It’s that time of the year when everyone is thinking about their New Year resolutions and what they should do for 2013.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia
I’d like you to consider maybe looking outside of yourself and creating resolutions that give to others, here are some of my ideas:
Make a stranger smile | Give a stranger one of your smiles; it might be the only sunshine they see all day
When you walk down the street look at someone and smile at them, almost always they smile back, it’s a lovely thing to pass on and costs you nothing, but goes a long way.
I used to have a 1.5 hour commute to work and couldn’t believe how many unhappy people I would see stuck in the traffic. I decided to make up a little kit bag with things like, giant ears, giant glasses, big teeth, wigs, signs saying “I love you” and “smile”. I’d then look for sad looking people, don my giant ears and hold the “smile” sign up. The response was so exciting, seeing people go from looking sad to laughing; it really made my day as well as lightened up theirs I’m sure.
Pay it forward | We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give
Give a book to someone you think would benefit from it on the provision that when they have finished it they pass it onto someone who would in turn benefit from it too. On a blank page in the book I write one word that describes what I got out of the book, encouraging others to do the same.
Volunteer your time | It is when you give of yourself that you truly give
Make a difference in the world and consider giving your time to a local charity. The rewards are great! There are many skills charities need such as computer skills, graphic design, cooking, sales, customer service and drivers. Try going to the Go Volunteer site , you’ll be surprised at the plethora of opportunities they have available to you. Remember these words of Mother Theresa if you do decide to volunteer “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
Unconditional love | Love your partner, family and friends for who they are but more importantly for who they aren’t.
Too often we can look at our loved ones and get frustrated with their faults. Consider taking a new approach of loving them for who they are not, embrace their flaws and focus only on what you can do to improve yourself other than what others are not doing to meet your expectations. It’s amazing how as you live your greatest self, you inspire others naturally to find their best self within.
Don’t sweat the small stuff | Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength and joy.
When you feel stressed and feel like things are not going well in your world, simply ask yourself “What impact will this situation have in my life in 10 years’ time?” You will find that real issues will show themselves and have your focus and what you thought were real and major issues will pail in significance. Two things you shoould never worry about are the past and the future; try to live in the present.
Be nice | The measure of a person is how they treat someone of no consequence to their life.
A teacher once gave a class a final exam question of which most students could not answer it , the question was “ What is the name of the cleaner in the school?. When a student asked if the question would count towards the final grade the teacher responded “Absolutely! In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello”. Take time to go the extra mile and know the cleaner’s name, the waiter who serves you – the people you may take for granted or consider ‘invisible’ every day. I have learned so much from amazing conversations I’ve had with people such as local villagers, taxi drivers and cleaners. Their jobs may be considered menial by some but what they have to give to you in life experience could help transform you into a better person; you never know, give it a try.
I now live in Bali, a country with immense poverty but filled with the wealth of culture, community, faith and love. I have learned so much from the Balinese people and what is truly important in life. They seem to handle every situation with a smile, it is indeed infectious. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you this year.