Paying for the person’s order behind you in the drive-through might not seem like much, but little acts of kindness can leave a lasting impact and spark significant change. But maybe you struggle with this idea. Perhaps you think you’re just one person. How could you possibly make an impactful and lasting difference in the world?
I would say it starts with the smallest of actions:
- How you speak about your friends and colleagues.
- How you treat customer service workers.
- What news stories you share with people.
- What brands you choose to support.
- How you talk to yourself.
However, if you resist the idea that small actions can lead to significant change, let me ask you something. Why do we have best-selling resources like Atomic Habits to teach us that making small, intentional changes can lead to significant, lasting results?
What if we applied this idea to how we used kindness in the world? What if we believed small acts of kindness could really create lasting change?
Why Random Acts of Kindness Are Important
Kindness Can Change People–For the Better
As the saying goes: Hurt people hurt people. This means some of the most irritating and offensive people in your life are deeply hurting, and they might be taking it out on you. What if, rather than lashing out or harboring anger, you reached past the hurt to share an act of kindness? How could that change the narrative in this hurting person’s life?
Kindness Makes People Feel Happy
Whether you are the one performing, receiving, or witnessing an act of kindness, studies show that you will feel happier from it. This works because acts of kindness produce more happy hormones in your body, such as oxytocin and serotonin. So, scientifically speaking, acts of kindness can improve your overall wellbeing and emotionally impact those around you.
Kindness is Contagious
Kindness is one thing we don’t mind spreading to others. And evidence shows that one act of kindness can lead to a domino effect. There’s even a documentary about how kindness is contagious. When people witness kindness, they feel compelled to act and give back. And you can light that first spark, no matter where you are.
Acts of Kindness That Changed History Forever
The idea that one act of kindness can change the world isn’t new. It’s proven itself in history before. Here are just a few examples to mention.
A Man’s Dream Inspired Racial Justice
Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most outstanding examples of what kindness can accomplish. He led peaceful protests with bold compassion to unite all people and fought for racial justice when it seemed audacious for the times. He valued human nature at its core and yeared to see people judged by “the content of their character” rather than the color of their skin. His passion swayed the public to make incredible changes in Congress, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Although prejudice still exists today, the work of Martin Luther King Jr certainly paved a path in the right direction toward equality.
A Patient Teacher Who Improved Public Services
Ann Sullivan lovingly mentored Helen Keller and taught her how to communicate despite her deaf and blind handicaps. Because Keller’s parents hired Sullivan, one could argue that she was motivated by the money. However, Sullivan didn’t need to stick around. If she considered the job too challenging, she could have left. It took a person with immense kindness, patience, and diligence to teach and mentor Keller. And, because of Sullivan’s great heart, Keller could share her experience with the world, which introduced significant advances in public services for those with disabilities.
Countless Nonprofits Change Civil Policies For The Good
The heart-led leaders of mission-driven organizations didn’t necessarily intend to start a nonprofit. Instead, many of them began with a single idea of making the world a better place. Still, their call to show kindness sparked movements that are transforming the world as we know it. Just look at Habitat for Humanity, Doctors Without Borders, and Feeding America, to name a few.
Yes, you might be one person on this earth. Even so, you have the power to ignite global change through a single act of kindness. History shows that it’s possible, and we know that history tends to repeat itself.
You cannot know for sure how your kindness will impact someone’s life. Because of this, living a life of kindness takes immense faith and courage. It’s a high calling, but one that makes us uniquely human.
I must believe that choosing an act of kindness will create a lasting impact. I may not see it now, and I may not ever see its lasting effects. However, every drip in the basin of kindness will add to the growing reservoir, and someone will feel the ripples–eventually.
“To change the world, we must be good to those who cannot repay us.” ~ Pope Francis