Almost everyone has heard of the Pay it Forward concept based on a book of the same name by Catherine Ryan Hyde, that later became a popular movie. The main character tried to make the world a better place by doing three good deeds for others. All he asked for in return was that the recipients “pay it forward” by doing the same to three more people and keep the cycle going.
Random acts of kindness have the same kind of cause and effect by creating positive energy when we do nice things for others without expecting anything in return. Just knowing we have made a difference in someone else’s life – no matter how trivial it may seem – can be very empowering.
Research shows that kindness is contagious and can influence dozens of other people in different ways. It could be something as simple as letting a frazzled mom jump in front of you at the store, or giving another driver your premium parking spot. Or taking the time to let a restaurant manager know about the great service your waiter/waitress provided.
Other suggestions for random acts of kindness are:
- Giving a sincere smile to someone passing by
- Putting coins in someone’s parking meter so they won’t get a ticket
- Buying a lottery ticket for a stranger
- Leaving an inspirational book in a public area such as a bus stop or laundromat
- Running errands for an elderly relative or neighbor
- Paying for the person’s order behind you in the drive-thru
- Buying a cup of coffee or lunch for the homeless person sitting on the park bench
- Sending a note of appreciation to someone who has done something for you
- Calling a family member or friend to tell them how much you appreciate them
- Leaving a large tip for a food server
- Taking a meal to someone who is not feeling well
- Paying the toll for the driver behind you
- Writing a nice comment on a competitor’s website or blog
- Complimenting someone in front of others
Of course, there are grander gestures that you can do if your budget allows such as buying groceries for a neighbor, paying your little brother’s phone bill, or anonymously picking up the tab for the people seated at the next table.
Never underestimate the impact of a simple kind gesture. It’s a win/win because both you and the recipient end up feeling good. Plus, it helps you to develop integrity and deal with insecurity issues. No matter what hardship you may be currently undergoing in your life, remind yourself that everyone is fighting their own struggles. Be kind to someone today!