Little Acts of Kindness

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I assume that you have heard of Abraham Lincoln or Ghandi. If not, surely you have heard of Martin Luther King Jr. or Mother Teresa. These are the movers and shakers of the modern era, larger than life figures with sweeping positive impacts felt across the planet. If you are like me, these are your idols.

The trouble with idolizing the movers and the shakers is when you begin to compare ourselves to them. I look at my own life and all the benefits of I have received. Supportive friends and family, a secure job, and a general lack of traumatic events (despite what some of my crazy stories might suggest). With all these benefits, I have a tendency to hold myself to a high standard akin to the movers and the shakers. When I don’t achieve these results, particularly in the short term, I become crestfallen and feel I am squandering the benefits.

A little while ago, I had a two-part epiphany. The first is that Ghandi didn’t achieve everything he was known for in his twenties. Neither did Lincoln, MLK, or many other historical celebrities. These were individuals that spent their early years either confused or accumulating small wins, victories and changes prior to their more well-known accomplishments.

The second part is that while we all hear about the big changes; the small, less notable changes that the individuals performed were just as valuable to society. Tremendous value exists in the smallest of actions and while ending slavery and formulating a doctrine of civil disobedience will go down in the history books, these large actions were the culmination of many small acts.

How many private conversations did Lincoln have about the emancipation issue with his fellow countrymen? How many kind words did Ghandi provide to those seeking solace from their position in society. We will never know because these acts don’t work their way into the history books, but they are every bit important in shaping the world in a positive way and every bit as important in developing our identity as a charitable force.

The other day, I bought a busker that I sensed was homeless a hot chocolate. A small act of kindness and one that will likely be lost to time unless this blog works its way into the history books. This act was nonetheless important in promoting a more generous and socially conscious society and well within the reach of most of you, the readers. So the next time you have the opportunity to perform a kind act, no matter how small, you must take action! Do not be paralyzed by a sense of inadequacy in the face of larger individuals that give more. Give what you can and take solace in the fact that every act, no matter how small, builds a better world for all of humanity!

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3 thoughts on “Little Acts of Kindness

  1. Wonderful post. There are no “small” acts. Certainly, some acts affect greater numbers or are more visible, but the same intention is behind each of them. And, I suspect, when you continue doing “small” acts, you still effect a tremendous global change.

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