I’m all for paying it forward. There’s no better feeling than knowing you made a difference in the world whether it be big or small. I drive past this piece of graffiti in Beirut almost every day and it inspired me to write this post in the hope that you will be encouraged, like I was, to go out there and do some good each day. These may seem like cliché and minor gestures but if each person did at least one of these things it could have an even greater impact.
1. Lend a hand to a stranger: Prove that there are kind people left in the world. Help someone carry their groceries, slow down the car to allow a pedestrian to cross the road, provide directions to a lost tourist, give your seat away on a crowded bus/train… The list is endless.
2. Donate blood: There will always be someone battling for their life and in need of blood. Go to your nearest hospital and donate. The best part? It doesn’t cost a thing.
3. Mail a handwritten card: Have a friend or family member living abroad? Forget social media and send a traditional handwritten card reminding them of how much you love and miss them. If you’re the one that’s abroad, how about send a postcard from your destination? I’m positive it’ll make them smile.
4. Plant a tree: Is your backyard looking a little dull? Why not make the world greener and plant some flowers or shrubs? Better yet, a tree. Find your local nursery and get creative.
5. Leave a large tip: Waiters and bartenders tend to get low wages and generally have to rely on tips for a living. Next time you’re out for lunch, dinner or drinks and are satisfied with the service, leave an abnormally large tip and make someone’s day.
6. Pay your parents/grandparents a visit: Sometimes the most important people in our lives, the ones who gave us life and raised us, go unappreciated. Take some time out of your day to check up on them and show you’re thinking of them. If they live far away, give them a phone call.
7. Sign up as a volunteer: Find a local NGO you’re passionate about and join the team. For example, I’m currently volunteering once a week at the Saint Jude’s Children’s Cancer Center. If your busy schedule doesn’t allow you to volunteer, many NGO’s have monthly donation programs.
8. Take a younger sibling out: There comes a point where younger siblings can often feel neglected once the older sibling reaches a certain age and prefers hanging out with friends instead. But always remember that family comes first so plan a day out with your younger sibling. Take them to the zoo, go to the cinema, rent some bikes and go for a bike ride. If you’re the youngest sibling, you can do this with a younger cousin.
9. Recycle: There are countless recycle bins around the city, make use of them and contribute to saving the environment in the process.
10. Adopt a pet: If you’re an animal lover, consider adopting a pet instead of buying one. You’ll be saving a life and providing a loving home to an animal in need of it.
11. Give away old books/toys: Remember those childhood books dusting away on the bookshelf? Pack them up and take them to your local library, primary school, or orphanage where the next generation of kids can fall in love with them like you did. Do the same with old toys.
12. Give a homeless person a gift card: Whether it be for a clothing store, supermarket, or coffee shop, it could make a huge difference in someone’s life who would otherwise never have dreamed of walking into these places.