A Rare and Wonderful Thing

“Kindness is a rare and wonderful thing.” A man told me this on the bus the other day, in complete shock after I paid for his ride when he didn’t have a prepaid ticket. The thing is, I believe he is wrong. Sometimes its hard not think that the world is full of nothing but selfishness, anger, hatred, and devastation. You only have to turn on the TV to see all these things every minute of every day. However, there is also positivity, courage, generosity, compassion and joy. This blog has given me the opportunity to “meet” incredibly inspiring and giving people from all over the world, all making it a better place in their own unique way. I believe that if you look a little deeper, the world is overflowing with kindness.

And I need your help to prove it. In just under four weeks the Year of Kindness will officially be complete. Crazy but true. There are just twenty eight kind deeds left until hitting the big 365. The Kindness Army is preparing to go out with a bang. The first way you can help is by using your amazing, creative, outside-the-box thinking to come up with kind deeds for the Kindness Army to spread maximum happiness. I have a few exciting plans for the last group kindness mission which I’m keeping completely secret from the Kindness Recruits, just to make it a little more fun. So if you have an idea please email me (yearofkindness@gmail.com) so we can keep it on the down low.

The second and most important way you can help the Kindness Revolution is to join it. The mission, as always, is simple: do something kind on April 5th, the very last day of the Year of Kindness. There are so, so many ways it can be done. Buy a stranger’s coffee, reach out to a lonely neighbour, talk to a homeless person, smile at someone and say hello. Make a connection. Brighten someone’s day. Remind them that kindness is everywhere. And it is wonderful.

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Kindness Army: Now Recruiting

“What this world needs is a new kind of army – the army of the kind.” – Cleveland Amory

Ten days from now, Wednesday July 13th, will mark 100 days since I began my kindness journey. Its crazy to think that as of today I have completed 90 kind acts already. It has also got me reflecting on what I was hoping to achieve all the way back in March when I first asked, Can Kindness Be Powerful? I wanted to challenge myself to walk the talk and ‘be the change I want to see in the world’. To stop complaining that there wasn’t enough kindness and start actively contributing to it instead. I also wanted to discover what impact this would have on myself and those I was kind to. Would I feel happier, more positive? Would others be grateful? Would they see the point? I wrote about all these things before starting the kindness journey but strangely enough I did not clearly articulate my biggest wish for this project: that it would inspire others to be kinder too.

The journey so far hasn’t all been smooth sailing – in fact there have been times when I have wanted to give up completely, but sticking to it has given me some amazing connections with beautiful people and allowed me to learn some life-changing lessons. I have performed big kindnesses that have resulted in big happiness. Lately however, real life has somehow crept in to take complete priority while kindnesses have taken a back seat. I have still completed a kindness each day – today, for example, I had a lovely experience microvolunteering on sparked (a way for “busy” people to volunteer a few minutes of their time and knowledge helping someone out with a worthy cause). And small kindnesses are still important and meaningful in their own way. But for my purposes I think its time to “take it to the next level”, to really challenge myself and make this project the best, most inspiring, most meaningful it can be. And I’d like your help. Yes, you! My plan is threefold:

1. The biggest week of kindnesses yet – I have almost completed all the kindness on my list, but this week I’m going to tackle the ones I have been putting off. These including giving food to the homeless, giving ten dollars to a stranger (inspired by Reed’s amazing Year of Giving), and (after a lot of mental preparation and positive affirmations) take two for giving away a bunch of flowers, one of the most challenging and meaningful kindnesses I have ever attempted.

2. Audience participation – Here’s my dream to celebrate 100 days of Year of Kindness: every person reading this blog performs a random act of kindness for a stranger on July 13th. Think about what would make your day a little brighter and do it for someone you don’t know. It does not have to be as big as giving away flowers or $10 (although that would be awesome), it could simply be writing a kind post-it note and leaving it in a public place. On the 13th I will be giving away flowers again, and considering how unexpectedly challenging this was the first time around, it would certainly give me an extra boost of kindness courage if I knew your lovely selves were out there in the world performing your own kindnesses too. And do let me know if you do, either by commenting or email: yearofkindness@gmail.com.

3. Guest bloggers – over the next few months there will be some amazing, inspiring guest bloggers contributing to Year of Kindness. They will be blogging about what kindness means to them and the change they would like to see in the world. Let me know if you’d like to be one of them!

Since you are reading this, I would say you are already part of the kindness army. Whether you know it or not you are probably already contributing to the kind, the positive and the good in the world. On July 13th, I invite you to take all your innate kindness, positivity and goodness and put it into one act to brighten the day of a friend you haven’t met yet. Go on, you know you want to…