Self Improvement 5: Random Acts of Kindness
Help somebody in a small way.
Random means that you should do it whenever the opportunity arises. Not just randomly every other year. Focus your attention and find the situations where a small nudge may be appreciated. It should take a moment of your time, or you won’t be able to keep up the habit.
Notice. Help. Done.
Shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes on 20 in rare cases. Some acts take more than that, but do them anyway.
This can be anything from helping out a co-worker to donating to a good cause. It can be a nice compliment to a stranger to lighten up their day. It can be something for a specific person who knows you or truly random and anonymous act of kindness to a person you don’t know.
It is nice if you direct your kindness towards the people less fortunate than you. But as the saying goes there’s lonely at the top so maybe the CEO of the company needs a pat on the back every once in awhile.
Do not expect anything in return. Maybe the only return would be your own feeling of happiness and self worth.
Think of how many times you have been at the receiving end of the random acts of kindness and be grateful for that.
If you are struggling with the idea and don’t know where to begin then here’s a list of things you could do:
Parties are especially helpful if you invite people who are lonely. Lonely people are usually older relatives and friends.
Thank the trash man
Trashman, postal worker, bus driver, janitor, etc. All the people who make our lives smoother and cleaner, but to whom we usually don’t talk.
Send a nice card to a friend
Thank you letter or just good wishes on a thoughtful postcard should do the trick. Get your friends’ addresses and do it every now and then. Don’t forget the Christmas card. Send a card when you are traveling abroad.
Write a letter of appreciation
Another take on letting your friends, family members, or co-workers know that they are important in your life. Let them know that you notice and appreciate it.
Send anonymous flowers to someone
Send flowers and add a note why you send them. You can use this with people close to you, but it works as well with co-workers. Or you can go totally stranger and send the flowers to the barista at the coffee shop you love.
Pick up trash
I have been lucky to live in a very clean county. The world clean up day originated from Estonia. But picking up thrash isn’t something that should just happen one day a year. When you hike in nature or see a soda can on the city street, pick it up and put it in the trash. If cans are recyclable in your country make sure homeless people can reach them.
Let someone go in line in front of you
Do you have a huge shopping cart of stuff at the check out counter? “Here, you have just a few items, go before me.”
Smile and say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” to everyone
OK! Greeting people is just good manners. But there’s a convention whom we greet. And that doesn’t include random people on the street or subway. Be friendly, smile, and greet everybody. Greeting strangers also helps you to get over anxiety to talk to strangers if you need that.
Visit an orphanage
Bearing gifts. It is really tough to live without parents. Bring some joy into children’s lives and visit them. The visit is not something you can do in 20 or 30 minutes. Take 2 hours, maybe more. Contact the orphanage before the visit and arrange for all the details.
Give a compliment
Something you can do several times a day and does not take any time on your part. Compliments should be specific, and they work best if you compliment the effort or action. Instead of “you are so smart” say “it’s really impressive how much you study.”
Hug your loved ones for no particular reason
Hugging is really emotional and shows that you care. Another idea with hugging is that when someone hugs you don’t let go before they do. Works miracles.
Pay for the person behind you at the drive-thru
You have to figure out the details for this one. Do you know how much they have to pay? If you don’t know, then what might be an average order?
Send a friend an old photo and recall that time
The other day I was looking for an image in my photo archive of thousands of photos. I found so many memories. We often take the photos and then that is the last time anyone looks at them. Sift through your archive and find those memorable moments. Send them to your friends by email or post them on social media. For very special photos, you can blow them up and frame the printout. Use it as a gift.
Take flowers to a nursing home
Old people are often bored. Visit them more often talk to them, bring them flowers. Take kids with you. I read that somewhere they mixed kindergarten and nursing home. The results were excellent.
Give a huge tip
When the service is exceptional, you may give a tip that is larger than usual. But when you really felt that the other person was there for you then go all in and give 50, 100 or sometimes even more. The best way to spend money is to spend it on others. Research shows that spending on others gives most people maximum satisfaction.
Pay the toll for the person behind you
Pretty straightforward. Pay for yourself and then the next person. Put money in the parking meter when it’s running out (In some places it’s illegal to do that. Do it anyway.)
Blood transfusion is one of the many miracles of medicine that has helped save countless lives. But the system only works when there is blood to transfuse. Give blood if you can. You will save lives. Mostly strangers. When the time comes, some stranger’s blood may save your life.
Give someone flowers
Buy a few dozen of roses and give them to friends, family, random people on the street. Random day, no special occasion, just because you want to make others happy.
Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so. ~~~Robert Green Ingersoll
Help a co-worker complete a project without being asked
When you see that someone struggles with a task that where you can help. Do it! Help them out.
Write a thank you letter to your parents
Another riff on the thank you theme. For most of us, our parents have been the most important influence in becoming who we are. If you are reading this, then you are probably one of those people who are constantly trying to improve themselves. Thank your parents for giving you the foundation from which to start your life.
Tell them that they are doing just fine. Encourage to try one more time.
- Bring someone a souvenir
- Read to a child
- Put an anonymous thank you note on your colleague’s desk
- Spend time with the elderly
- Buy a weekend vacation for a friend
- Leave a positive comment on a website or blog
Now go out there and perform a random act of kindness.