“Help thy brother’s boat across and lo! Thine own has reached the shore.”
— Hindu Proverb
Technological advancement in today’s society has brought us closer together in ways that our ancestors couldn’t even dream of.
We live in a digital world; just short of being virtual ourselves — everything around us continues to get smarter, faster, and more connected.
Online relationships are a reality, customer support is digital, business channels are digital, and even our conversations with each other tend to live in the digital world.
The trend in our society is for people to be separated from one another.
In the past, people walked the streets, greeted each other and at times would stop for a quick chat. Now we have cars!
The more connected we are in this new digital world, the less connected we are on a personal level with one another.
Emarketer found that In 2019, time spent with media by US adults will average 12 hours, 9 minutes per day
And while I am not against technological advancement, it is obvious to me that spending most of our waking hours on media is having a profound effect on our face-to-face human interaction.
So take a step back and reconnect with others on a personal level.
The absolute best way to do this is by doing random acts of kindness.
Helping a fellow human being, while inconvenient at times, has many positive advantages:
- Makes you feel happier. Even more than if you were giving to yourself.
- Makes others feel grateful for your existence at least for a moment, if not for life.
- Heps you connect with others, even if just for a few minutes.
- Improves the life of another person, even if only momentarily.
- Passes energy of selflessness to others.
- And if the kindness is passed on, it can have a profound effect on many people’s lives.
So take a few minutes today and do something kind for someone else. It can be something as small as putting a smile on someone else’s face, or something as big as buying groceries for someone in need.
Unsure of where to start? Below is an incomplete list to get you started — I’m sure you can easily add to it if you put your mind to it.
1. Call a charity to volunteer
Lookup the phone number of a local charity that resonates with you and ask if you can volunteer some time.
If you don’t know of any, visit Volunteer Match and find the best volunteer opportunities near you.
Volunteering is one of the most amazing things you can do.
2. Say hi, be friendly and smile
You never know what other people are going through and sometimes simple little things like this can put a smile and warm feelings in another person’s heart.
3. Donate things you don’t use
This is one of my favorite ways to give back to society.
Once a year I go through my things and give away everything that I longer use.
I’ve given away clothing, furniture, electronics, cookware, sports equipment, shoes, bedding sheets, artwork, and much more.
You might think that just because you have no use for something that it’s completely useless, but what you consider trash, could be someone else’s treasure.
I do my best to find people that I can directly donate my items to, but on rare occasions, I just make a box and take it to a Salvation Army or Goodwill store — every little bit helps.
Donating things not only helps you by decluttering your house, but it can also provide less fortunate people with things that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford.
4. Buy food for the homeless
I am not an advocate of giving cash to homeless people as they sometimes use it to cause more harm than good to themselves.
However, every individual needs to do what feels comfortable for them in the moment.
Buying a hot meal, a sandwich, or something similar is a good gesture.
It’s important to be mindful of people’s needs and ask if they want the food you’re offering. Don’t just assume that they haven’t eaten all day or that they’ll like whatever you’re offering.
Homeless people are human beings just like us who have their likes and dislikes just like you and me.
So be mindful of their needs and show that you actually care.
5. Donate your blood
107 countries have insufficient blood to meet their needs.
You never know when your blood will save someone’s life.
Be selfless and know that you’re making a difference in someone’s life even if you don’t know who that person is.
6. Hold the door for someone
I am amazed by the reactions of some people when I open or hold a door for them. Especially that of older pepole who seem to think it’s a lost art in today’s society.
It’s also interesting seeing how caught up pepole are in their own lives not to notice the gesture.
Regardless of the reaction, simple gestures such as holding the door for someone or picking up something they dropped goes a long way.
It shows that someone noticed them and cares enough to help. Simple things like these can make someone’s day and you’ll feel better about yourself for doing so.
7. Visit the elderly
Without the stimulation that social interaction and friendship provide, an isolated elder can experience poor health, a lack of strength and energy, depression, and other physical, emotional, and mental health problems. Weekly visits from our friendly volunteers can change all that.
Human interaction is critical to our well-being.
Especially at an advanced age when you are no longer able to care for yourself and living in a nursing home away from friends and family.
Some seniors have the benefits of having friends and family around to take care of them, but many do not.
Show kindness to those that came before us by visiting a nursing home and spending time with an elder.
Don’t worry about coming up with activities to do together, just being there is enough — also many nursing homes will provide you with a list of activities that you can do with the person you visit.
8. Share your talents
Do you have a special talent?
If so, offer to do a free workshop at a low-income community center or battered women’s shelter.
Help people by broadening their capabilities as human beings.
9. Become a mentor
Could you think of one problem that you struggled with at a younger age that could have been easier to get through if you had a mentor who understood your situation?
Many of us are blessed with great families and superb upbringings, but many of today’s younger generation have few people that they can lean on during tough situations.
Become a mentor and help them cope with life.
Below are two mentoring programs you can consider if interested:
You can also seek opportunities to become a business mentor by taking a young entrepreneur under your wings.
10. Lend your ear
Have you ever been through a tough situation and felt like venting out but couldn’t find anyone?
It can be frustrating. Often times, people are sad, depressed, angry, or frustrated and just need someone who will listen.
Venting and talking through an issue with someone is a huge help.
Lend your ears to a person in need.
11. Donate money
There are plenty of good charities out there that are creating positive change in the world.
There are many ways to donate to charities online, or in your local community. Instead of buying yourself a new cell phone or a pair of new shoes, spend that money in a more positive way.
Help people by making a donation to your favorite charity.
12. Read to children
Reach out to your local library and find out about their story hours — many libraries look for volunteers to read to children.
They may also have programs where you can teach children how to read, write, play a musical instrument and so on.
Reach out and help the future generation of your community.
13. Bake something
If you enjoy cooking, bake something and donate it to a local homeless shelter.
Even if you don’t like cooking, go online, find a simple recipe and donate the results to those in need.
Another thing you can do with this is to invite a friend in need for dinner. They don’t need to know your reasoning, just be selfless and help them out.
14. Babysit for a friend
Not everyone has money to pay a babysitter to take a break and relax.
If you have a friend that seems to be struggling and could use a small break from parenthood offer to babysit for them.
Even if they decline your offer, they’ll be grateful to you for caring.
15. Rake, shovel or clean for a sick neighbor
Sickness is a part of life that we must deal with.
Sometimes it’s just a quick headache, but other times it can be things that put us in bed for a few days.
Next time one of your neighbors gets sick offer to rake, shovel, or clean for them.
You can even do their shopping, laundry, walk their dog, or anything that you feel would make their lives easier.
16. Visit someone in a hospital
Contact a hospital near you and find out if they have a program that allows you to visit patients.
Take the opportunity to ask about their volunteer programs as you might find other volunteering opportunities that could interest you.
Visiting a stranger in the hospital is one of the most powerful ways you can help a fellow human being.
17. Redirect gifts
Instead of having people give you birthday or Christmas gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a certain charity.
Everybody loves receiving, but what you’ll find out by doing this is that it feels so much better to give than to receive.
18. Help someone get active
Chances are that you know a few people who want to get healthy that might need a helping hand.
Offer to walk or jog together twice a week. Maybe even do a sporting activity that you both enjoy or perhaps joining a gym together.
Your push might be what that person has been missing. Once they get going, it can have profound effects on their lives.
18. Send a nice email
Show your appreciation for someone by calling or sending them a nice email.
Something simple letting them how much you appreciate them, or congratulating them on an accomplishment, or just saying thank you for being a friend.
This simple act of kindness can make someone’s day and they might just make yours in return.
19. Send a greeting card
Put a smile on someone’s face by sending them a greeting card.
Below are a few helpful sites for programs that allow you to send greeting cards to hospital patients:
Only takes a few minutes out of your day to put a smile on someone’s face.
20. Foregive someone
If someone does or has done something mean to you find the courage to forgive them.
Holding grudges isn’t healthy for you so forgiving someone isn’t only good for them, but can take a huge burden off your shoulders as well.
Keep in mind that people say things in the heat of the moment that they might not really mean. Forgive and enjoy the peacefulness that comes with it.
21. Say “thank you”
Simple, yet powerful. Saying thank you to someone shows that you care, notice, and appreciate something they did for you or somebody else.
Be grateful for everything other people do for you and show it by saying thanks.
22. Let someone skip you
If you’re standing in line at the grocery store with a full basket and someone behind you only has a few items let them jump ahead of you.
Don’t be jumpy with the pedal while at a stop sign — allow another person to go first.
You get the drift. These simple acts of kindness can make someone’s day.
23. Show appreciation, publicly
Praise someone you know on your blog, in front of friends and family, in front of coworkers, or in any other public way that you can think of.
This is a great way to make someone feel better about themselves.
24. Be there
You know — sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is being there.
When someone you know is in need, sometimes it’s just good to be there.
Sit, listen, and talk to them. Help out in any way you can.
True story: a friend of mine lost his brother back when I was 22. Never met his brother but I went to his funeral and stayed there with my friend the entire time — I tended to avoid those types of situations so I didn’t really say much, but years later he would still thank me for being the only friend that was there for him through the entire ordeal.
I didn’t know that my kind gesture was going to leave such a long-lasting impression on him. I simply did it because I felt like it was the right thing to do even though I had no idea what to say to him or anyone else that was there for that matter.
Be selfless and be there for someone in need.
25. Visit an inmate
Many prisons have programs that inmates who are trying to better themselves can sign up for in order to receive visitors.
Some people end up in jail for simple crimes, while others commit heinous crimes. I don’t condone any type of criminal activity, but sometimes all someone needs is encouragement to get on the right path.
Call the local or federal prison nearest you and find out what programs they have available which you can use to help an inmate.
26. Leave a big tip
Do you have a favorite restaurant that you always go to? if so, next time you visit leave a big tip for your waiter.
You can do this at a drive-through as well. Most people working in fast-food restaurants make minimum wage and rarely get tips.
Next time you buy a burger give a nice tip to the person who attended you.
True story: I used to love eating at Panda Express. One day I went in and bought the same $7.79 meal that I always get and paid with a $20. I gave everything left over to the lady that attended me and she was in disbelief.
Long story short, I went by the same restaurant a few months later as they were closing and the same lady was still working there — she basically told me to take whatever I wanted because they would be throwing away everything that was leftover. Free of charge!
I never do things expecting something in return, but when things come back full circle like this it makes me warm and fuzzy inside :).
27. Send someone flowers
Send someone you know flowers for no reason.
You can give it to them in person for an added touch… do expect jaws to drop, hugs, and kisses.
You can give them a gift card from their favorite restaurant or department store as well.
Anything that you feel can bring happiness into their life.
Written by Piero Ferrucci, this book’s premise is that your acts of generosity and decency are the secret to a fuller, more satisfying life. Kindness is not some squishy virtue but the very key to your own happiness.
A Ted Talk by Holocaust survivor Werner Reich in which he shares how a small, kind act can inspire a lifetime of compassion.
Written by Shaunti Feldhahn, this book takes you on a 30-day kindness challenge that will transform the way you interact with others.
Have you ever helped a fellow human being? if so, how and what did you feel?