Random Acts of Kindness

I recently read an small article about a man by the name of Bob Votruba and his mission to spend the next ten years visiting college campuses throughout the United States promoting the concept of Kindness.  I was so struck by the incredible spirit of this man and his mission that I wanted to know more about him.  I found his website (www.onemillionactsofkindness.com) to get a better sense of what prompted him to make a decision like this.  Like so many of us that are struck by the negative impact that our American soul/mind fabric has been dealt with since September 11, 2001, Bob’s motivation was a calling to affect a change from a negative consciousness to a more positive one.  He saw a way of affecting this change of consciousness through the young adults of this country.  Thus, his mission to visit all the college campuses in the United States and promote the idea of a million acts of kindness was born.   It appears that his message is being embraced by the students he meets, as well as, countless others he’s encountered along the way since he began his journey the Summer of 2009. 

His message of kindness is probably one of the most important ones we must all embrace and consciously apply in our day to day dealings.  Not only is an act of kindness beneficial to the person being given it to but the provider gets the even bigger benefit in their lives.  Acts of kindness provide us with the biological hormones that render our bodies with a feeling of happiness (oxytocin) and inner peace.   Small acts of kindness are easy to do when we feel we know the person, feel good about the person and have a sense that they would show similar acts of kindness toward us.   But what Bob’s mission is about is showing acts of kindness to the virtual strangers we encounter everyday of our lives.  An act of kindness can be smile, it can be an acknowledgement to someone unprompted like a “hello”.  An act of kindness are small gestures like opening a door for someone, asking if you can help when it appears they are having some difficulty (like carrying something heavy or looking for something on the ground or looking for a room number).  An act of kindness means providing a dollar or two to the guy or gal with the “homeless looking for food” sign on the off ramp of the highway.  An act of kindness is buying a couple of extra cans of food and delivering it to the food bank.  An act of kindness is cleaning out your closet and donating still good clothes and shoes to your local charitable organization.  An act of kindness is slowing down to let the guy in the next lane merge into yours.   An act of kindness is holding off your temper when a guy merging into your lane does so without your permission. 

Imagine how wonderful the world would become if we ALL embraced an attitude that our lives would be consciously lived showing acts of kindness to everyone we meet.  Does this concept seem too far fetched?  Does it sound like too much work to try changing our normal way of being?  Or does trying to promote a more kinder gentler attitude toward our fellow man actually sound good to you?  So, how do you go about doing this?   One way is to just make the decision to be consciously kind just once each day for a week.  Then increase this goal to two times each day, etc.  Soon being kind will become a non-thinking habit.  I think you’ll be very surprised to find a reciprocal world showing you continuous kindness when your behavior becomes more infused with this attitude or way of being.

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