Have you ever thought life would be a little sweeter if you could just be a little nicer ? Here are five kind things you should aim to do:
1. The “Help a stranger load the box into their car”
You’ve scored a pretty sweet parking spot near the entrance to Bed Bath and Beyond. As you modestly stroll towards the entrance you notice a 50ish year old woman pushing an air conditioner sized box in a shopping cart toward her not as luckily parked car. Your mind immediately wonders: How heavy is that box? How old is this woman? How strong is this woman? Did she notice my huge muscles hidden beneath this pea coat? This is when your newfound kindness interrupts and tells your not-so-in-a-hurry self to just help someone else. Sure, maybe she could lift it on her own. Sure, maybe you didn’t factor this extra 4-7 minutes into your afternoon, but hey, you helped someone out. Made their day a little easier. You’ll be happy you did.
2. The “Pay for the person behind you”
Okay. This is something we’ve all thought about but probably have never done. And to be honest, it’s a little more difficult than you’d think. It’s the ole’ buy the coffee for the guy behind you trick. We know what you’re thinking: What if I offer to pay and the person refuses? Or even worse- what if they take advantage- order twice what they would have otherwise ordered? We think we’ve got it figured out. Optimal situation: you’re at a drive through, or in a line where the person behind you has already finalized their order. Important: The person should also be out of ear shot. You nicely tell the cashier that you’d like to pay for the person behind you. You do. You leave. No need for over the top thank yous, or drawn out interactions. You’re not trying to BFF this person, you just wanted to do something nice for someone else. Your coffee just got a little sweeter.
3. The “What ever will I do with all of these coins?”
It happens to everyone. You buy a $1.02 coffee with two dollar bills. The dreaded $.98 cent change handful. For most of us, the coins end up on entryway tables, bulging up wallets, or lost between couch cushions. How about this: find two zip lock baggies or small tins, one for your car, and one for a convenient, near-the-door spot in your house. At the end of each day, take the spare change you compile and drop it into one of these containers. You’d be surprised. Even for those of us who claim we “never have cash”, those coins find their way to the bottom of our purses. Twice a year, combine the car and the house change bags and donate the amount you’ve collected to a charity. Heck, pick a new charity each year. No donation is too small, and what can we say? Ding ding ding, tax write offs never hurt either.
4. The “I’ve got an hour or two to kill”
Volunteer is the name of the game. You meet people. You help people. You do good for others. There are countless ways to do it: nursing homes (a great way to hear stories of yore), children’s hospitals (sing-along anyone?), dog walking (so worth the poop pick up), soup kitchen (bringing out the line cook in all of us). In marketing or design? Volunteer to help with the creation of an event, or a food and wine festival. Do whatever strikes your fancy, and would help others. Feeling awkward? Bring a friend! Make it a date night (anyone not willing to volunteer is just not worth your time…am I right?!) Need suggestions? Call your local Chamber of Commerce. They’d love to hear from you.
5. The “Like my grandma always says..”
You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. As cheesy as it sounds, its as easy as a smile. Someone bumps into you while dodging an umbrella spike on a rainy day sidewalk? The “vinegar” you would scoff and roll your eyes. The new, sweet “honey” gives the person a reassuring smile. Someone needs to make a left turn onto a busy street? Give them the go ahead wave and let them pass. Not just because you’d hope someone would do the same for you, but because it’s the nice thing to do. Give good to the world, because it’s contagious. Spread positivity and kindness instead of grump and cynicism. The beauty of the world starts with you. THE TIME IS NOW!