I am writing this, safe and sound, from Berlin. Thanks to wonderful friends and connections, I have been showed fantastic hospitality here so far.

This weekend, I attended The Blogcademy and boy oh boy am I inspired. Over and above the wonderful blogging “tricks of the trade”, I walked away from this experience with an overall life lesson that I wish to share with you here today.

Something that seems so obvious and yet I think worthwhile to share lest we forget its simple charm.

Above all else, JUST BE NICE!

Although I learned more about blogging in the last two days than I am capable of absorbing, as I walked away from Agora Collective – the cool co-working space in which the workshop was held – I was filled with a warm afterglow specifically associated with that feeling you get after you’ve had the opportunity to connect to truly helpful, caring and engaging human beings!

If there is one thing I can tell you about The Blogcademy Headmistresses – Gala, Shauna, and Kat– it’s that they are truly lovely, helpful and kind people. I feel so touched by their dedication to assisting us fledgling bloggers and feel that it is definitely worth taking a note out of their collective book.

So here’s what I learned about being a nice person and how you can use their special kind of magic to make your life better!

Smile
When you meet someone for the first time, especially someone who has a public reputation, it is easy to feel intimidated and this is compounded if the person appears aloof and preoccupied.

Gala, Kat and Shauna were from the outset full of smiles and gleeful greetings, which made us all feel instantly at home. Smiling at guests who enter your home, office or at people you meet out in the world will connote a friendly and inviting tone and engender positive responses.

Listen
There is nothing that conveys empathy better than the simple act of listening. I think we can all be guilty of not listening enough to loved ones, colleagues or random people we meet. By giving each person a chance to express themselves, even if it is for a few minutes, we are automatically validating and affirming their existence.

Answer questions
As people we all have different skills and have clocked up different experiences. This means that each of us has the potential to be “an authority” on some subject that another person might need to gain insight into.

It is easy to feel like talking about one’s knowledge and expertise is a pain in the ass or perhaps we might feel protective over our knowledge and worry that sharing it might mean losing status somehow. I want to encourage you to not think like this! Sharing your skills, knowledge or experiences only adds to your wisdom and inspires others to take you more seriously and more appreciatively. So go out and be someone’s mentor today!

Wear nice things
I think Gala Darling is hugely inspiring in that she has given Self Help the glamorous make over it so sorely needed! Why should healthy, happy and conscious not look super hot?

I think that dressing well, or at least dressing in a way that makes you happy and makes you feel more like you is a great way of making the world a better place. I for one am an aesthetically orientated person. I feel better when I’m surrounded by pretty things…and people. It doesn’t matter what your body type is, the most important thing is that you choose items that make you feel great. When you do, it shows and the world will respond. People will feel more positively towards you and you will just basically win at life!

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Be honest
Being honest doesn’t mean telling people everything that’s on your mind. It means that you intend to live your life with integrity and in truth. I don’t think there is anything that can beat genuineness. And if you are ever in a moral dilemma, just do the right thing by others. People will respond to the sense of reliability and trustworthiness they get from you.

Have a sense of humour
Can you laugh at yourself? If not, you better start changing that. The best advice I can give anyone ever is just to take life a little less seriously. Sure you must still work bloody hard and give everything in life your all but try to have a sense of humour while doing it! It will make those little failures along the way that much more bearable and it will encourage others to take themselves less seriously too, aiding their tolerance and empathy towards you. Making someone laugh is the greatest gift. Go on, give it a go!

Be human
Most importantly, remember that no matter who you’re speaking to – whether it’s your annoying neighbour or the frikkin president – we are all human beings. No one is perfect, everyone is flawed and we’re all just trying to do our best out there in this crazy world. So try and connect to the humanity within each and every person you meet. You may even make new friends!