“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” ~Proverb
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to contribute to the world somehow. I’ve always dreamed of starting a charity organization. I bet that, just like me, you walk around with some sort of wish in your heart to change the world in some way, but you might not do anything about it. How come?
My excuses were time, money, fears, and not knowing how to go about it. I’m guessing you have similar hindrances.
Until recently I held on to the limiting belief that someday, one perfect day, when I’m done being busy with pursuing my masters degree, working my current part-time job in a call center, and raising two small kids under five, I’ll follow my heart and contribute to this world. Someday.
It’s a myth!
Through my job in a call center, I witness lots of tragedies that happen to people, and they’ve been wakeup calls for me.
I’ve understood something life-changing: all I really have is today. And I better make it count.
So I made a conscious decision, a choice, to throw all my fears away and start spreading happiness.
I thought, I might not be able to start a charity now, but I can take a tiny step and start as a volunteer in some existing organization. So I joined hospital clown project, where I do the small, practical stuff for them.
I also decided to spread happiness around my inner circle—my husband, my two kids, my family, friends, and colleagues, with small things.
I make their day brighter with pancakes, a hot cup of hot chocolate, or just by patiently listening.
I’m guessing you’re questioning this hippie approach. I am too, but give it a chance anyway!
I got inspiration from this story I read somewhere that I thought was powerful in its simplicity.
There was once a female traveler who always carried two bags with her, anywhere she went. In those bags she had flower seeds. Anytime she traveled or walked by a new place, she would throw these seeds around her. People wondered why she did it.
“It’s a lifetime habit of mine,” she explained. “I’ll probably never come here again, but by spreading the flower seeds I leave something beautiful behind that people who come here can enjoy. It doesn’t matter that they don’t know me personally. All that matters is that by doing this, I’ll make someone happy.”
What if we had this philosophy in life?
My grandmother also inspires me. She’d lost both her parents when she was a child during the 40s in Russia, and she raised her siblings alone. She had plenty of reasons to just be bitter and sad. Yet, she was always happy and made others happy.
People loved to be around her. Just like the female traveler, she spread seeds of happiness around her.
Imagine if everyone would spread small seeds of happiness everywhere they went. Or maybe, everywhere is too broad. Let’s just start with around us, at work, at school, with our kids, family, friends, and strangers on a street. Let’s spread kindness and happiness around in our inner circle.
If you’re like me, quite busy with daily life, you might not know where to start. Consider following and see if there are anything you can apply in your everyday.
1. Be kind toward yourself.
You know how on airplanes they advise that in case of a possible accident, parents should put on their oxygen masks before they help their kids? The same thing applies here.
Be kind toward yourself. Really. You can’t give what you don’t have, right? So go ahead and do the things you love—dance, sing, or paint all you want. Just enjoy. Then go and spread some happiness around you.
This is the best method ever to make your own day and spread happiness around to others. Don’t wait to be happy; think of something good in your life, smile, and see what happens.
Surprise the people you love with flowers, small presents, kind words, help, a hug, or a genuine compliment.
4. Be a hero.
Notice and help someone around you, a perfect stranger.
I’ve just witnessed a hero in action. This homeless-looking guy came to a café and wanted to buy coffee. All guests and servers looked at him like he didn’t belong there. As he counted his coins, he quickly realized that he was short of money.
Before I could say anything, this young guy walked up and paid what the man was missing. He sat down and enjoyed his coffee. That’s an act of everyday Superman to me, no?
5. Say something good about someone or something.
Be genuine. This makes you feel good and it’s much better than gossiping, since you’re spreading positive words and thoughts with the people around you. Win!
6. Make an effort to have good thoughts.
The thing with our thoughts is that they become words and then actions, so it’s important we observe them and choose them wisely. Our thoughts are like flower seeds. They can either spread happiness or sadness. The choice is ours!
7. Listen with all your attention.
It sounds so easy, yet really few master it. Give your full attention to the person you’re talking with. It can change your whole view of the person and vice versa. That makes two happy people!
8. Learn a skill.
Then teach it for free. It could be anything from languages to cooking. Make it your one-person charity organization. Just don’t tell anyone. Have fun!
“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Photo by Widerbergs