Yesterday you did two tiny things that were kindnesses to yourself that should be easy to keep doing and that should do nothing but contribute to your self worth. Eating even slightly better food is clearly an improvement, as is respecting yourself enough to want your space to reflect a healthy interior. Now that you’ve treated yourself well you want to stop thinking about you and start thinking about others again.
Today we’ll add two more tiny things to your day. These will often seem too small to matter to people but again, I remind people that buckets are filled with drops. Waiting for huge changes takes up a lifetime. Making small incremental ones is that slow and steady progress that wins this non-race called life.
The first change will be to your environment for the rest of your day–where you go to work, where you volunteer etc. You need to find a kindness there. Maybe it’s bringing in high quality coffee for the staff machine so everyone is enjoying their morning just that little bit more. Maybe it’s hanging a piece of art, or getting everyone involved in a charity. Some small positive change at work, that’s it. It can even be as small as you making sure you greet everyone with eye contact every day.
Next you’re going to tackle your environment. This can set a great tone too. Maybe it’s about the health of the environment. I saw a man in a suit stoop down and grab a paper cup in a parking lot and he threw it is in the trash on his way into the mall. Behind him an unrelated little boy of about four saw him. He then found a piece of paper and he then mimicked the man by putting the paper in the garbage. I see this sort of leadership all the time.
Do you see how this positivity chains out? That one guy’s decent action lead to another one. The kid ended up inspiring me enough that I went out of my way to find some trash to throw away too. My city has a million people in it. How amazing would it look here if every single day just half of those people managed to garbage 500,000 things–a day?
That would obviously add up to a huge difference. Even if you take out weekends, that’s 130 million pieces of trash. What would that weigh? Clearly that would matter right up until people were so used to it being cleaned that they never threw anything down in the first place. In which case we can then shift our change-a-day energies to something else. Now this change can be something like picking up one piece of garbage a day, or it can be doing one small favour in traffic per day.
Again, just imagine: half a million or so drivers all doing one small favour per day. We would feel that. Every city would feel friendlier. Everyone would get to work in a better mood. And like with the kid with the garbage, it will chain out. People will see one person do it and they will too.
Decide for yourself. They can literally be anything. But your assignment today is to find and enact your two commitments–your two ongoing changes. Let one person into traffic, always offer to water the plants at work. Or pick up one small wrapper, and then offer to run the Corporate Challenge team. Give someone your seat on the bus and then collect and ensure that no one’s birthday gets forgotten about at work. Start making a list of your tiny changes and makes sure you hit each one each day. You will start to feel good about that.
It doesn’t matter what you choose–that’s the point, we’re all individuals and we’ll all do different things based on our own histories. But all of those actions done in your city and elsewhere are what adds up to a better world that’s easier to feel good about. Get your oar in the water. As I’ve said before, if we all sweep in front of our own door, the whole world can be clean.
Assignment: Two things. One for co-workers or schoolmates, the other for fellow citizens. Two every workday. Go.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.