How many acts of kindness do you carry out in a day? As you go about your busy life, you probably perform more random acts of kindness than you think. That’s what I realized when I read Linda Cohen’s 1,000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire, and Change Your Life.
Pay it Forward: Change the Toilet Paper
In a chapter cleverly titled “Change the Toilet Paper,” Linda discusses how the little things you do can make a big difference is someone else’s day.
“Keep your eyes open and be aware of what your neighbors, friends, and strangers are going through. It’s an opportunity to pay it forward in your daily life.” Throughout the book, Linda shares examples of the simplest acts of kindness that we can all do with minimal effort.
- Change a roll of toilet paper in the restroom. (Nobody likes to get stranded!)
- Tell a manager about an employee’s exemplary customer service. (You complain when things go wrong, don’t you?)
- Listen to people you meet with an open and giving heart. (Listening is a powerful gift.)
- Try spontaneous giving. (It’s really quite addictive.)
- The next time you’re at the gym, get someone a towel.
- Assist someone by carrying their groceries or packages.
- Let someone go ahead of you in the checkout line.
- Scoop your poop! (No one wants to step in it!)
- Call upon an elderly neighbor.
- Thank someone who impacted your life.
- Accommodate someone else’s schedule.
- Befriend a parent on a plane. (It could make all the difference in the world.)
Simple, right? It’s even likely that you perform these or similar kindnesses every day without even giving it a thought. It’s even possible that by doing them, you inspire others to pay it forward.
The Story Behind 1,000 Mitzvahs
When her father died, Linda’s busy life came to a screeching halt. She took a spiritual sabbatical to work through her grief and came out of it ready to embark upon a project: perform one thousand acts of kindness — mitzvahs — to honor her father’s memory. The book follows her journey from sorrow to inspiration through simple daily acts of kindness.
During my two and a half years of performing mitzvahs, I discovered that, aside from the moral virtue of doing kind acts, being kind is good for your health and happiness. The giver of kindness receives as much benefit or more than the recipient. I learned firsthand that it truly is better to give than to receive. From the beginning, most of my mitzvahs were simple and duplicable. I didn’t set out to save the world. I don’t even profess that any of my 1,000 small actions stand out as particularly important or life-changing. But I will assert that each of them made a small impact, and that cumulatively they have changed my life. [...]
My hope is that others will copy my idea. Ideas are meant to be shared, and it would give me no greater pleasure than to know that someone else has benefited from my story. This mitzvah project taught me the key to living well: Be in service and give of yourself.
To learn more about 1,000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire, and Change Your Life visit: 1000mitzvahs.org
Photo credit: istockphoto.com
Disclosure: At my request, a representative for the author provided me with a copy of the book for the purpose of writing this article. I made no agreement to write a positive piece nor do I have any financial connection to this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255.