September 13, 2012 by Michael Vuke
A couple of weeks ago, I started the Random Acts of Kindness Project. Essentially it is a challenge to myself to every day do something nice for someone else that is outside the parameters of what I normally do. I decided to start doing this because I was tired of going through life thinking of myself and how I could do things to help me out. In looking at the Bible and at others people I admire, I saw a trend of doing selfless acts of service and kindness to others, and decided to emulate it.
What have I learned so far?
It is hard being kind.
Seriously. It is a lot harder than you would think to go out of your way and do something selflessly kind for someone. I hate to admit it, but instead of doing something every day, I’ve probably been doing a RAK every other day, max. If I’m brutally honest, it is probably more like a couple of times a week.
This isn’t to say I’ve been a Scrooge the rest of the time, it is just that I didn’t do something outside of my normal life that didn’t benefit me directly and did benefit someone else on those off days.
You have to be intentional.
I have had the most success on days that I went into with a general game plan for how I would serve someone else. Even if all the preparation you do is going into the day with a mindset of service, you’ll notice a difference. If you go around in your normal mindset, you’ll only do normal things.
One interesting phenomena that has arisen is something I wouldn’t have predicted. As I started looking out of for opportunities to help others, I found myself focusing on myself. I kept finding myself forcing myself to stop looking for something that would look good to others. The whole point of this is to selflessly serve others, not to put feathers in my hat. It is a little twisted, but as I strived to rid myself of a self-centric mindset, the self started climbing up more.
Maybe I’m just noticing what has been hiding under the surface all along.
That is one of the things I like about living minimalistically—the less clutter you have in your life, the harder it is for things to hide. But that’s a topic for another post.
I’ve learned all this from just a few weeks, and I’ve got a long ways to go. Come along for the ride—join me in the Project, and share your experiences and lessons you’ve learned with the rest of the world.