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Executive Voice

“Have a cup of happiness” with Author Peggy Sullivan

In today’s world where so much is out of our control, we all want to hold close to what we can control, especially if there is a considerable payoff involved.

Kindness is most certainly in that bucket. It does not require any skill or resources and can give us a tremendous sense of joy and pride. Kindness has the power of changing the trajectory of someone’s attitude and how they feel about themselves and the situations they are in.

I remember a time when I was grocery shopping and saw a woman who was struggling with her grocery cart. I introduced myself and asked if I could help. Her name was Sally. Sally was ninety-seven, lived alone, and found shopping extremely difficult. Even though I was tight on time that day, I offered to help her shop. Over an hour later, we finished collecting her groceries and moved into the cashier line.

When she pulled out her tattered wallet, she mainly had coins and a few dollars. My impulses told me to pay for her groceries, so I did. This story could have ended right here. But it did not. In a flash, I found myself driving her home. As I walked Sally out, she indicated she would rest at the bus stop since the next one would not arrive until 40 minutes. Before she got out of the car, I gave her my number in case she needed anything. She thanked me with a smile, and we parted ways.

It was a moment in time that I can remember because it felt so darn good. Not because I was a hero, but because I put myself aside to help someone who needed assistance.

Three weeks later, I received a call from Sally’s daughter, Rose. With sadness, Rose informed me that her mother had recently passed. While going through her belongings, she found a newly-started gratitude journal. The first page was a story about a lovely lady who helped her shop when she struggled to do so herself. She talked about how grateful she was for this random act of kindness. It compelled her to think more about other things she was grateful for, which prompted her to begin a gratitude journal. 

Amazingly, nearly a month had gone by since the grocery store, and Rose found 22 entries in Sally’s journal, including a message to her. Rose shared with me how she felt my help had a profound shift in her mother’s bleak attitude. Sally’s daughter thanked me again and told me of all the cherished things her mom had left her daughter, the journal was the one she would value the most, far above the jewelry or the things in her estate. 

Honestly, telling this story is a bit embarrassing, as it feels a bit like bragging. But I can get past that to illustrate the super-power of performing Random Acts of Kindness. Emotions like joy, pride, and happiness are priceless, but there is also scientific proof that these emotions create a biological change in our brain that makes us feel joyous. 

What more do you need to know?

Being kind doesn’t cost us a penny. But it can provide a priceless experience to those around us. I challenge you to go out of your way to be kind today and from there, make it a daily habit. We are so lucky to have so many choices in life. Choose kindness. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

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