It’s Hard To Do in Your Own Home

Every year in February there is the Random Acts of Kindness Day, during which we are encouraged to show small acts of kindness to strangers that we encounter, to make kindness the norm. I love this idea and am encouraged by the movement. As with all parts of generosity, the science behind it proves that it is good for everyone involved, so get on it.

The challenge that I am putting to people (mostly me) this year is, alongside your random acts of kindness to total strangers on February 17, find small random kind things that you can do to your own household.

For some reason, when thinking about participating in random acts of kindness I automatically assume that it will be for someone I have never met before because that’s exciting. To imagine their surprise and delight when I gift them with something makes me happy. I find it harder to think of creating the same experience for those in my family. Perhaps I’m just a terrible person, but it seems to be a more challenging project.

Maybe the difference is the expectation. If I do a random thing once a year to someone I don’t know, then on February 18 no one is waiting expectantly to be surprised and delighted. It’s a ‘no pressure’ type of kindness. Kind of like the ‘one night stand’ version.

If I create a kindness experience for my family, those that I see every day, that see me every day and know me the best, if I have a bad day when I am ‘not as kind’, then they can rightfully ask where my kindness went. I’m not sure if I want to face that sort of scrutiny. Which is crazy because I know that if I can be kind at random intervals to them then it will serve my family well and deepen our love for each other.

So here’s to random acts of kindness everywhere but also in my household on February 17, and hopefully more to come after as it becomes the norm.

The Entrepreneurial Panic

If you have ever been overcome by the sheer weight of just trying to provide for your family, then you will understand it. The panic that comes when there is not enough to get you through. You can see the end of your financial runway and it is getting closer at a frightening speed.

Entrepreneurs feel this frequently. Many of us have felt it this year, even if we aren’t entrepreneurs, as the reality of financial insecurity hits and all of sudden we start to think of other ideas that could create some extra money. “What can we sell?”

There is a versatility that comes from this. A special ability to adapt and change as the world around you shifts.

I see this in the world’s poorest entrepreneurs. I have always said that if you can survive in a slum in Delhi, India, then you already have some incredible skills which give you an astute business mind. In fact, some of the savviest minds that I have come across are from small business owners in India and Indonesia. They have created something special, seemingly out of nothing, and are forging a path forward for their family – a path out of poverty and into a life that is not defined by trying to find their next meal, or to save enough money to buy medicine for their sick child.

If you place a global pandemic into the mix though, that is obviously going to create further challenges. And it has. The true impact will not be seen for a long time yet and it is so disheartening. But I am confident that these savvy minds will continue to find a way through, though they just need a small amount of help.

Dealing with Disappointment

It’s the little things that can take the wind out of your sails.

The most devastated I have felt was after breaking my leg during a game of football. It was one of those nasty breaks, you know, when the bone comes through the skin. After emergency surgery and an insertion of a metal rod, I spent over a week in hospital. The day came when it was time to go home. I was itching to get out of there and just before I was about to leave a doctor entered to look over my leg. I had never seen him before, but he took one look and showed concern over how the wound was healing, “Sorry, you won’t be going home today”.

I was devastated. I had been through so much in the previous week, away from family, friends and my home, and on the brink of being able to return to some form of normality, it was all ripped away.

I never saw that doctor again and I went home the very next day with no issues to report. That doctor will always be a jerk in my mind because that was the hardest 24 hours I have experienced.

There is something incredibly challenging about being so close to a goal and then having the finish line moved further away. It can deplete the strongest will.

I faced a similar feeling last weekend. No broken legs to report, but broken plans…again. After 222 days of having a hard border in Western Australia, travel was opened up which made it possible to visit family and my two eldest children in South Australia. With tickets booked and plans made, the border between WA & SA stayed open for less than two days before it shut tight again because of a Coronavirus outbreak in Adelaide.

I am devastated. I will cancel my trip to Adelaide, for the second time this year. We have all been through so much in the last 7 months, away from family, friends and homes, and on the brink of being able to return to some form of normality it has all been ripped away. So close, yet so far.

So what do I do with this disappointment? How can I ensure that the next few weeks and months are not the hardest that I will experience?

Something that I’ve learned since I had that sporting injury almost ten years ago – gratitude will keep you going. I will have times when I feel sad, and that’s okay, but it’s important that I don’t stay there because I have so much to be grateful for: my wife, my two younger children, our health and safety, the fact my two older children are also healthy, our lifestyle here in Perth, coffee (I could go on). The more I can keep those things front of mind the better my experience of the next few months will be, and I will be more enjoyable to be around. We will get there, this is not forever, just another momentary challenge.

Gratitude aside for a moment, Coronavirus will always be a jerk in my mind.

The Power Of One

Can One Person Change the World?

Think of the person you admire the most. (Could be anyone like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jnr., Marie Curie, Martin Luther, Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Donald Bradman etc.)

Below is a list of people who probably helped them along the way (not a complete list):

Parents

Siblings

Grandparents

Other family members

Best friends

Teachers

Coaches

Mentors

Trainers

Physios

Colleagues

Secretary

Administration Assistant

Nutritionist

Spouse/Partner

Children

Agents

Their Hero

That random encounter with a person who said one thing to them and changed their perspective

Favourite Musician

Employer

Can one person change the world?

Nope. Not on their own.

3 Keys to Happiness

No matter who you are or where you live, every person has the same needs in life. Regardless of if you are living in the slums of Delhi in India, in rural Indonesia or a capital city in Australia, there are three keys, which are essentials of happiness.

Firstly, we require something to do. A job for us to put our hands to and to keep busy with – in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes Solomon says that it is good for us to find satisfaction in what we do, the vocation that we dedicate our lives to.

Secondly, we need something to love – a family, a group of friends, a community to be part of. This is what we call social capital – which is a measurement of cultural and social networks we have access to, that are built on trust, cooperation and connection. Being well connected to a community has been proven to reduce the probability of being poor – both financially and emotionally.

Thirdly, we desire something to hope for – be it a better future for us and our family, or a hope in a loving God.

This third one is incredibly significant. There is something about our journey in hope which is intrinsically connected to our happiness. If we have something to hope for, then we have access to joy.