Being selfish is easy.
It comes naturally. Being selfless on the other hand, well, that’s a bit more difficult. In our busy, non-stop workaday world, it’s hard to pay attention to the needs of other people. The tendency is to keep our heads down, narrow our focus, and deal with the things that are most important to us. As a result, life can become a bit self-centered.
But it really doesn’t take much to open our eyes and do something on behalf of another person. Some people believe in giving money to charity. And while that is extremely admirable, it can also lack a certain sense of the personal touch. Kindness doesn’t have to be big, either. The small things really count. Holding the door open for a complete stranger, picking up a piece of litter on the street and tossing it in the garbage, or making funny faces at someone’s kid just to make them laugh. Simple is great.
The other day, standing in the checkout line at Target, a man offered to let me go before him, because I only had one item. After I paid the cashier, I took the opportunity to thank him for being so cool to me. He didn’t have to do that. Few would. But that one little gesture made a huge impact on me. I didn’t know that guy from Adam, but I sure do like him. He made my day.
And that’s the point. It is so easy to make a positive impact on another person by practicing random acts of simple kindness. But it does take a concentrated effort. You can get creative too and really have fun with it. One of my all-time favorites is paying for a complete stranger’s meal at a restaurant, and leaving before they know anything about it. The fun part is imagining their reaction when they get their bill and are told some whacko already paid for it. That would totally blow my mind.
Finally, at the risk of sounding selfish, being kind to another person has a way of bouncing back and making us feel good, too. Try it out. It really works. Be good to someone else in some random, seemingly insignificant way today. In fact, you might even consider buying me lunch sometime. That would be awesome.