The 40-Day Random Act Of Kindness Experiment

Why not try doing 40 days of acts of kindness – we do this every day – hopefully this too will make your heart soar

To read the full article go to simple marriage / act-of-kindness

The world in which we live is often an isolated existence. Days can go by and no real meaningful contact with another human happens. If we choose, even in our densely populated cities, we can live life alone.

Even neighborhoods in the suburbs allow for individual existence. In the part of Texas where I live, in order to make the houses look better from the street, the trend is to have alley entry homes. While this may take the eye-sore of the garage door out of the picture, it takes the coming and going of people out as well. You can now leave your house, get in your car, leave and return without ever having interacted with the people you live amongst. And when you get to work, you can disappear into an office or cubicle, thus continuing an anonymous existence.

If you have times when you feel isolated and alone, I’d like to offer a possible solution. For 40 days, complete a random act of kindness each day for someone other than family members. If you’d like to take this experiment to another level, see if you can go 40 days in a row. Similar to the Complaint Free Marriage Experiment, if you miss a day of kindness, you start over at day one again.

What’s the point of performing acts of kindness for others?

Glad you asked.

It makes the world a better place. At the core, people are good. This part of us often seems to get covered up by our fast paced, “make it on our own” lifestyles. When you perform a kind act for someone, while you may help them feel better, you’ll feel better about yourself. You’ll also connect with another person for a brief moment, if not for longer. And if the other person passes on the kindness, it can multiply exponentially.

A Starbucks recently experienced a version of this. One morning, a person in the drive-thru kindly paid for the next driver’s coffee along with their own order. The next driver continued the gesture and so on. Over two and half hours this process was repeated.

Giving of ourselves is infectious.

When we give from the heart, we do so out of a joy that springs forth whenever we willingly enrich another person’s life. This kind of giving benefits both the giver and receiver. The receiver enjoys the gift without worrying about the consequences that accompany gifts given out of fear, guilt, shame, or desire for gain. The giver benefits from the enhanced self-esteem that results when we see our efforts contributing to someone’s well being. ~ Marshall Rosenberg

There is a great anecdote about Gandhi: While boarding a moving train one day, one of Gandhi’s shoes slipped off and fell upon the track. As he was unable to retrieve it, Gandhi – to the astonishment of his fellow travelers – calmly removed his other shoe and threw it down the track to where the first had landed. “The poor man who finds the shoe lying on the track,” Gandhi explained, “will now have a pair he can use.”

Unsure how to get started? Here are a few ideas to help:

  • Write a note of appreciation to your mailman
  • Compliment a stranger sincerely
  • Write a thank you note to someone
  • Look for something around you that can be fixed up, picked up, or attended ie, put shopping carts up, pick up some trash laying around, pick up something that has fallen over
  • Give a lottery ticket to a stranger
  • Send handmade cards or a letter to someone you care for
  • Write a note to management or someone who has treated you nice while doing their job (waiter, clerk, sales person…etc.)
  • When you go somewhere to get or do something, ask someone around you if you can pick up, drop off or do something for them while you do
  • Cut coupons out and leave them at the grocer register for others
  • Cut an article out of the newspaper that would interest a friend and mail it to them.
  • Leave have a nice day stickers at a front desk
  • Put together a writing kit with stationery, envelopes and stamps, pen and give to hospital/nursing home
  • Put a comment on someone’s webpage that you really like…… let them know you enjoy it
  • Send a card to someone in the military overseas
  • Start a conversation up with a co-worker that you don’t know
  • Leave something cheery or nice for all your co-workers (in spring bag of seeds, fun post its, fun office supplies)
  • Put change in a row of vending machines
  • Visit a nursing home. Spend time visiting with someone who doesn’t get visitors
  • Put something you no longer need on Craig’s list free spot for your area
  • Leave something for someone at an area where it most might be used, (lighter near smoking area, book in reading area, umbrella near door on rainy day)
  • Leave a book you have already finished somewhere for someone else to read.
  • Drop off a toy or game at a hospital
  • Drop off a toy or game at a homeless shelter.
  • At post office leave some extra stamps at the stamp machine.
  • Send a picture you have taken which includes a friend and send it to them with a note remembering when it was taken
  • Buy a phone card and give to a homeless shelter for them to give to someone.
  • Open the phone book, pick a name, and send them something (movie tickets, thank you card, you are appreciated card, book, etc.) anonymously.
  • Take flowers to a hospital ward and give them to someone who hasn’t had any visitors.
  • Take some cake, chocolates, flowers etc. to the neighbors, or a senior citizen nearby
  • Send someone a small gift anonymously
  • Make a cd of your favorite songs and give to a friend>
  • Donate one hour of your time if you offer a service for a living, or one product, or one seminar, or one class, or just one of whatever it is that you do as a gift to someone else.
  • Invite someone who is alone over for dinner.
  • Share a comic strip or something funny with someone else.
  • Leave a chocolate for a co-worker.
  • Write a note, send a e-greeting “just to say hello” to someone who might need a pick me up
  • Visit hospitals with smiles, treats and friendly conversation for patients.
  • Send a thank you to the employees at a hospital, or anywhere else that a cheerful thank might add a smile
  • Write a thank-you note to a person from your past who has made a difference in your life.
  • Offer to baby sit
  • Donate clothes to goodwill
  • Donate blood
  • Buy coffee for the person behind you
  • Help tutor a child
  • Get some groceries for a financially struggling family
  • Clean up gravestones at a local cemetery