Have you ever heard the phrase, “pay it forward?” It’s one of my favorite things to do to improve my attitude. It’s very difficult to be worried about your own struggles while doing something for somebody else at the exact same time. I first heard of this phrase when I saw the movie by the same name about a boy who launched his own goodwill movement. Since then it’s been used in many contexts as a way to describe doing something nice for others. In the movie, the little boy does a favor for three people, asking each of them to “pay the favor forward” by doing favors for three other people, and so on, branching out a tree of good deeds.
My favorite expressions of “pay it forward” includes the spontaneous element. I am a collector of sorts when it comes to creative ways to generously surprise a stranger. Try paying for the Starbucks customer behind you in line or put a few extra coins in an expired parking meter, possibly helping the driver avoid a ticket. I always believe these efforts send their own message of putting kindness out to the world. Here’s a fun one…buy a handful of scratch off lottery tickets and leave them behind for people as you go about your day.
The concept of expressing generosity does not have to cost money and takes very little time. The next time you are in a restaurant let the manager know the server did a good job. Giving a compliment to someone on their outfit can immediately be a mood booster for you and for them. The unexpected smile you give when you pass a stranger impacts their troubled day on levels you may never know, but they will. Creating small gestures makes a big impact on others and ripples outwards.
Let’s kick off a pay it forward challenge! Starting today, surprise three random people with three acts of kindness. You’ll be amazed how good you’ll feel and you can’t even imagine how those on the receiving end will feel. However big or small a contribution you make, it all helps in ensuring we’re able to bring as much happiness and joy to the world as possible. Thanks for being the change you want to see in the world.