Kindness To Strangers: 3 Ways To Go Out of Your Way

“Wherever there s a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.” It does not matter whether it is a sibling or stranger, friend or foe. Unfortunately, many are kinder to animals, and even inanimate things, than to a person.

That is not the way to live.

In this post, I share three ways you can go out of your way to be kind to strangers you meet every day.

Everyday opportunities to act kindly abound. To recognise and take these opportunities you must see that every meeting with a person, familiar or stranger, whether by design or chance, is an occasion to show kindness.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca’s quote above could not be more apt.

For many, myself included, it is easier and natural to do a kind act for family and friends, than to show kindness to that person we meet randomly as we bustle through the day.

Here are three ways you can show kindness to strangers.

1. Stop to ask to give a ride.

On your way to and from work, you can stop to ask people waiting by the road for public transport for anyone going your way. You don’t have to wait to be stopped. Particularly, I look out for the elderly, school children, women carrying babies and anyone with heavy items to carry. It does not matter whether the person(s) can afford the transport fare or not. But I do this when I know I have enough time to arrive work or wherever I am going on time.

2. Give a ride to the person’s destination.

If you can help it go the extra mile to drop the person you gave a ride to at his/ her destination. Trust me you are not going too far. There are times when I have taken people to their destinations. Mostly, their destination is not too far from mine or a little out of my way. A couple of times it was way out of my way.

3. Pay the transport fare.

I have been a beneficiary of this gesture twice. One time I left my wallet at home, and only realised it when I was asked to pay my bus fare. A guy overheard me when I was sharing my plight over the phone with a friend. Graciously, he paid my fare. I have had the priviledge to extend the same gesture to others. Sometimes, it’s a similar situation like mine. Other times it is an individual asking for a discounted transport fare or help (from the public transport driver or the conductor) because he/ she does not have enough or a kobo at that moment.

Being kind to strangers does not come easy. I struggle. Most times it is not convenient.

Being kind is not without bad experiences. I have been ignored when I stopped to ask to give a ride (some find it unusual or suspect); or been late for work or an appointment due to heavy traffic on the route to a stranger’s destination.

Notwithstanding, being kind is always worth it.

Every day, look out for ways you can help to make another’s day somewhat better. It is one way you can make the most of your day.

What tips for showing kindness to a total stranger would you add? Leave a comment.

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The Delusion of ‘When I Have the Time’

To do anything worthwhile, the chief struggle people face is finding enough time. Maybe you can identify. I sure can.

The fact stated above brings to mind my blog.

Oh my blog.

If you were a baby you would have been dead, from starvation and neglect. The lack of vital nutrition from new posts would have nipped your life. I did not give you even the chance to regurgitate and enjoy the benefits of republished posts.

It’s been a hundred days! All I have to show is a couple of drafts that seemed worthwhile at the time. Though promising, turning them into posts seems so daunting.

Why won’t you be stunted.

But for the random visits and occasional comments you would have passed for dead. These flickers of life reflected on the stats page tell the tale, not of your resilience, but of your ebbing life. Thankfully though, it’s not all flatlines.

I have denied you the opportunity to grow – with fourteen missed meals!

You are dying. Because I am not writing.

You see I have been striving lately to make the most of my time everyday. My efforts seem futile. One of the things that suffer is my blogging.  I am so busy I keep saying, when I have the time.

As expressed above, it’s been 100 days since my last post. In that time I missed fourteen blog posts – I blog once a week. In reality, this is me passing up the chance to improve as a creative, and the priviledge to achieve my goal – inspire people to personal development and authentic living.

I love to write. I have a message. Writing is the outlet; this blog a platform. But why is it so hard to do that which one believes with a strong conviction is worthwhile?

With some introspection I realise my bane is procrastination, fed fat by the delusion of lack of time NOW. I kept saying, ‘When I have the time.’ Day in, day out.

Two people bolstered me into action. Their statements roused me from the mind-numbing, continuous chant of ‘When I have the time’.

John Meese from Platform University said, “The future is really busy. That time you think you are going to have … well, it will only exist if you create it.”

A friend posted on Instagram,

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In spite of the reality that there is so much demand on my time I keep putting off blogging, I resolved once again to create the time I need to blog. Quitting is not an option. Since making a difference with my writing and blogging is very important, I have moved it up my list of priorities.

And this post was born.

I have always known that I must create time for anything I deem worthwhile, but like Steve Covey said, ‘Common sense is not common practice.’

It is most likely you are also struggling to find time to do something you desire – work out, write a book/ read books, start a blog etc. You must create the time. Many out there are getting things done and achieving their dreams. They have 24 hours in a day, just like you and me.

“The future is really busy. That time you think you are going to have … well, it will only exist if you create it.”

Prioritise. All the things that demand your time cannot be equally important. Focus on the one thing, or few things that are most important to you. Set aside time and get it done. You may fail at it. More than once. But don’t be tired of failing. Don’t quit!

It won’t be easy. But it is possible.

Have you experienced the ‘when I have time’ trap? How did you escape from it? Share in the comments.

Resolutions: Do They Suck, Or We Suck At Keeping Them?

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Every year millions of people make resolutions. Only to fail, miserably, at keeping them. By December, it is reported that, fewer than 10% will succeed as resolution-keepers. Maybe you and I will ‘carry the vote’ as part of the majority. According to Statistic Brain, only 68.4% of resolvers are currently (after two weeks) keeping their resolutions.

Depressing. Isn’t it?

We make resolutions out of the desire to change, positively and progressively; we fail because change is difficult. It is stressful and hard.

This is why many hold the opinion that resolutions are bound to fail, and not worth the trouble.

F.M. Knowles says, “He who breaks a resolution is a weakling; He who makes one is a fool.” — F.M. Knowles.

Joey Adams prays, “May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions!”

Since our efforts, despite our best intentions, will be futile, why make resolutions? Why bother when we will ultimately fail?

The fresh-start effect. This is the reason we keep making resolutions, even though we cannot keep. There is something magical about a new year – the promise of a fresh start; the feeling of been given a new lease of life. Most of us are like the optimist who Bill Vaughn says, “stays up until midnight to see the New Year in.” We believe “Opportunity is born with each new year.” (David Mas Masumoto). So every January 1st we shout “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” (Oprah Winfrey)

The first of January pulls with the kind of attraction insects have for light at night. Unfortunately, we get singed, long before December 3

Do resolutions suck? Or, do we suck at keeping them?

Michael Hyatt, one of my mentors on blogging and leadership, believes resolutions suck. In a recent episode on his podcast, Lead to Win, he gives five reasons why. He says resolutions, unlike goals are:

  • Vague: They are desires that are not actionable. They fail to answer the question ‘how?’ If say, you want to get better grades. How much more effort (study time and/ or style) do you want to put in and/ or adopt? How will you know you have achieved it? This goes in line with the first two in the SMART acronym, Specific and Measurable.
  • Boring: Not exciting, compelling and challenging enough to move you to act. Compelling goals are “either spiritually meaningful, intellectually stimulating, emotionally energizing, or physically challenging.” Also, motive/ motivation is key here. It begs the question ‘why?’ Motivation should come from inside. When it is external, the resolution is less likely to be achieved. Take losing weight, the most popular New Year resolution, for instance. Is the reason healthy living and being there for loved ones, or to fit in to society’s mold?
  • UnRealistic: It is not a typo. Michael believes resolutions suck when they are realistic – too easy to achieve. He says research has shown that the tougher the goal, the more the excitement and motivation, the better the performance. Instead of being realistic, set goals that get you out of your comfort zone. However, he warns that in the bid to ‘not be realistic’ we should not be delusional. Be ‘realistically unrealistic’. (Just kidding. I’m not sure if there’s there anything like that). The point is don’t make it too easy for yourself, else in the long run you will underperform. Ironic right.This bucks the ‘Achievable’ and ‘Realistic’ taught in the popular SMART acronym.
  • Overwhelming: This is in terms of focus or number of resolutions, and also relevance. It is overwhelming to make too many resolutions. A few at a time is better. It can also be overwhelming when we set goals without taking cognizance of our current reality or phase of life. For instance, it will be difficult for a breastfeeding mom to keep a resolution to get more night sleep.
    In this context be realistic.
  • Easily Forgotten: As life happens, we get busy and forget things; even important things like goals. And life happens to us all. Since we tend to get busy and preoccupied at the expense of the things that are critical to our personal and professional success, Michael suggests that our goals should be kept visible. Out of sight, out of mind. To prevent this you must review your resolutions regularly. How regular depends on you – fortnightly, monthly, bimonthly etc. Set up a reminder – mark your calendar, make an entry in your diary, whether it is digital or analogue.

Action Point

Turn your resolutions into goals. You can do this by writing down a clear and specific statement, that is compelling enough to excite and get you out of your comfort zone, without you being overwhelmed. Feel free to add and/ or delete. Remember to review it regularly.

So, do resolutions suck, or we suck at keeping them? Tell me what you think in the comments.