What an awesome few days it's been!
The November Kindness Challenge is officially kicking along and going strong!
For those that have just joined us, the November Kindness Challenge is a challenge organised by one of our 27 experts - Celes Chua of Personal Excellence.
For full details around what's happening here on The Start of Happiness, check out my most recent post on the launch of the November Kindness Challenge.
What a week it's been!
I originally was going to do a half-way wrap up and then an end-of-challenge wrap-up but I've come to realise the posts would just be too big for you to digest in one go. So I've broken it down into smaller parts.
I have now completed days 1 to 4.
It started off pretty damn hard to be honest... some of you may have been following my experiences either through the comments on the Kindness Challenge post or via our Facebook Page. Let me take you through each of the daily tasks over the past few days and what my experiences and learnings have been.
My Own Rules
I set my own rules for each of these challenges. I didn't want this challenge to be easy. Because, to be honest, how hard can it be to just be kind and nice? Seriously?
These rules I set for myself are simple but it has so far made a difference.
Rule 1: I can not tell people I'm doing a Kindness Challenge.
Why would I not want to tell people? Simple. Because when you tell someone then they will go out of their way to help you. They would have spoken to me about it, checked on my progress and even help facilitate me accomplishing some of the challenges. TOO EASY.
By not telling anyone, it ensures that I am making a difference in the lives of others as it would be any normal day. I get to see the genuine reactions of people when I suprise them with something nice.
Obviously, there are a couple people that know. For example, the one person I speak to regularly about it is my girlfriend, however she does not help in facilitating anything. My family also probably knows from reading The Start of Happiness, however this hasn't actually been brought up in conversation yet (so maybe they don't!).
Rule 2: I can not ask for something specific (eg Hug Challenge)
Asking for something specific such as 'can I have a hug' or 'can I give you a hug' takes away from the purpose of the challenge (in my view).
I want my interactions to be genuine and I want them to be as if it were a normal day. I also want them to be a suprise. When I hug someone, I want to actually mean it and just do it and see the response from the person. It links in with my first rule of not letting people know you are doing a challenge.
Rule 3: If I can't complete a task on a particular day, I can make up for it another day
I'm letting you know right up front. I WILL FAIL on some of the tasks. Time is obviously something that is limited. Sometimes I won't be able to find out what the task is until the day after, or sometimes I just won't have the opportunity to complete a task.
However, in saying that, I am committed to making sure I do complete each and every task (hopefully during the duration of the 14 day challenge). So if I do not complete a task on a particular day or only get partway through, I will ensure I complete it in the following day or days.
Anywway, that's it for my own rules. I'm sure you're more keen to see how I've been going!
P.S. I'm more interested in how YOU are going... are you doing the challenge? Have you had any learnings? Have you made a difference to the life of another person? Have you made a difference in your life? Are you challenging yourself and expanding your comfort zone?
Would love to hear how you're going in the comments at the end!
Day 1 - Hug at least 3 people
Seriously, this was HARD. Much harder than I expected.
For one, my girlfriend wasn't at home this day so I couldn't hug her. My family are all in a different location, so that was no good either. And seriously, I think hugging an immediate family member would be cheating anyway.... this is meant to be a CHALLENGE!
So I headed off to work (corporate) to go sending the love.
The day went by super-fast. If you can remember, I'm experiencing the most busy time of my life at the moment (and P.S... I LOVE it!). I was thinking of the challenge to hug someone but seriously, in the corporate environment it just doesn't happen (or so I thought...) unless you're in the right situation... just walking up to someone and giving them a random hug is just weird... obviously depending on the person. However, my experience changed this perception.
Anyway, this was definitely a challenge.
The Bank Teller
I needed to go to the bank this day to cancel my credit card insurance (don't know why I had it in the first place?!). The bank teller was a nice, middle aged lady about 50 years old. I went up to her and told her my issue and she made a couple phone calls to try get it sorted. She ends passing the phone to me and I get put through to about 17 different people before finally someone with the right access can actually help me... typical customer service from banks!
To cut along story short, I got it sorted out! It took about 20 minutes, but I got there. To celebrate this awesomeness that I would no longer be charged monthly fees, I simply went around the other side of the desk and hugged the Teller!
SHE LOVED IT!
It made me feel good but it made her super-happy...
I didn't actually end up giving two other hugs this day. However, on Day 2 of the challenge I made up for it by giving 3 people hugs - all work colleagues and just for the sake of it. Once again, they loved it!
No need to be ashamed to give someone a hug (particularly with colleagues and strangers like a bank teller, as I previously thought would be weird)... everyone loves a hug!
Day 2 - Give Up Your Seat to Someone Who Needs It More
I thought that this one would be really hard given the day I was going to have again in the corporate environment.
I don't catch public transport to work, I drive. So again, I'm rarely presented opportunities to be able to give up my seat for someone as I never have to.
But a meeting was called between 3 other colleagues and myself, and only 2 seats were in the room. TOO EASY I thought... I offered up my seat and the person thanked me.
This one ended up being pretty simple. I think it's just common sense to offer up your seat to someone who needs it more. It did actually make me feel good. I'd say that offering up your seat is just simple manners!
Day 3 - Write 3 Thank-You Notes to 3 People You Appreciate
This is another simple one but also something that we often forget about!
Saying thank you is one of the 43 Habits of Absolutely Happy People. We often forget that all it takes is a 'thank you' to make a difference in the life of another. It makes you feel good, but it also makes the recipient feel good. Plus, saying thank you is often simple manners!
Today I did thank three people.
1) I thanked my girlfriend. Today is one day before my birthday (4th November) and my girlfriend took me out for breakfast to an AMAZING restaurant on top of a hill overlooking the beach and the horizon. I thanked her this day and also on my birthday, just for simply being an amazing person and an amazing girlfriend.
2) I thanked Celes Chua, who runs Personal Excellence and the Kindness Challenge. I haven't had the chance to meet Celes in person, however I tweeted her the following:
3) I thanked a reader for sending me such a nice email. I received an email from Tanya Gray who mentioned how The Start of Happiness has helped her in overcoming some difficult circumstances in her life and how she has found a new positive outlook on life and is starting to see some awesome results.
I never get tired of reading your emails... I ready every one of them and respond to every one of them. They are truly amazing.
Thanking people is not hard, but thanking people makes such a HUGE difference. It makes a difference not only to the person you say it to, but it also makes a difference to how you feel. I noticed that I felt more relaxed, more open, more honest and more transparent as a result. Ultimately, I just felt better for doing so. Not to mention how it made the other people feel!
Day 4 - Sign Up for Volunteer Work (On Top of Whatever You Have Been Doing)
This one is a CHALLENGE!
It's going above and beyond and taking the kindness challenge to another level by ensuring it is ongoing.
I knew this was going to be a tough one right from the start. Considering the amount I have on my schedule at the moment and the fact I'm living a busy life like I've never seen before, this is one I was going to struggle with.
In all honesty, I failed on this task today but I haven't lost sight of it. I didn't have the time to do any research into this on the 4th November (it was my birthday!) so I was out all day.
In saying that, we did have discussions over some great food and a few drinks around a cycling challange for charity over in Vietnam in 2013... so this task was actually well-timed considering our discussion!
Something I need to look into and I will keep you posted on progress with this one.