Yesterday we did two tiny things that were kindnesses to ourselves that should be easy to keep doing, and doing it should do nothing but contribute to our self worth. Eating even slightly better food is clearly an improvement, as is respecting ourselves enough to want our space to reflect a healthy interior.
Now that you’ve treated ourselves well, we want to stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about others again.
Today we’ll add two more tiny things to our 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 our environment for the rest of our day–where we go to work, where we volunteer etc. We need to find a kindness there.
Maybe it’s bringing in high quality coffee for the staff machine so everyone is enjoying their morning java 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 us making sure you greet everyone with eye contact every day.
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, walking with his Mom, saw him. He then found a piece of paper and he mimicked the man by putting the paper in the garbage. His Mom expressed a lot of pride and the kid loved. If we’re watching for it, we’ll see this wonderful sort of leadership all the time.
Do we see how positivity sends beautiful karma out into the world? 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. (And now I’m writing this for you, too. All from one little cup.)
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? I know I’m starting today.
That would obviously add up to a huge difference. Even if we take out weekends, that’s 130 million pieces of trash. What would that weigh?
Those acts would create an effect in society right 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 by doing one small favour in traffic per day. It doesn’t matter how we improve the world. It only matters that we do.
Again, just imagine: half a million or so drivers or transit riders 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 echo in society. People will see one person do it and they will too.
Ultimately, it would best if we decided for ourselves what to focus our attention on. We can choose literally be anything. But our assignment today is to find and enact our two commitments–our two ongoing changes.
Let’s let one person into traffic, or 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 our seat on the bus, or collect the dates and ensure that no one’s birthday gets forgotten about at work.
We should each start making a list of our tiny changes and make sure we review old ones as we add new ones. It can be a breakfast ritual. Hit each one each day. They’re tiny, like throwing one gum wrapper away, or letting one person into traffic, or making eye contact.
Even that small stuff will lead us to start to feel really good. And people will also generally be kinder to us in response to both our actions, and our good feelings.
It doesn’t matter what we 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 our cities and elsewhere are what adds up to a better world that’s easier to feel good about.
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.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.