I am amazed by the sheer amount of people that are alive in this moment. Over 7.9 billion people is impossible to imagine. It is extraordinary, and overwhelming and humbling.
Out of that 7.9 billion, how many people will know me? Dunbar’s number suggests that we don’t really have the capacity to have more than 150 meaningful relationships.
Out of that 150, how many will really do life with me? Jim Rohn said that you are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with.
So, not many.
How many will remember me?
Of the people who lived 100 years ago, (about 2 billion of them), I have heard of, maybe, a handful. A dozen at most, and probably the same names that you may know. The rest of them, well they might have influenced how I live but I don’t know their names or their story.
So, logic would suggest that in 100 years no one will remember me, and no one will remember you. (Sorry).
I will fade.
However, what I do will have a lasting effect. Every act will create an impact.
Specifically, generous acts multiply. They grow over time as they encourage others to be generous and create ripple effects to people that you will never know in places that you will never travel to. Generosity will not fade. It will last forever.
Leave a legacy. Be generous.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible – Dalai Lama
Our strongest memories growing up are connected to how we felt around people. Think back to your primary school years and I guarantee your main memories are from someone either encouraging you or discouraging you. Building you up or tearing you down.
I can remember one specific teacher calling me stupid, and another encouraging me to be better. The second one, I could sense that he could see more in me than what I was displaying at the time. They are essentially the only two things that I remember from those years. A discouraging word from one and a generous act from another.
I am amazed by the teacher who encouraged me, because in the years that have passed since, I have noticed that it is so much easier to discourage. We almost have an in-built ability to tear someone down. But to lift someone up? Well that can be so rare that appears super-human. It doesn’t need to be this way though.
There is a movement to bring us back to one of the fundamental elements of being a person. Kindness. I would call in generosity. There is even a Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) week this month. With a RAK day on February 17.
Why? Because we need it. The people around you are crying out for some encouragement, a kind word, a thoughtful gesture, a hand of friendship.
Also, it is so good for us. Being kind and generous makes our life so much better; science tells us this.
RAK day is an amazing idea. Sprinkling kindness and generosity on people as you go about your day is a great habit to form. It’s really simple to, there are RAK suggestions, from planting a tree, to writing positive sticky notes, complimenting someone on their parking skills or sending an encouraging email. It starts with one act on a particular day, but it can make a significant difference to those around us.
I get the sense we could all use some more kindness in our lives.