“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies: Goddamn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

The list of Stuff I Need to Write About just keeps getting bigger and bigger … so instead of trying to tackle it right now, I give you this, from my Twittersbox a little bit ago:

When you're fortunate enough to have success and love what you do, you have a choice: Be kind and grateful, or be a dick. I choose the first.

When I see someone who is successful, whose work I enjoy, treat other people badly, it just makes me sick inside, and sad for them.

So I do my best to live by example, treat everyone with kindness, and never lose perspective on how lucky I am. Okay, thanks for listening.

It's easy to be a dick, to never be happy with what you have, and to treat someone else's success as your failure … but how does that make you happier? How does that make you feel good about yourself? Every single day, we have hundreds of opportunities to make a choice: Kindess or Cruelty, Gratitude or Bitterness, Generosity or Selfishness … the list goes on and on forever.

Our lives are the result of our choices, and every choice we make affects another person, often in ways we can't even imagine.

…so what kind of life do you choose to live?

(title quote from Kurt Vonnegut)

52 thoughts on ““There’s only one rule that I know of, babies: Goddamn it, you’ve got to be kind.””

  1. These are the rules I try to live by too. I also believe that what you put out into the world is what you get back. Give out love, kindness and generosity and then sit back and see what comes back to you.

  2. This is true. But I almost feel like it’s a modern day personal necessity to expect that even if you hold these values very close to your heart that you simply can’t expect the same from others in the world. Perhaps that’s the point. Be an example of what kindness and caring can accomplish and be a positive force in the world. You may be taken advantage of once, but never twice without permission to administer your own [YOUR NAME HERE] Vicious Cock Punch of Justice.

  3. I truly try to live by those rules. My life is spent caring and trying to help other people, since I’m a Social Work (mental health and drug/alcohol addiction) and Counseling major. I chose this for my life’s work because I really want to help humanity in some way. You should never treat anyone badly, especially if you are in the spotlight and successful in what you do because it’s sickening and it could affect someone’s life in terrible ways if they look up to you.
    I live my life for humanity and animals both because the world we live in has lost so much respect and concern for others anymore and someone needs to be there for the people who need it most.

  4. “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” ~ His Holiness, Dalai Lama XIV

  5. I’ll x2 what beth9133 says. I hope this is random thoughts rather than an externally inspired thought.
    I’ve always thought that taking the cynical, critical, mean-spirited tack was the easy way. It is much harder to be positive, respectful and kind since there’s always some asshole around the corner.

  6. And this is why I stalk your blog and smile at your tweets. Thank you for what you stand for, and for not being a dick about it, even when you would have every right to be one.

  7. “…it just makes me sick inside, and sad for them.”
    I feel this way about all the cool celebrity atheists out there. There are some awesome, smart, nerdy people, that think there is nothing more than what’s here on earth. It makes me sad when I discover another one of the people I follow on Twitter or listen to on podcasts doesn’t believe in God.
    It blows my mind how big, beautiful, and intricate this universe is. One can hardly grock how big our own solar system is yet the universe is SO much bigger than that and to think it’s all just randomly made is a bit unbelievable to me.
    Just thought I’d share. All the best! And yes, DON’T BE A DICK!

  8. I think you should have used “Cruel to be kind” (or in the right manner).
    Of course isnt that simply restating the Golden Rule?
    From what I have read about Hollywood that is pretty much par for the course.
    You should read Jim Breuers book about SNL and Hollywood.
    He pretty much spells it out in there.

  9. One thing I always found interesting…
    1) People on vacation are always on that vacation high where they are super friendly
    3) People who drop off at Fed Ex or the Dry Cleaners, etc. are kind of exactly the opposite.
    In their own little world and just trying to get to the next place. Almost robotic sometimes – LOL

  10. This post just highlights one of the reasons I follow you Wil. Most down-to-earth and brutally honest person in the ‘celebrity’ spotlight. Being a geek with similar interests doesn’t hurt.
    “I do my best to live by example, treat everyone with kindness, and never lose perspective on how lucky I am.” And you do an excellent job with that example. You exemplify what I consider to be the human side of the entertainment industry. Lead on, you geeky ambassador!
    *Ironguard salute*

  11. I agree with THE Kandiman, there. Once I got to know you via PAX, and ECCC, I realized how AWESOME you are, and how down to Earth. You understand what it’s like to be on our end, as nerdy fans facing celebrities, and give us each a moment of your ACTUAL attention, not just a vague autograph session. In addition, you are a warm, friendly individual, and it’s awesome to see that. It too, pisses me off when a celebrity acts like an ass to their fans. And not even because we’re “paying their wages therefore you must perform” but because you should be a decent human being and follow Wheaton’s Law.
    Thanks for being rad, Wil.

  12. I am terribly, TERRIBLY curious about what inspired this little Twitter rant. It seems like someone within your field of vision must have been on the other side of this particular moral stance, and you fired up the blue lightsaber of Twitter in response to his red lightsaber of being a dick.

  13. Years ago in one of my martial arts classes, someone asked the instructor if developing ‘honed natural instincts’ was the key to success in learning how to defend yourself. Our teacher, who had been in the military and also practicing for more than 40 years said no, the greatest skill we can develop is something ‘beyond instinct’.
    He said to imagine there is an elderly lady on the side of the road with a flat tire. Some people would be so lost in their own world that they wouldn’t even notice her. Others would see her and think “hmm, maybe I should stop to help”. Meanwhile, there would be one person who already had the car jacked up and was fixing the tire without a second thought – while the rest of the folks were still trying to make up their minds.
    I’m no saint myself, but sometimes when I’m walking or driving by our local Whole Foods Market and I’m nearly run over or cut off in traffic by someone with a Prius covered in bumper stickers about Peace, Love and Save Tibet…I wonder if they were just having a bad day, or that they are indeed right dicks at heart who bought the bumper stickers because on some level, they are trying to change (even just a little). ;)

  14. First things first. People only enjoy certain famous people because of the way they look, sing, or whatever it may be. Like Justin Bieber for instance. Most people, particulary girls just like him for his looks, even if he may be a jerk. They dont care. But when people like you go to play rockband in front of people ( i think this was at comicon not sure though ), it really makes alot of different people happy. It also encourages us geeks to keep on going because when we look at you we say, “hey that guy is famous but hes not a jerk, hes a geek like us, we get motivation from that. Ive seen you on interviews on radio stations, and i cant think of another celebrity that would spend his or her time to gladly talk to us people. Writing on your blog keeps us fans of your work really up to date. All i can say now is, thank you, Wil Wheaton!

  15. I’m a brand new reader; I started my G+ account the other day, several of my friends were following you and I was so excited to see you there. (and Felicia Day, LOVE her, but this is your blog so I’ll keep the FD fangirling to a minimum)
    As a long time fan, I’m not sure why I hadn’t tracked down your blog before, but I’m reading now so that’s what matters. I’m the kind of person who will go back and read All The Posts over the next few days, and will likely drive my boyfriend crazy by reading aloud to him and quoting you. So far I love your writing style, and I look forward to catching up. I’ll be buying your books too, once I decide which one to start with.
    Before I get all gooshy and swoony here, I’ll just say thanks for being such a down to earth Geek Spokesman. Thanks for choosing to be kind instead of being a dick.

  16. Wil, I love your blog, and posts like this are one of the big reasons why.
    It made me think of a story that I’d heard and re-posted recently:
    An elder Apache was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. “One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, paranoia, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.
    “The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”
    They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
    The old Grandpa simply replied, “The one you feed.”
    —-
    Thanks, Wil!

  17. It’s too bad we even have to be reminded of this, but thanks for doing it anyway. I’m struggling lately with the number of people I know who are proud of their own disrespect of and disregard for other people. Nice guys need to stick together and someday we’ll rule the world.

  18. This is why you remain in my top favorite list of people. You could easily be all the above with the fan following, fame and whatnot, but you, through all of your success over the years, have remained ground level to all the people who love you. I remember in “Stand By Me” when you told Chris “You can do anything you want”…I think you’ve done a lot of dreams in life, and yet you still act human to everyone and treat others with respect. You’re definitely one of my inspirations in life.

  19. I agree, it’s so easy to be a dick. If each of your 1.8 million followers read this, take it to heart and pass it on, there’s hope for the world yet.

  20. I try to be kind, always. Even to those who can’t figure out how to do it back. Bit by bit, I try to wear them down.
    Ask me at the end of my life if this works all the time, so far…more hits than misses.
    Just as success breeds success, I believe that being nice breeds being nice!

  21. This is a great philosophy for life. You can choose to be happy with what you’ve got and make other people happy, or you can choose to sulk when other people have more and try to make people miserable.
    I choose the former.
    I love tonycaselli’s story of the wolves. Feed the nice wolf!

  22. I have already begun to teach my five-year-old son the mantra, “don’t be a wiener.” I, however, have trouble following that advice at times. Thanks for setting a good example, Will.

  23. OK, so I’m going to quote Prince:
    “Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing we call life.”
    Maybe it’s me getting old, but somewhere along the way, I realized that life isn’t all about me. OK, well it is to ME, but contrary to my own belief, it isn’t to anyone else. The only way to get through this life or any other is to be aware of your fellow carbon based life forms and maybe help he, she or it get through it as well. Be nice…is it really that hard?

  24. "…nice breeds being nice!"
    I totally agree.
    I always told my sons that you attract what you put out into the world, so if you're kind and honorable, similar people will naturally gravitate toward you … and if you're a jerk, sooner or later the only people who will want to be around you are the other jerks.

  25. “When you’re fortunate enough to have success and love what you do, you have a choice: Be kind and grateful, or be a dick”
    Reply to my email!
    Haha, when you get the time of course.

  26. This discussion (your post and the comments above) reminds of my favorite line from my favorite film:
    “Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be,’ — she always called me Elwood — ‘In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”
    ~Harvey

  27. I have always told my sons, “I love you, but I have to raise you so other people will like you.” Be kind. Be polite. It’s a lot less work and trouble to be nice than it is to be mean.

  28. Sigh. Awomen, Wil! Always so appreciate your authenticity. After I posted about kindness recently, a friend responded with the following quote, “When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” — Helen Keller (1880-1968) American Writer

  29. Wil, I hope you don’t mind – I know you’re not on Facebook, but I am, & I shared this there (complete with link to your blog & credit given where due). I think this is an absolutely brilliant post, & apparently so do a lot of my FB friends, as I’ve gotten lots of positive comments on it.
    -Alicia
    @AliciaWag

  30. I’ve always told my girl “you don’t have to be friends with everyone, but you do need to be kind.” if only others felt this way, maybe these pre-teen years would be a little bit easier….

  31. Off topic (maybe) – “Stand By Me” is airing in the empty hours this morning on Turner Classic Movies and the DVR is now set to record. “Different Seasons” was the first Stephen King book I owned and made me a lifelong fan. It’s a real feather in the cap to the four young boys who had to carry that whole movie.

  32. Amen Wil. The best way to help oneself is to help others.
    Say “Thank you.” Open a door for another. Offer another your seat. Let the other fellow go first. What’s so wonderful about these acts is how many folks acknowledge and appreciate these acts civility. Some are downright astonished by it.
    (Note: doesn’t apply to household cats.)
    Kindred spirits abound.
    A humble, wise friend recently observed, “It’s amazing how many good friendships I’ve lucked into by merely stopping to offer encouragement.”
    Thanks for yet another great post Wil. Great food for thought.

  33. Segue to a follow up on an old story about 2 dicks. One of my colleagues happens to be the father of Meaghan Rath, a promising young actress. He was telling me that she was going to her first convention, so I told him about my experience. He relayed the story to her, and I’m very proud to say she really took it to heart. She will be at Comicon in San Diego and I told her to look you up. Say hi for me, I wish I could be there!

  34. Life it to short to deal with dicks! The trick is to just ignore the dicks, and concentrate on what is good in life. Sometimes you overlook the best things because they are small things. A hug from a child. Something that makes you laugh till you think you are going to pass out. Sharing a cold piece of watermelon with friends on a hot day, and seeing who can spit the seeds the furthest. An email from an old friend you have not heard from in months. Finding that book that keeps up till 1:00 because it is just that good… Wil, you are a master of capturing these moments, and you are brave enough to share them with the world on your blog, in print and with your own voice. Thanks for sharing, I know it can’t be easy at times.

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