Hey there, Superstars. It’s Tuesday morning, and I am writing this post at 11am. By now, I have been at my desk for three hours – and have already done three good deeds, by connecting people to each other for press and job opportunities, and by helping a friend with a very important reference. Every day, this doing of three good deeds is part of my morning routine – right up there with meditation, gratitude journaling, and of course – drinking coffee with my partner, Ryan, and with our three pets: Magnolia the dog, and Moose & Waffles, the Siamese kittens. I do these good deeds not for your recognition; think about it– if I had, I would be bragging about them non-stop. No. Rather, I do these to be HAPPY. Kindness, as it turns out, makes us happy.
Being happy and being kind are two things we often strive to be in life, and they are entwined. Sometimes we don’t realize how closely linked they are. Doing good deeds can bring untold amounts of happiness; both for the recipient and the benefactor. Nobody loses when it comes to kindness. It’s a win-win-win-WIN.
Few people make the connection between doing good deeds and personal happiness, and even if they do, fewer still are solely motivated by this. So why do people do good deeds? Here’s what I believe drives us to make good things happen and the positive effect it can have on our lives, based on my years coaching some incredible people, paired with a lot of stats and scientific research that have shed insight into what motivates us to be kind
- “Enlightened Self Interest”
We’re all born with and develop a conscience that guides us – though, unlike the belief that it guides us towards the path of “goodness” – what it really drives us to is what I like Jim Rohn liked to call “enlightened self interest.” In so doing, we learn in life that taking positive action (including kindness towards others) is crucial in increasing OUR OWN well-being. This means that we often do good deeds unconsciously because it’s simply in our nature to want to do so. Unfortunately, the many distractions and selfish nature of our modern society can cause some to drift away from our doing good. It’s important to remember, though, that nobody is completely good – or bad, for that matter- but that this is simply a matter of choice of liking to feel good.
It’s as simple as that. If you sneak a peek at anyone’s bucket-list, you’re almost certain to see something about finding life-long happiness or discovering a deeper meaning in life. Doing good and helping others can have an enormous impact on our sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Therefore, it’s safe to assume people do good deeds because it feels nice.
2. Good Karma:
Whether or not you believe in karma or the Law of Attraction, the truth is that whatever you put out into the world, you’re bound to get back, and that you do become what you think about. Many of us understand this, and begin to think and act more deliberately. In so doing, you inevitably start resonating with phrases such as “you give a little love and it all comes back to you.” The natural conclusion? Do good deeds.
3. You Gain Friends and Influence People
Who has ever heard of a kind, generous person who doesn’t have a great deal of friends? In his seminal book, “How to Win Friends & Influence People,” Dale Carnegie made the brilliant observation that people who do good deeds radiate validation and social behavior. Today’s psychologists – including Dr. Martin Seligman, of the University of Pennsylvania, call this combination: “pro-social behavior.” This means that the chosen behavior of kindness propagates across social network, which motivates the person to carry on their positive action and improves the quality of their social interactions.
In a nutshell, doing something nice for someone will endear them towards you and may even prompt them to help you out in return. That’s not Machiavellian, zero sum thinking, because there’s no loser in such behavior – only gain. Good deeds are mutually beneficial, and you will lose nothing by doing them. It is scientifically acknowledged behavior that helps you thrive and evolve around here.
And to me – the fundamental underlying reasons for giving, and for doing good deeds is that kindness can aid personal growth enormously. For example, getting involved with an charity, or volunteering, may open your eyes to what it’s like for others. My own work in this realm has expanded my horizons more than any words here can express. In fact, turning to serving others in order to redirect my focus from my own grief and sense of confusion altered and focused the course of my life. It will also increase your sense of appreciation, which daily correlates to your lasting happiness.
If you’ve ever thought: ‘what’s the point of everything?’ and struggled to find an answer you’re happy with, why not start by trying to find fulfillment in helping others? Make your main goal in life to do everything you can to leave the world a better place than how you found it. Start today your good deeds mission today. There’s no time like the present.
So before you go, I have an assignment for you:
Try and find 20 minutes in your day to relax and be alone. Take the opportunity to think deeply and explore your inner self. During this break, grab a pen and paper and do your best to answer the following questions:
- What is your definition of happiness?
- What motivates you to be kind?
- What might get in the way of you doing good deeds? How can you change this?
- What are you grateful for right now, that others may appreciate, too?
Feel free to share these with me by commenting below.
Let’s make it a better day for you, and for all the people you will meet today.