks than necessary.

It may seem very hard and infinitely uncomfortable to muster the courage and address things as they are!

"Breathe, breathe and breathe again."

Write or type down the what of the situation and the why of the awareness on the situation. Communicate it in simple words with an earnest attitude to your team. Providing the why will be much well understood and received by them. It helps with the belief and trust. All of this falls under practicing to be a better communicator.

"Practice courage in every small situation so that you will be comfortable in bigger situations."

You owe this to yourself and your team.

Just do it!

The following are example situations to practice kindness.

  • A developer or designer asks the same question in various occasions.
  • A customer sends out an escalated email.
  • Your manager misconstrues a situation.
  • Team asks for further clarification on mocks.
  • Dev team member blocks your pull request.

All these situations may be inconvenient or even infuriate you.

"Breathe, breathe and breathe yet again!"

These are opportunities to practice kindness as well.

  • Be graceful and reach out to the person or team for further clarifications. Provide more information.
  • Be curious and improve your understanding of the context.
  • Find the underlying reason or sentiment that you may need to address first, for smoother future interactions.

This will resonate commitment and trust on your part to your audience.

"In short, be kind, curious and graceful in your responses and interactions."

I strongly believe practicing these 2 virtues of courage and kindness will have enormous positive consequences in your professional and personal life.

Best!

Srini @ RoverHead


Thirumalaa Srinivas

Thirumalaa Srinivas