We live in a hurting world, and it can be easy to think that nothing we do could possibly make a positive difference in any meaningful way.
But that’s simply not true.
The reason is because of something called the ripple effect. Studies have shown that when we witness a kind act, no matter how big or small, it inspires us to look for ways to be kind too.1 Likewise, when someone is kind to us, we are often more inclined to pass that kindness on to others because of the way it made us feel when it was given to us. The effect is like a single drop of water sending ripples out far beyond its own small size.
So simply smiling warmly at a stranger you pass on the street could inspire them to spread that little bit of love to someone else in need—and on and on it goes.
In fact, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility to think that one kind deed you did 20 years ago is still being passed around the world today.
Here are 25 simple ideas to help inspire you to make your community—and the world—better one small gesture at a time.
- Send a good-morning text to a friend.
- Make a point of complimenting everyone you meet.
- Make an appointment to donate blood and encourage friends and family to do the same.
- Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while to check in.
- Send a handwritten letter or card to a loved one.
- Pick up litter on your daily walk.
- Offer to run an errand for a new mum, someone recovering from an illness or a senior who can’t get out easily.
- Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru line.
- Donate your time, money or in-kind items to a local shelter, food bank or soup kitchen.
- Leave the biggest tip you can when you run in to grab your morning coffee.
- Put your phone down and really listen to a friend or family member who wants to talk.
- After you rake your leaves or mow your lawn offer to help your neighbour too.
- Bring in a treat to share with your coworkers.
- Write a letter thanking people in your life who have made a positive impact or helped you in some way, even if it was years ago.
- Let someone cut in front of you when you’re driving.
- Praise someone’s good work in front of their employer or boss.
- Tweet out, or leave positive reviews about businesses when you’ve had a good experience with their product or customer service.
- Try to support small, local businesses.
- Pass on nice things you’ve heard said about friends or family members.
- Leave money in a vending machine for someone else to find.
- Ride your bike to work or to run errands instead of driving to help reduce traffic and pollution.
- Donate items that you no longer want to charities who will distribute them to those in need.
- Return a grocery trolley that’s been abandoned in the parking lot.
- Comment on the good behaviour of other people’s children.
- Send a dessert to another table anonymously.
One of the most wonderful ways to change the world around you is to donate your time to a local charity in need, and Foresters Financial members have many opportunities to do just that. Foresters Community Grants give member families the chance to organise and host their own local community volunteer activity, and the Foresters Care grant allows members to quickly make a meaningful difference in their community with a one-time grant of £200 to put towards an immediate need.
The next time you think, “Nothing I can do will make a difference,” remember this poem by Edwin Osgood Grover:
“I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”