Kind Business, Kind Results: Kool2BKind

Earlier this month, I had an email discussion with Margaret Dolan, Founder of Kool2BKind Productions. Kool2BKind brings gamification to the practice of kindness by assigning positive points for doing kind things and penalty points for doing unkind things. It fosters a bit of friendly competition among players to see who can build up the most positive points. The current version of the game focuses on younger players, but will expand to versions for adults in the workplace and teens in coming months.

I especially like the idea that tracking kindness in this way draws attention to the fact that kindness consists in small actions, and keeps the player mindful of the impact of his or her actions.

Here is a transcript of the discussion:

What is your overall vision for Kool2BKind?

Kool2BKind is an iPhone game that promotes doing kind acts. Players get rewarded with points, encouragements, and cheers and for doing kind things and penalty points, discouragements, and boos for doing unkind things. Kool2BKind was created to be something fun that parents, teachers, student groups, church leaders — in other words, kindness cultivators — could use to educate and encourage groups on the importance of being kind.

Our current version is targeted for kids, 9-12 years old, but can be used by both teens and adults. We will be launching a Teen and Business version of Kool2BKind in the near future.

What motivated you to create Kool2BKind? Especially any specific stories or events that gave you momentum?

Like many people, I was taught to treat others as I would like to be treated.  So, I have strived to live kindness as a life principle for my whole life. In college, grad school and my early business career, I was told by many that my kindness was a weakness, i.e., I was naïve or a PolyAnna because I chose to be kind. I was not deterred by these comments because I have always believed kindness is strength and unkindness is weakness.   worked in environments where words of praise were few, but words of criticism a daily occurrence.  I make it a choice daily to be kind to others — smile, say hello, compliment their appearance, praise work well done, etc., and I always get positive responses. Kindness makes people happy; encourages them; and helps people come together as a team. I realized that people learn to be kind by watching others be kind.  They observe a family member, friend or business associate doing something kind and like what they experienced or observed.  The next time they encounter a similar circumstance, they may do a similar kindness.

So, Kool2BKind was born out of a desire to provide a simple and fun tool that people could use to learn to how to be kind; to bring more kindness into their life and those around them.  A mobile app was the way I chose to bring this goal to life — simple, fun and rewarding all around.

What specific kindness practices mean the most to you as a kindness practitioner?

As a kindness practictioner, I like to smile and to compliment people. Smiles and kind words are contagious things.

How does your kindness vision translate to the way you do business with others? Colleagues, business partners, suppliers/vendors, customers, etc.

Happy employees are more productive employees and kindness makes people happy.  I have used Kool2BKind at work with positive results.  I kept the game running on my iPhone and whenever members of the group participating in the game smiled, or said kind words to their co-workers or customers, etc., we counted the points on my phone.  And when a co-worker said or did something unkind, e.g., sent an angry email, the sound effects of the game really made it clear that the remark was unwanted; and the penalty points were noted. Instead of being upset at the unkind remark, the group laughed from the sound effects and moved on to other more productive activities. And the person who sent the angry email really learned for the future. The activity was not only fun and motivating, but it brought the group together as a team.


You can download a copy of Kool2Bkind for free on the iTunes App store (search Kool2BKind); via their website,; or via The Random Acts of Kindness website under Kindness Links.

Kind Business, Kind Results is a monthly series of posts in which Kindness Communication interviews business leaders who strongly exemplify kindness values and practices. If you’d like to participate, please reach out.

Try Turning Off The Outrage Machine

I’ve stopped following the news, and I have stopped engaging on my personal Facebook account. A simple reason has pushed me to do this. The outrage machine, at last, has exhausted me. But I have learned so much more in the silence of turning it off.

I can’t listen to any more stories about war, conflict, violence, political buffoonery, grievance seeking, or the collapse of the environment. I can’t indulge in anyone’s opinions on any of these matters, my own included. “Oh, that’s a cop out,” some will say, and with even a degree of validity, but I think one comes to a point in one’s life where one has to ask why one is doing something. What matters and what must come first? I can no longer leave consuming news media anywhere on that list and at the same time put my practice of kindness first.

“Well, if you don’t know about the details of the refugee crisis in Syria, how can you feel sufficient compassion for it?” some might object. But I don’t think one needs the details of the suffering of other lives, human or other, to feel compassion towards them, especially when knowledge of those details comes with so much with so much toxic manipulation of opinion.

In all frankness, few people who read about these issues do so in the service of open compassion. Rather, the news serves as a pretext for whipping up outrage, spiraling sharing and opinionating around each crumb of information, regardless of its truth. In order to keep us reading, sharing, and commenting, we are subjected to a deluge of reasons to get angrier at “them” for doing or not doing something, at “him” or “her” for saying or not saying something, at “you” for sharing or commenting in a certain way.


And the result of stopping? From inner peace grows the strength to act. Every moment, every quantum of emotional energy that I’ve freed by unhooking from the outrage machine has come back to me multi-fold, with more productivity, greater impact, and deeper kindness.

I have found I can redirect my attention with the force of intention, not dispersed into an outrage that serves no one well and that improves nothing meaningfully. In other words, I have taken back control of that attention, away from the outrage machine that uses my emotions and beliefs to disseminate its products and to bring me back to the trough again and again. I find my time better spent in making a better world than in reading about a worse world.

And, for reasons I still wish to explore but which I still know hold true, I firmly believe that I have not surrendered to ignorance. Instead, I have simply moved along, to running my own machine of kindness and love, to building up steam towards knowing and doing what matters.

Confession: It took me months to build up the courage to form and then act on this principle. It seems to fly in the face of all of the values of good citizenship and informed intellectualism that I have absorbed over the years. So much so, that I have felt reluctant even to admit what I have done or face the stigma of “not knowing what’s going on.” But after a few weeks of doing it, in the face of such freedom, I can’t refuse the call to share what I am doing and why.