It's been a great experience over the past 14 days.
If you have joined me over the past 14 days in the challenge I'm sure your life has improved for the better. I'm sure you have learned a lot not only about yourself, but also about the world around you and how interactions with others can shape your wellbeing and your life.
For me, I've learned how easy it is to make a difference in this world. The simple gesture of giving can light up the biggest smile on another.
The tagline for The Start of Happiness is 'Change the World, One Smile at a Time', and the results achieved over the past 14 days are testament to that fact. Happiness pays forward. By making a difference in the life of another and making them smile, I have no doubt that they will then spread that happiness through smiling at another person. What happens when someone smiles at you? You feel kind of good yourself and light up a smile. It's contagious!
The past 14 days have reminded me that life is a mirror of yourself. The way that I've interacted with others over the past 14 days has been reciprocated back to me, much to my surprise! I've been shouted coffees, lunches, hugs and even had a friend help me clean up my desk which was in much need of cleaning!
I've challenged myself. I've expanded my comfort zone. I know not all challenges were met satisfactory (eg Volunteer work on day 4 of the challenge), but it's now at the back of my mind so when an opportunity arises I can take it.
The challenge has simply helped in embedding habits of being a good person. It's not something that should be hard. It's something that we should be doing on an everyday basis. Something such as giving a compliment to someone, hugging them, treating them to something nice or buying them flowers are things that can so easily be incorporated into everyday life.
Task: Forgive Someone
What I did: Well, it sounds easy. However, I was struggling to think of someone to forgive. In a way it made me actually feel very fortunate as I don't really have a reason or a need to forgive anyone.
I decided to park this one and come back to it on the next day.
So on day 13, I still struggled to find anyone to forgive. I started to look more into the outer world and see what there was to forgive. I started to think of the simple things in life. I looked into a place where there is so much aggression in everyday life. Not directed at me, but directed at the world or others in general.
The biggest and most common form of this I could think of was road rage! There's a lot of anger on the roads and bad drivers if I can put it out there. I decided to think this through a little and see if I could forgive them. I remembered times when I was angry on the roads and looked into the reasons why. I realised that road rage is mostly due to some internal conflicts going on with the person, most likely in their personal life. As I knew it was mostly just a form of them expressing themselves at that point in time, and not something they would normally do, I decided to forgive road ragers
Learnings: I learned that I am actually quite fortunate to not have any need to directly forgive anybody. I also learned that there is a lot in this world to forgive in terms of the way that people operate in life.
Task: Give a Treat to Someone... that is, Treat Someone to Something Nice
What I did: This was great as again I did the task without even knowing it! I was grabbing a coffee with a friend and as I often do, I decided to shout him. When I found out that today's challenge was to treat someone to something nice, I was like 'sweet! I've already accomplished it!'. However, at the same time I thought that was a pretty small treat and something I do everyday.
I took the opportunity with my lunch date to treat them to the meal. She absolutely loved it! Simple, effective, and something that we should all do often.
Learnings: I have no doubt about it that my mate will next time shout me a coffee and that my lunch date will shout me a lunch. You give what you get. Kindness is reciprocal. There's no reason we shouldn't be doing this more often!
Task: Do Something Unexpectedly Nice
What I did: I took the opportunity to help a colleague in need today. A member of my team had to give a presentation to the Directors of the company today. It was a simple, 25 minute presentation with content that I am comfortable with.
My colleague was stressing out as he had a number of other deadlines to achieve today. Even though I am super-busy at the moment myself, I remembered today's challenged and decided to take a big load off his plate and offer to make the presentation to the Directors. He lit up! Seriously! It was crazy... I wasn't expecting that much of a smile or that much of a relief from him! It made me start to think whether he was simply more stressed about giving the presentation to that particular audience, but I didn't ask.
All in all, it was a great presentation!
Learnings: Doing something unexpectedly nice doesn't have to be in the form of some kind of gift. In a way, this was a gift, a gift of my time and knowledge. However it was a simple gesture of offering to do something nice for someone. The way he lit up was crazy. It made me realise that when you see someone stressed, you can make all the difference in the world by offering a helping hand.
Again, I have no doubt that he will return the favour if I ever needed it the future. I'm sure it has built his trust as well. The benefits to these kindness challenges go far beyond just a simple 'happiness' moment.