“What we put out, inevitably makes it’s way back to us. Whether those things are good, bad, negative or positive – they all make their way back to us over time.” – Josh Hinds
My hope is that you really gave a little thought to the quote above rather then chose to read over it as quickly as possible. If you’re like most folks (and me at times), I do hope you’ll go back and read it again. In my humble opinion, it’s that important 🙂
What got me itching to write about this topic again was that I was watching the movie Pay It Forward earlier tonight. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out if I do say so myself. The basic premise (at least that I get from it every time I see it) is based on the idea that by doing acts of kindness for others, even people we don’t know, we have within us the power make a big impact and even change the world around us for the better.
I’m certain that some of you reading this, I’ve just completely lost with that last statement 🙂 – I’ll admit at first glance it might seem a little to good to be true, doesn’t it?
There was a point in my life where I have to say I might have discounted my own statement. And even at times in my life, when things happen that don’t appear to be making sense to me I admit it can be easy to discount it as well. However, it’s just about the time that I’d find myself doubting the power of random acts of kindness that I tend to become the receiver of someone else’s. Perhaps this is something you can relate to yourself?
I’m always reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Zig Ziglar every time I give serious thought to the idea behind random acts of kindness… Zig Say’s, “You can have everything in life you want, if you’ll only help enough other people get what they want.”
Now one could make the case that there is a difference between Zig’s quote and the importance behind random acts of kindness. After all, isn’t that the point? That is that the acts of kindness be completely random? That is, we do them without any direct expectation. To this I would say, you’re exactly right. I would however take it a step further and say that Zig’s quote is in fact more deep then the way you may interpreting it.
How so you ask?
Well, the way I see it, Mr. Zig Ziglar is suggesting we actually make the idea behind the quote the quote a lifestyle. A lifestyle in the sense that everything we do is built upon service to others. Not serving others only where we might see a direct or immediate benefit. That is the point at which I believe both ideas meet. You see, in both random acts of kindness & choosing to lead a life built on serving others. We put ourselves into a natural state where the things we send out (i.e. give freely to others) naturally come back to us in some form or another.
In both instances, the point is not that we’ll benefit directly, but so that others will. The ironic thing is that it’s through our giving without expectation that we are rewarded in ways often beyond what makes logical sense. You can refer to this as the law of reciprocity – which is perhaps best, explained by the idea that we are paid back for the good we do.
Unfortunately, the flip side is also true. We are very often re-paid for the negative and bad things that we put out as well.
If you doubt this take a minute to really give thought to times in your own life, and I’m certain you will see numerous examples where you’ve benefited as result of your sharing your kindness or good gestures with others.
Now that we’ve touched on the ideas behind – and importance of practicing random acts of kindness, I’d like to share a few ideas you might consider trying for the next few days.
Action Ideas for positively impacting others…
1. Consider sharing your smile with another person. Yep, I’ll admit this sounds simple, but you can’t imagine what a positive impact a friendly smile can have on another person, until you’re the person that’s the receiver of one 🙂
2. If you happen to go through a place such as a tollbooth, or something along those lines consider paying for both you and the next person in line. The idea here is that the other person doesn’t even know you did it. Remember, we’re talking about random acts of kindness here.
First, the person will be completely surprised. And since you’re not doing it in front of the person, there’s no chance for them to feel put on the spot or anything of that nature.
This sort of random act of kindness also has the power of being carried on several people down the line. Imagine how you would react if you get to the toll booth, and find that someone in front of you paid for you, without even knowing that person, much less expecting it. The chances are good that you’d pass along some kind act to the next person you come into contact with isn’t it? Well, guess what? Most folks feel the same way as you would 🙂
3. Send a card – something as simple as an unexpected card can make all the difference in the world. You don’t have to write a novel here. Short and to the point can be incredibly powerful. Simply let them know you wanted to stop what you were doing to write them and let them know you appreciated them, and why.
4. Consider leaving positive and encouraging quotes to people that sit down in the seats (or at the table) you’ve just left. The idea here is to be anonymous. Don’t leave your name or anything like that. Simply share a positive thought or quote.
You might even consider making 3×5 cards with positive quotes and sayings on them that you can leave at random places through out your day. Again, the idea is to be totally anonymous with them.
Think about how these things might have a positive impact on you. Would they give you a smile? If you were at a point in your day where things weren’t quite up to par might they be just the ticket to give you that needed positive jump start?
See, that’s the point. Random acts of kindness.
These are just a few ideas that you might want consider doing. I hope you’ll make up some of your own ideas as well and begin as soon as possible the act of putting good out there for others. Everyone benefits … the other person, the people they come into contact with, and ultimately you.
Finally, to illustrate the point I’d like share the following story with you…
There was a man that was walking on the beach one day when he came across a place where a number of starfish had been washed upon the shore. He noticed there was an older man who was feverishly running back and forth trying to put the starfish back into the ocean.
The younger man after watching the other fellow for a while said to him, don’t you know you can’t possibly save them all? Why are you wasting your time like this? To which the older man, after putting another starfish back into the ocean replied, “It made a difference to that one”.
Here’s to your success,
* Josh Hinds is the author of Why Perfect Timing is a Myth: Tips for Staying Inspired and Motivated Day in and Day out! and It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG!
-what are some examples where you’ve seen acts of kindness make a positive difference?