Mahatma Gandhi once said,
"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do."
In recent years, it's common to see his wisdom written in a slightly simpler way: "Be the change you want to see in the world."
It's an inspiring notion - that all human progress starts with us. Fortunately, February is the perfect month to "be the change we want to see." That's because February 11-17 is Random Acts of Kindness Week!
The definition of a random act of kindness is a "non-premeditated action designed to offer kindness towards the outside world" without any expectation of reward. It's a simple, easy way to brighten someone's day - and sometimes, it starts a chain reaction. A person who receives an act of kindness often feels inspired to pay that act forward to another person and so on.
No one act can change the world on its own, of course. But when you pile one act on top of another, on and on and on, there's no limit to what can be accomplished.
Here are some ideas on how to perform random acts of kindness:
- Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru
- Let someone go ahead of you in line
- Buy extra at the grocery store and donate it to a food pantry
- Buy flowers for someone (postal worker, grocery store clerk, bus driver, etc.)
- Help someone change a flat tire
- Post anonymous sticky notes with validating or uplifting messages around for people to find
- Compliment a colleague on their work
- Send an encouraging text to someone
- Take muffins to work
- Let a car into traffic ahead of you
- Wash someone else's car
- Take a gift to new neighbors and introduce yourself
- Pay the bus fare for the passenger behind you
Of course, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of ways to show kindness to someone. The beautiful thing about this list is that each item is just so eminently doable. Most only take a few seconds or a few dollars.
This year, I've decided to participate in Random Acts of Kindness Week. My hope is that by doing so, I can begin to change my personal nature - and by extension. the nature of the world around me.
Have a great month!