In a crazy work-a-day world, we can often lose ourselves. This weekend, I think we should not only get in touch with our true selves, but turn up the volume on all of the things that make us the amazing people we are.
How can we do that? Take some of the examples in the picture above. Turn up your magic! What does that even mean? We all have a certain magic inside us. This usually manifests as a gift we are naturally blessed with. Maybe we have a great singing voice? Then sing your heart out for all the world to hear! Maybe you enjoy creating art? Make a special gift for someone you love. Maybe you are great at cooking? Invite a friend over for dinner!
What about turning up your kindness? You could find so many ways to do this! Do you find joy in buying a coffee for the stranger behind you in line? Do that! Maybe your kindness is towards animals? Find ways to help our winged and 4-legged friends! Maybe your kindness is the ability to truly listen and allow someone to feel heard? That is such a precious gift!
How can you turn up gratitude? Look at the ideas in the pictures above and below. The more you can turn up your gratitude, the more your life will improve! That is a great bonus of gratitude. Those you express it to feel good, and so do you. It is definitely a win/win situation. For that reason alone, find as many ways to turn up the gratitude as you can this weekend!
Whatever wonderful traits make up you, I encourage you to express more of them this weekend! Remember to always be yourself. Originals are always worth more than copies.
I trust many of you have heard of the butterfly effect. In case you haven’t, it is the idea that a simple action (a butterfly flapping its wings) can have an effect on greater systems (contributing to a typhon). I’m not sure about all of that, but I am sure that our actions create a ripple effect.
I prefer the ‘pebble effect’ when you toss a small pebble into water, the effect is the rings that spread out from the point of impact. That’s how I view the impact of our actions. Whether they be good or bad, our actions have an effect outside of the point of impact. Make someone angry by cutting them off in traffic, they may then drive more aggressive causing an accident down the road. Make someone happy, they may continue to spread the act of kindness to others.
Just like the ripples in the water, the effect of our actions diminish the further from us they get. Throw one pebble into a pond and you would not get much effect. Throw several and you start to disturb the surface of the water. Throw a bucket full and you create a great deal of change.
In our real world example, more pebbles can be accomplished one of two ways. We can commit random acts. If we cut everyone off in traffic, we will create a street of aggressive drivers. We start doing random acts of kindness for all of our coworkers, and the office becomes a lot more pleasant of a place to work.
The other way to create vast amount of change on the surface of the waters of life, is to recruit others to throw some pebbles in with you. I recall when I was in high school, we did a thing called a “river clean up”. It amounted to the entire class pulling garbage out of a nearby river. By the end of the day, the river was a lot cleaner. Certainly, one person picking garbage out of the river would have helped, but the impact would have been less and taken a lot longer.
Again, it is importantto know this works both positively and negatively. Hitler did not work alone and neither did Martin Luther King. They both had people ‘standing on the shore, throwing pebbles’ with them.
The last thing I want to share with you about the ‘pebble effect’ is that it diminishes with time. Just like the ripples from the pebble will eventually fade, so will the effects of our actions. That is why it is important to act with love, compassion and kindness as often as you can. Why not try the “30 days of kindness” chart above?
Today is Saturday, the first whole day of the weekend! Let us celebrate by doing exactly what this picture says. Let share one kind word (or group of words) with someone today.
Let us not do this in response, such as “thank you” for a service done, but instead something purely unmotivated. Let us call up a friend out of the blue to tell them we appreciate them. Compliment a stranger on their smile, outfit, or kindness. Speaking of kindness, how about just doing one (more if you like) random act of kindness?
Share with us what kind word, or action, you did, or are planning on doing. Even if you read this on a day other than Saturday, please share the kindness.
I wanted to share a recent Facebook post I had. Before we get to that, I need to clarify why I am sharing this. It is a great example of how we can both make a stranger’s day, thus improving our world just that little bit more. As a bonus, you will see how this also can improve your life as well. To recap – you will be improving a stranger’s day, making the world a little brighter place, all while giving yourself a great feeling! Forget a win/ win situation. This is a win/win/win situation!
Here is the experience I posted about several days ago.
Further proof that doing something for others can be the most selfish thing you can do. I’m sitting here writing ✍️ and a little old lady walks in. She looked overwhelmed, confused and a little bit scared. She had obviously never been to a Starbucks before. The manager patiently explained everything to her. After some initial confusion, she seemed to grasp it. As i listened, an urge overtook me. As the manager rang up her coffee ☕️ and doughnut 🍩, I said, “let me get this young lady’s order”
Not sure what possessed me to do so. I guess I didn’t want her to think a coffee shop, or the world was a scary place. Funny thing, she may have gotten a coffee and doughnut, but I got a really good feeling knowing I might have made her day better.
Do something kind for a stranger. It may be the most selfish thing you do all day. ❤️
Something as simple as helping an elderly lady who was scared and confused improved her day, my day and made the world a little brighter for both of us. You may think you are doing the other person a favor, but really you are doing yourself, and the world at large, the bigger favor.
The great thing is these opportunities are around us every day! All we have to do is begin looking for them. Holding the door for the person behind you. Returning your shopping cart instead of leaving it in the middle of the parking lot. Taking advantage of the countless volunteer opportunities. Do a good deed today!
My second conversation from my off day (if you missed the first, please check out last post it was amazing) occurred between my coworker Kelly and myself. Kelly was sharing how hard she works at sharing the journey and struggles of her sobriety with those who need it most. This can often be a very difficult path. When someone is dealing with the demons of addiction, it can be difficult to both admit and face. Those who have been through it themselves know that better than anyone. They know both the pain and fight that occurs every day, as well as the joy, health, and positive things that come out on the other side of fighting addiction.
When you offer someone a warning that their life is headed down the wrong path, even if done with great love, concern and tact, that person will often get defensive and the situation can turn downright ugly. This is not only true for addiction, but those in abusive relationships, those with self-destructive behaviors and a host of other issues that can ruin lives. When you are faced with a choice to say something and risk losing that relationship, or saying nothing and, by default, enabling their behavior, which of those you choose is up to you. My thinking is this. Kelly was being told by others not to mention anything. Even being asked, “How many lives have you actually changed by saying something?” Here is my thought on that. Which of these situations would you rather find yourself in? You say nothing, keep this person ‘happy’ and they end up in jail, or even dead. The second case is you tell them the hard truth, offer them not only tough love, but support, and they never speak to you and still end up self-destructing. Personally, I would want to know I did all I could.
I love this quote from one of my favorite poets. It reminds me of the second part of the conversation between Kelly and I.Understandably, she was really thinking about what she was told about how, despite all of her passionate and caring efforts, it seemed that it was having little results. I shared a story with her. Quite often, as a writer committed to helping people see the beauty and importance of their lives, I feel like I am falling short. Days, weeks and even months can go by without even a comment on some of the information and thoughts I share. My mission to leave the world a better place than I found it, can seem daunting at best. If I mistakenly turn on the news and see all of the hate and violence, it can feel like I am bringing a teaspoon of water to fight a house fire. Which is why I encourage everyone else to bring their teaspoon as well. The more people I reach and inspire, the more the world can positively transform.
While I am wrapped up in my own self-pity, feeling like I am yelling my encouragement and inspiration into an empty canyon, enter my lovely Margie. She reminds me of the time two people came up to me and told me that they were ready to end their lives and something that I wrote caused them not to give up hope. I can’t even relay that story without getting emotional as both Margie and Kelly can tell you. If, through the course of my journey, I never have anymore engagement from this blog or my books and podcast, those two people have made this journey a success. Funny thing is, I was not close with either one of this people. I planted a seed of hope and encouragement and it blossomed for them at just the right time.
I want to remind all of us that the good and love we put out into the world is like that. Whether that is Kelly’s effort to help those struggling with addiction, my efforts to bring a little light to what can often be a dark world, or you and the good you are looking to bring into the world. Remember we are planting seeds. It may seem as if all of our seeds are landing on soil that is not fertile, but some just take longer to blossom, just as some plants take longer to sprout. Many of our seeds may land on concrete and never grow into anything. How do we solve that? Here is my solution. If you want the same amount of crops, and half the seeds won’t grow, what do you do? You plant twice as much. You might want to read those last lines again. Plant as many seeds of kindness and love as you can. You might not be around when they grow into something beautiful, but wouldn’t be a shame if you never planted them at all?
Here is something that I am quite guilty of. It can be hard for a lot of people who are hard-driving folks. It was brought back to my attention while in conversation over a cup of coffee with my mother the other night. She inquired how things were going. I informed her this very blog you are now reading is now followed in over 200 countries. (Come on Greenland) and that made me very happy. I love connecting with and engaging with like-minded people throughout the world. Then I informed her I was a little frustrated that my podcast did not have a bigger reach. (feel free to listen and subscribe by clicking the link at the end of this post) She reminded me of two very important things. First, I just started it in July or August. Second, that it has already impacted several lives. It is not about the volume, but the quality of the impact that you bring to each individual.
With over 8 billion people now on the planet, I would like to reach, inspire and engage with as many as I can. Engagement is something that is always appreciated. Comments and hearing what people like, and do not like, about the things we share here only help us serve better. Margie is great for reminding me how many people come up to us and say, “I never comment, but I read your stuff all of the time.” Although frustrating, it is great to hear. Nothing makes me more motivated to write than knowing it is connecting with people and making a difference.
You do not have to be a writer for this to be true. When I helped at a local meal program, I did my best not only to serve up a hot plate of food for each guest, but a dose of respect, encouragement and inspiration. Rarely, did you get to see what a difference this made. It would have been far easier to just dish out the food and say nothing. One afternoon a gentleman came up to me and said, “This is the first time anyone has ever called me ‘sir’.” When you show kindness to anyone, but especially those who need it the most, it makes a big difference. As we approach the holiday season, this can be true with clerks in retail locations, servers in restaurants, package delivery people and many of the other workers that make the holiday season brighter for all of us.
We should not stop there. We should really show kindness to everyone we meet. We NEVER know all of the struggles people are facing. They may have lost their job, or are facing reduced hours and a struggle on how they are going to purchase gifts for those they love, or even keep the lights on. They may have lost a loved one, the pain of which is always amplified during the holidays. We may not see it, but who can put a price on the gift of a little kindness. Not only this holiday season, but all year long. Thank you for looking out for one another. Again, as my gift to you, I would love to invite you to subscribe to my podcast at the link below. We discuss a variety of topics and even break down sections of my book. Please click on the link below and give it a listen.
This post may be a little uncomfortable. For you, for me and for many of us. Many of us consider a life where we try to limit the hurtful and bad things we do, to be a good life. To some extent, this is true. Trying to do as few things to hurt your fellow man certainly makes the world a better place. Is it really enough? Voltaire reminds us in the quote above, that if we know of a good we could have done, but did not, we are guilty. Has there been a time when you know there was something good you could have done but did not? Maybe you did not have the time? Maybe you lacked the energy? Were you too nervous? Perhaps a little too shy? These are all true and valid reasons. Yet, if we deny some good to the world or our fellow humans, we are guilty as charged.
I know that I have been guilty of this as much as anyone. How many times have you thought about calling a friend or sending them a text message and then just became “too busy”? Meant to tell your spouse how wonderful they looked or made you feel, but then reconsidered it? Did you think it would sound silly? Maybe that they would not believe you? If you denied that good, you are guilty. I have worked my life to improve on this. I find when I have given all the good that I can in a day, that I can rest peacefully that night. Knowing that I did my best to bring all the good that I can to the world gives me a feeling of inner peace that is difficult to put into words. I am not always perfect, and I certainly have some work to do. I do my best to keep this quote of Voltaire in the back of my mind as I go through my day and would think it would benefit most of us to do the same
Remember, you are not only guilty of all the bad you did do, but also all of the good you did not do. Uncomfortable thought? Yes. It is still true. Let us take advantage of every good presented to us today.
I think it would be safe to say that most of us underestimate the effect we have on others around us. We hear a lot about emotional trauma people are still feeling from a hurtful act that someone did to them years ago. How many of us still carry around a hurtful memory of a cruel thing someone said to us? It seems painful emotions seem to leave more of a lasting impression. If we think long and hard enough, can’t we remember a teacher who believed in us? How about a meaningful compliment someone paid us that made our day? I do believe we need to put more emphasis on these for two very important reasons.
The first reason is that it helps us balance ourselves and realize that we can overlook a lot of positive experiences that occur in our lives. This can leave us feeling that life is far worse that it actually is. When we were young, when did we right in our diaries? Usually after a heartbreak or some very upsetting moment. As adults, we have to realize to record all of the peaks, as well as the valleys. This can leave us with a feeling of hope and optimisim.
The other reason we should put more attention on the positive inspiring moments should be obvious, but in case it is not, I shall explain it here. One of the most selfish things you can do is to do something for someone else. Why is it selfish? Because it leaves you with such a great feeling you often leave filled with even more joy than the person you helped. One of the greatest ways we can help is to just make as many people as we come in contact with a little happier. That could be through an act of courtesy, a genuine compliment, or another random act of kindness. If we did this for as many people as we can in a day, and each one gives us that feeling of joy, imagine how we would feel at the end of the day?
When you strive to bring light and joy to as many lives as you can every day, there are so many wonderful side-effects that occur. First, you find yourself more popular. People remember your name. Not because of what you did for them or said to them necessarily, but because of how you made them feel. When they do see you, chances are they will greet you with a smile and pleasant demeanor. Can you imagine if 90% of the people you encountered greeted you this way? If you strive to be the person who brings light and love to every situation, they will. Everyone likes someone who makes them feel good. Be that person.
I love this sign! It goes a great way to show how people respond kindly to you when you treat them positively. This is reflective in my own life. I can recall quite a few times when the fine folks working at the coffee shops have told me things like “This one is on us today” or thrown in a few little extra items for me. I attribute this, not only to their kindness and generosity, but to the fact that I always treat them with kindness and respect. Still, there is a small change I would make to this sign. I would have it read as follows:
“Small coffee!” = a small coffee
“Small coffee, please” = a medium coffee
“Hello, one small coffee please” = a large coffee
I would word it this way because I believe that the kinder you are, the more life returns to you. Let me be perfectly clear, paying less or getting more should not be your main motive for being kind and respectful to others. You should do that because, as Earl Nightingale used to say, that is how we ought to treat each other. If all the self-serving folks did decide to be kind because they thought there was more in it for them, I guess that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. For the rest of us, it is worth noting that life will return what we give out. It may not be from exactly who we give it to, or in the exact same fashion, but it will be returned to us.
Our life tends to be more positive and rewarding when that is how we are to the world. This is not terribly mind-boggling. If you are a fun smiling sort, people look forward to your presence and thus, treat you with more kindness and respect. Do this wherever you go and soon you will find kind people wherever you end up. “What about those people who are not kind to me even though I am kind to them?” I can hear some of you asking. First of all, those are the people who need it the most. They me broken in ways that we cannot perceive. Maybe they just lost someone they love, had a break up, told there job will be outsourced or simply were not raised with manners. Not only is it essential we lead by example, but the next time around they may remember the kindness we showed them and return the favor. Maybe they will simply treat the next person in line with a little more gentleness and thus we have still done our part to make the world a better place.
In life we are here to serve one another. One of the easiest, yet most important ways to do this is through treating each other with kindness and respect. It will not only improve and add joy to our life, but to the world at large. It doesn’t cost us a single dime, but the returns can be worth their weight in gold.