As we all zoom around from place to place, trying to make our mark on the world, and work toward our vision of success, it is very easy to fall into the black hole of our own existence.  Although the world is more linked than it has ever been, people are becoming less connected to each other.  Communication has been decreased to what we can say in 140 characters or less.  If you find you are more comfortable having a conversation by text than face-to-face, it’s time to take a technology break and get back into the real world.  By being more connected as human beings, we will build our “kindness skills”.  Here are some simple things you can do to become a kinder person:

1. Pay for the person behind you in a drive-thru or at a coffee shop.

It not only makes the person receiving the free food or coffee feel special, it also brings the cashier into the kindness loop by being the bearer of good news.

2. Instead of getting defensive or angry the next time someone is rude or inconsiderate to you, express compassion for their situation.

You never know what others are going through.  In his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey tells this story:

One Sunday morning on the New York subway, people were sitting quietly reading newspapers, lost in thought, or sitting with their eyes closed and resting.  It was very peaceful.  Then a man and his children entered.  The children were so loud and rambunctious the entire climate changed. 

The man sat there with his eyes closed, oblivious to the situation, as his children were throwing things, knocking people’s newspapers, and yelling.  Everyone became irritated quickly.  Still the man did nothing.

I couldn’t believe he could be so insensitive to let his children run around like that and do nothing.  Finally, I turned to him and said, “Sir, your children are really disturbing everyone.  I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?”

The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly, “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”

3. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. 

Let them know that you have been thinking about them and that you’re sorry you haven’t been in touch.

4. Leave small gifts for strangers in random places. 

On a rainy day leave an umbrella at a bus stop, or leave coupons scattered around the grocery store for others to find.

5. Shop for someone who is homebound or ill.

Even if your neighbor isn’t homebound, when you’re running to the store, ask if they need anything, especially if the weather is bad.

6. Let someone into traffic who looks like they are in a rush. 

Even if they don’t look like they’re in a rush, let them in anyway.

7. Donate your used books or magazines to your local library.

8. Praise someone at work for doing a good job.

To make it even more meaningful, do it in front of others, especially the boss.

9. Offer help to an elderly or handicapped person struggling with something at the grocery store. 

So many people treat the elderly or handicapped as if they are invisible.  Acknowledge them, get an item off a high shelf, smile, and offer some small talk.

10. When you finish mowing your lawn, mow your neighbor’s lawn.

11. Leave money in a public place for someone to find. 

Don’t just drop a few pennies.  Leave a five or ten dollar bill.  Don’t think about where the money will be spent, it is about spreading kindness, not controlling how your kindness is used.

12. Stick up for someone who is being wrongly treated or bullied.

13. Take a look at some powerful stories making a difference on 1dollar1home.com and support one of the causes :). 

What do you think? Do you have any suggestions? Please comment below and lets add on!

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