Once in a while I’ve seen or heard of surprise random acts of kindness like someone in the car-line at Starbucks paying for the next customer’s coffee. Usually their intentions are to create a spirit of infectious pay-it-forwardness. Unfortunately these generous and genuine “gifts” happen with regular seldomness as we continue to be an inherently self-focused society.
As this has been weighing on my mind, the other day at the gym I decided to act spontaneously and complimented a woman who was working clearly very hard at her goal of losing body fat and through all the pain and sweat still looked radiant. I told her “I just wanted to tell you that you look radiant and keep up the good work.” Her first response was one of suspicious caution, so I quickly added “I don’t think any of us give or receive enough compliments lately.” At that, she graced me with a huge smile and said “you’re right. Thank you, I’ll have to pay that sentiment forward.”
There’s no denying that it felt good and I resolved to not only offer more unsolicited complements but to issue a challenge to my friends, clients and blog followers.
Buying a stranger coffee, or helping them out when they’re short at the checkout counter is great, but more than money, we need to lift each other’s spirits more. There’s a lot of negativity out there, and a lot of hectic life being rushed through without stopping to smell the roses or, more aptly in this case, appreciating each other.
Rather than wait for a situational catastrophe (whether personal or global), let’s show our compassionate, giving sides when there’s no reason to do so other than to brighten someone else’s day, and in turn brighten our own.
So here’s the challenge: A weekly random act of kind words.
Once a week offer a tactful, graceful, and sincere compliment to a stranger. While you could certainly perform this act daily, I felt that it carries more impact upon your week if you do not over-use the gift, so it remains special. (Of course if it is to a person of the opposite sex, that’s why I caution to be tactful and sincere – this is not an invitation to hit on someone and come off creepy.)
Let’s do this together for eight weeks (two months) and see what kind of results return our way. Like a pebble dropping into a lake, I suspect the ripples will be profound and wide reaching.
I welcome your comments either here in the response area of my blog, or on my facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/danelifefitness).