October 7 2013 was the first ever Project #365Aware Unexpected Kindness Blitz. Hundreds of people committed to doing random acts of kindness for those around them!!! Please take this as an invitation to join in and do the same.
To learn more about what the blitz is and possible future dates, skip down to “The Blitz“. To learn more about Project #365Aware, click HERE or keep reading for the Reader’s Digest version.
The goal of Project #365Aware is to make doing good things the norm. Being nice should not be dependent upon how easy or comfortable it is.
There are 6 billion+ other people on the earth besides you or I. Out of all of those people in the world, you will never know most of them, their stories, joys, struggles, or even their name for that matter. So why even try to learn those details about anyone?
I love the story of the little boy walking on a beach with miles of beached starfish. The starfish are destined to dry out and die because they cannot get back into the ocean by their own power. One at a time the boy proceeded to throw starfish back into the ocean. It was obvious he would never be able to throw them all back in, and a bystander approached the boy and asked why he cared? Why even try? There was no way he could save them all. The boy’s response, as he picked up a starfish and threw it back into the water, was simple but meaningful: “I made a difference to that one.”
Maybe going out of your way to say hi to someone you don’t know and genuinely wishing them a good day won’t change anything in their life. But why is that any reason not to do it? Why care about someone you’ll most likely never see or come in contact with again? Why not care? What if a friendly action is just what someone needs that day and that is exactly the reason you were by them at that specific time? It may not be likely, but it’s also not impossible. We are on this earth with so many other people. It would be selfish to not be so aware as to acknowledge that they exist.
Many people have been talking to strangers around them for the past month. Those stories are shared daily on Facebook and Twitter. People have also begun sharing the kindnesses others have done for them. I hope to gather many many more stories in order to have undeniable proof that there is still good in the world.
I’ve realized that being aware of those around us doesn’t always need to be a verbal exchange. This is why I started the Unexpected Kindness Blitz.
“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change. Kindness that catches us by surprise brings out the best in our natures.”
As my favorite brand in high school, Volcom, always had on their tags “The only constant is change.” When people change, the world changes. If that change is bad, the world becomes worse. If that change is good, the world becomes better. The world will continue to change no matter what. The goal here is to make sure those changes are good. That means we, as the human race, need to continually change for the better. While there are many ways to change for the better, this new initiative will focus on being unexpectedly kind to those around you.
The Butterfly Effect
Ever since I read The Traveler’s Gift, I have given a lot of thought to the concept of the “butterfly effect.” Basically it is a concept that small events can have large, widespread consequences. For example a massive hurricane could have been caused by a tiny butterfly flapping its wings far away. This is similar to the metaphor of a small snowball rolling down a hill getting larger and larger as it rolls. However, the butterfly effect is different than the snowball metaphor in one way: the real meaning of the butterfly effect is not that we can readily track such connections, but that we can’t. To claim a butterfly’s wings can cause a storm, after all, is to raise the question: How can we definitively say what caused any storm, if it could be something as slight as a butterfly? (Excerpt from a boston.com article)
Being nice to someone is great for all involved but the coolest thing about unexpected kindness is that those who receive it often feel inclined to pass it on. Changing one person for the better could easily become changing many people. most of the time you’ll never know what one small act of kindness could end up doing or how many people it will touch. It can’t be tracked and that is why it is so cool.
It’s one thing if we make looking for ways to give unexpected kindness a daily thing, it’s another when a group of people unite in the cause, and it’s something entirely different when all those people do it at the same time. The effects of today’s kindnesses will never be known, but we can be sure they will be great.
Multiple acts of kindness close together don’t go unnoticed. Who cares if you’re nervous. If you never do what you’re nervous about doing, you’ll never do anything worthwhile. The things we’re most nervous about doing often lead to the best things in life. Find that feeling and feed it. Feed it often.
If one tiny butterfly flapping its wings can cause a hurricane, imagine what could happen if hundreds of butterflies flap at the same time. We’ll never know everything that happens as a result of this, and that’s why it’s so exciting!