Self-Awareness 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal, You Never Know Where Their Influence Will End
Willard discusses a quote from H. Jackson Brown and explores the impact that good deeds and kind words have had on us, and offers ideas as to the difference that can be made in others lives by "Paying It Forward".
Today we're going to discuss a quote by H. Jackson Brown, "Kind Words and Good Deeds are Eternal, You never know where their influence will end”.
Can you remember a time when the kind words, or good deeds, or the actions of a friend or even a stranger, dramatically, impacted your life?
We really never know how our actions or what we do for someone, is going to affect that individual and even more, how that ripple effect will impact others.
To give you a great example of how powerful good deeds, or a simple act kindness can be, I want to share with you how the kindness of a stranger saved my life, and I believe also, because of what has happened since, the lives of many others. I was about 20 years old and I had gotten into trouble with the law, because I was drinking, using drugs and being totally irresponsible. After a drunk driving arrest, I was sentenced by the courts to attend AA meetings. I had no intention of going to these meetings to get sober or change my life, I was just going to avoid being put in jail. There was one specific meeting I went to which was in Glen Burnie, Maryland, and I came to the meeting with beer in my car, totally expecting that after the meeting I was going to go out and party.
At the end of the meeting, a stranger walked up to me and gave me a card with his first name and phone number on it. He said, if you ever decide that you TRULY want help, call me anytime.
Well, I didn't want help, and I never used his number. Fast forward to four years later; I had reached a serious low in my life, as some call it, I had "hit the bottom" and I was looking for some answer... for some kind of help, some way to stop the insanity I was living at that point. I was going through a box of papers and I found that card.
Now, the story would be great, if I said I called that guy and he helped me changed my life, but that's not how the story went.
This is why I'm saying we never know how our good deeds impact somebody. This guy never heard back from me, I never saw him again, and our interaction maybe lasted 1 minute at the very most. But the card that he gave me, when I was at my lowest point, gave me hope. His offer gave me a belief that there were people out there who genuinely cared, that there were people who were willing to help. And because of that glimmer of hope, that new belief that somewhere, there was one person... maybe there were more... I reached out and found some people who were willing to offer their help in changing my life. And because of their supporting me, because of his initiating it, I rebuilt a devastated life, and have gone on and made it my mission to help other people change theirs.
We don't know the impact we have on others. It's the ripple effect, you drop the pebble in the pond and the ripples go out. Every action has a reaction-whether you are there to see it or not.
Because of that one person reaching out to me my mantra has become, (and I modified this slightly from the card that the man I am speaking of handed me), that "I am responsible, whenever anyone, anywhere, reaches out, I want them to have the same support that I had, and for that I am responsible."
We're talking about self awareness in this course, and one of the things that I think that you will find is that every interaction that you have, happens for a reason. Every person that you meet, every communication and interaction you have is an opportunity. And it’s your choice how you're going to leave that interaction. Are you going to plant a seed that's going to help somebody? You know it can be so simple if we are conscious of our actions. Are you going to smile at somebody who is having a bad day? Are you going to help somebody with their groceries? You don't know what long term effect that's going to have. AND, that simple gesture could end up saving a life. I'm not trying to make it sound overly dramatic, but I really want you to think about it. I know for a fact that the simple gesture that man made to me in 1985 saved my life and others lives also.
Think back in your own life. Can you think of three or four "small" good deeds that somebody has done for you? They could be things as simple as someone letting you go first in line at the grocery store. Maybe someone stops to help you when your car was broken down. They could be small incidents, or major ones. Have you ever experienced a good deed when it has been done anonymously?
There's a little gift that I would like to offer to you. I want to share a thing I like to do from time to time as a possibility of something you can do also and experience the joy I get when I do it.
Every once in a while, when I'm in a restaurant, I'll make a deal with the waiter or the waitress that's serving me. I'll ask them to keep what I am about to do very quiet, and then ask them if any of their customers seem like someone who's having a really, really bad day. If they don't have anyone, I ask them to check with the other servers until we find someone who just really seems to be having a bad day. Then I ask them to bring me that customer's bill and I pay for that person's meal and I leave before they ever find out that It was me who did it. The deal I make with the server is that they are not allowed to tell customer who it was. All the server is supposed to tell them is that somebody wanted them to have a better day. The most it has ever cost me was $100 for a table of four, and often it costs less than $20. A small investment that is my little way of "paying it forward".
I truly don't know how this is going to affect the person receiving the gift. But my intention is that these "good deeds" give them hope when they're having a bad day.
Again, what I'd like you to do is to take a moment and think of three to four times in your life where someone has done small deeds or shared kind words that improved your day. Now, as you think of that experience notice if that had an impact on how you went about your day. When you become aware of how those little actions and a good deed have changed your life, you begin to become more aware of how you treat others.
The next thing I invite you to do is commit to doing two things in this next week out of a genuine desire to contribute to someone else. I also ask that you make one of these good deeds anonymous. Maybe you're going to make a contribution to a stranger like giving a homeless person money. Or maybe you know somebody who is having a hard time financially, and you buy some food and leave it on their doorstep. There are so many things you can do. I suggest for this exercise that you do at least two things. One where you actually interact with the person. And the other where you do it anonymously.
I really look forward to hearing your feedback on how this exercise affects you or maybe how you notice your good deeds affect the other person.
I wish you the very best and look forward to seeing you again here soon.
You can learn more about yourself and how to improve your life as well as others, by continuing on to our next free video in this series on Self Awareness,Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
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Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus
Introduction To Self-Awareness 101: To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1: The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3: To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4: The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7: Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9: Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10: Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11: The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12: Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14: Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15: Establishing Personal Boundaries; It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18: Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19: Personal Development Tests
SA 101 Episode 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21: The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22: Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24: Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27: Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29: Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30: Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31: Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32: Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33: Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34: How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35: Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36: Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37: What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40: How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41: Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42: How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43: How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44: Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45: Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47: Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48: Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49: Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51: Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52: The Final Episode