Let me tell you upfront, it has been hard-work but it has been rewarding.
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. If you're wondering where the first few days are, you can find days 1 to 4 here.
Days 5 to 11 have been hard-work!
The tasks are somewhat simple but they have also been hard-work. I think my perception of the hard-work has come into play because I'm conciously writing about my experiences and having to keep on top of it daily. That's where the hard-work has come into play. Not because the challenges are hard, but more so from a time management point of view - finding out what the challenge is, telling you guys all about the challenge, performing the challenge, writing about my experiences and doing this daily without fail. It has been a good learning experience for me in how to run The Start of Happiness (that is, daily doesn't suit my schedule!)
Let me take you through each of the daily tasks over the past few days and what my experiences and learnings have been.
Task: Give a Genuine Compliment to at Least One Person
What I did: This one is a nice one that we should be doing naturally in life. It's a fantastic habit to embed on a daily basis.
The good thing is, I gave a genuine compliment to a colleague at work prior to even knowing that today's challenge was to give a compliment... made me feel even better about myself that it came to me naturally!
Today's challenge was quite simple. I complimented a colleague on her dress, I complimented a friend on the way he handled a difficult situation and I complimented my administator for an incredible meeting she ran.
Learnings: Giving genuine compliments is a habit that should be embedded daily. The reactions were fantastic. Everyone loves a compliment.
Task: Talk to At least One Person You Don’t Normally Talk To
What I did: Today's task was perfectly timed for me. Each year on the first Tuesday of November Australia (where I live) comes to a stand-still to watch The Melbourne Cup - the biggest horse race of the year. As a client of one of the world's largest recriutment firms, I was invited to join a marquee at one of the racecourses and there was PLENTY of people I don't normally talk to to be able to have a conversation with.
I spoke to a tonne of new people this day. My favourite conversation was with an HR Director of a Multinational Construction Firm who gave me insight into the life of a multi-millionaire and the strategies and decisions he has taken to get him there. Awesome guy and awesome life he is living! Some good tips that I will be able to share here on The Start of Happiness.
Learnings: You never know who you are going to meet. I sat next to the multi-millionaire at lunch and spoke to him without knowing exactly who he was or his background. It wasn't until a few hours later where I was able to get some gems and really connect. He ended up giving me his business card and offered to stay in touch. You never know where a connection may lead!
Task: Make a Donation
What I did: This was an interesting one. It is not one that I do daily. As much as I would like to say I donate everyday, it's something that I do, but only on occasion.
I decided to treat this one a little differently. Instead of donating money to someone or some organisation, I decided to donate some clothing to The Smith Family. The Smith Family is a children's charity helping disadvantaged Australian children to get the most out of their education, so they can create better futures for themselves.
I donated a jumper that hopefully some child will be able to get some good use out of... (it was a pretty good jumper!)
Learnings: There are other people that are more in need of the things that I have. This is a great experience for feeling gratitude. It helps me realise just how lucky I am to be living the life I am living and not disadvantaged in anyway. One of the things I can do in my life is life in a way where I can help others in need.
Task: Pick Up Litter
What I did: This was another simple one and one to incorporate into everyday life. Today I simply just picked up litter everywhere I saw it! It was actually harder than expected because there wasn't too much litter that I saw (we have cleaners who ensure there is no litter or rubbish anywhere).
However, I did manage to find some litter in the streets and dispose of that appropriately. Closer to home, I also took the opportunity to do a huge clean-up of my desk and home space, as I classify paper-mess as litter!
Learnings: Picking up litter is not hard. It's a simple matter of bending over and doing it! The other learning is that a clean area leads to a produtive mind. Since cleaning my desk and home space, I feel more in control of my life and feel more productive and creative and not 'snowed-under'.
Task: Write a Letter to Someone That Has Made a Difference In Your Life
What I did: I wrote a letter to my mentor. I have a mentor who is a Senior Executive of a multinational company. Trying to get time with him recently, however has been extremely hard recently due to the incredibly busy schedule he has.
He has made a huge impact in my life and is actually a key catalyst for me creating The Start of Happiness. Over the past couple of years, he has guided me on some of the tools that I have learned and shared here and he has similar desires and passions for life as I do.
I wrote him an email saying thank you for what I have learned and described how he has shaped my life. We are catching up at the end of next week and I'm sure it's going to be a great discussion :).
Learnings: My mentor sent a quick email back thanking me for the kind note and offered to catch up next week which we will be doing. I'm sure it made his day and I will be keen to hear his thoughts when we catch up People often do not thank those people that have changed their life or made a difference in some shape or form. It deepens relationships and makes them more fulfilling and fruitful.
Task: Send Flowers to Someone
What I did: The one person I really want to send flowers to is my girlfriend. I honestly don't think I do this enough, yet I know she loves it! So I thought this would be a nice, simple opportunity to send her a bunch of flowers out of the blue. However, I didn't have the chance to phsyically go out and find some flowers to send and I decided to do a more simple route but also a public display of affection.
What other method but Facebook. Why send flowers this way? A pitcure is worth a thousand words. Not only that, but real flowers only last a week, this picture will last forever. I sent her an image of flowers with a bear and a kind little note:
"Babe, I want to give you some flowers. Why? Because you are THE GREATEST girl in the whole world and I know you love flowers... you deserve them. xo!"
Taking the easy route with this one? Potentially... but I like to think of it as a fun route. Also, I'll be able to suprise her sometime in the future with the real flowers
Learnings: She still loved it!Sometimes you don't have to give physical gifts to make an impression on someone's life. Use other mediums that are out there, like facebook, twitter, email, sms, or simply a phone call, that can make all the difference to someone and let them know you care.
Task: Be Kind to Someone You Dislike
What I did: I haven't actually had the chance to interact with anyone I dislike today. This is going to be a tricky one as I generally do not take an outlook in life that I dislike anyone. I'm going to have to see if an opportunity arises over the next few days and conduct this challenge when it does.
What have you done for Days 5 to 11? How are you tracking on the Kindness Challenge? Would love to hear how you're going in the comments below!
Up next? Only 3 more days to go! Visit the Kindness Challenge launch post daily for the latest challenges.
Start the Happiness!