Step 5: Giving and Acts of Kindness

We humans achieve meaning in life when we commit ourselves to enhancing and enriching other people’s lives. When we extend our time and efforts to others in acts of kindness, that kindness becomes a source of energy, of strength. There are so many examples of people who turn their stress into a success and their losses into gains by contributing to the lives of others.

As I write this I can’t help but think about Candy Lightner, a woman who lost her daughter to a drunk driver. What was her response? She started “M.A.D.D.” — Mothers Against Drunk Driving. This organization has rapidly become world famous. Candy proved that one person can make a difference. By responding to her own personal tragedy, her own suffering, with kindness — Candy Lightner showed the world that the healthiest and most productive response to suffering is kindness. She proved that personal tragedy and misfortune can be used as a springboard to help end the suffering of others.

So ask yourself the questions: What can I contribute? What can I give? Who can I help right here, right now? I know that the purpose of life is a life of purpose. Whose life can I enrich? This is another critical component of overcoming adversity. It will not feel natural to go volunteer at a soup kitchen the week after you lose your job. It won’t feel normal to join a committee or help out in your kids’ school. However, when you realize that you have a lot to give – and you exercise this – your life will change.

Roger Crawford was born with a rare medical condition called “ectrodactylism”.

His hands and feet weren’t fully developed. A thumb extends from his right wrist, and a thumb and pinky from his left wrist. One foot has three toes. The other leg was so underdeveloped that the doctors had to amputate it below the knee at the age of five so that he could wear an artificial leg. When Roger developed the necessary mobility, he fell in love with sports. He decided to not allow his severe handicaps inconvenience him too much. He loved tennis, and he decided he was going to be good at the game. So he played and played and never stopped playing. When everyone told him he couldn’t do it, he kept going. By the age of 15 he competed in his high school tennis program. He became the captain of the tennis team and had a singles record of 47 wins and 6 losses.

In college, he became the first person with handicaps affecting two or more limbs in history to participate in Division I in NCAA athletics. Today, he speaks to Fortune 500 companies in 50 states and in 16 countries about the power of resilience to change lives.

In his motivational speeches he says if you put a golf ball in the freezer until the core gets cold, it loses its resilience. No matter how hard you hit the ball after that, it is not going to go very far. Even after the outside of the ball has warmed up and the ball seems to be completely normal, it will never again perform like a normal golf ball. Actually, if the ball gets cold enough, it will splinter on impact.

He teaches his audiences that most people are just like that cold golf ball. They are challenged and they get devastated and their lives shatter.

On the other hand, people who have the courage and faith to face into their challenges head, people who can forgive, and learn and appreciate their blessings, people who commit themselves to give and enrich the lives of others are people who can overcome adversity. They are people, unlike the cold golf ball, who can actually transform their challenges into opportunities, their stress into success, their nightmares into dreams.

His incredible book is entitled “How High Can You Bounce?”

More on this later!

Quotes for step 5: Giving and Acts of Kindness

1) “You can be cured in fourteen days if you follow this prescription: Try to think everyday how you can please someone. The most important task imposed by religion has always been ‘Love thy neighbor…’. It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow man who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring…”
– Dr. Alfred Adler in his book “What Life Should Mean to You”

2) “About one third of my patients are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives.”
– Carl Jung

3) “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found out how to serve.”
– Albert Schweitzer

4) “When you are good to others, you are best to yourself.”
– Benjamin Franklin

5) “No discovery of modern psychology is, in my opinion, so important as its scientific proof of the necessity of self-sacrifice (or discipline) to self-realization and happiness.”
– Henry C. Link

6) “Dr. Hans Selye, the internationally celebrated physician and recipient of a Nobel Prize recommended a specific solution to people who are suffering, to people who are grieving, or in mourning. He advised that they use their inner resources to step out beyond themselves and reach out to others. Dr. Selye calls this the magnificent paradox: When people strengthen others, they, in effect, strengthen themselves. When people help others, they help themselves. Dr. Hans Selye suggests that people who are in pain attempt to lose themselves in the concern and love for others, and through this “loss”, they paradoxically “find” fulfillment and relief.”

-Jack Doueck, in his book “The Chesed Boomerang: How Acts of Kindness Enrich Our Lives”

7) “The noted psychiatrist, Dr. Karl Menninger, advised his grieving patients to make the effort to go beyond themselves and “put themselves out” to achieve, what he calls, “the vital balance.” Emotional and psychological health and healing does not begin when we ask: “Why is this happening to me?” or “Why did my loved one have to die?” It starts when we ask: “How can I change my focus from ‘me and my grief’ outward, to my family and friends.”
– Jack Doueck, in his book “The Chesed Boomerang: How Acts of Kindness Enrich Our Lives”

8) “Paradoxically, one of the healthiest responses to suffering and personal sorrow is to practice acts of kindness. By putting oneself out and focusing on others, there is a kind of natural healing that occurs. Focusing on oneself often creates feelings of bitterness, regret and depression. On the other hand, the kindness that one does while in pain has a way of reversing itself as it provides psychological and emotional fulfillment for the giver. When we are suffering, acts of kindness can enrich our lives and help us deal with our own pain.”
– Jack Doueck, in his book “The Chesed Boomerang: How Acts of Kindness Enrich Our Lives”

9) “We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.
– Dr. Victor Frankl, in Man’s Search For Meaning

10) “Kindness not only can boomerang back– it is integrally a “receiving.” The act of giving, itself, is an act of receiving, which far outweighs what you could possibly be giving.
Spend the day visiting kid in “Camp Simcha” (a camp for terminally ill children), and you are spending the day enriching and feeding your soul, nourishing your spirit. You are satisfying the part of you that yearns and needs to give love — and to help others.”
– Jack Doueck, in his book “The Chesed Boomerang: How Acts of Kindness Enrich Our Lives”

11) “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

12) “I often feel that the universe is a dynamic, flowing, moving stream of energy. It seems to me that when you give of yourself, you create a temporary imbalance that must be corrected. Could it be that, like the molecules of air rushing to fill a vacuum, the universe strives to replace the good you have given out? Could it be that the flow will come back to you from a totally unexpected source?”
– Jack Doueck, in his book “The Chesed Boomerang: How Acts of Kindness Enrich Our Lives”

13) “This Law of Reciprocity is probably as natural as the law of gravity. Whenever you put another person first, the universe puts you first. The more you give, the more you receive. This seeming paradox is natural… Modern medical professionals are proving scientifically that the practice of kindness (such as volunteer work) is healthy. It creates happiness. It promotes a strong immune system. It relieves us from stress and anxiety. It can ease our pain. Giving liberates us. It calms us. It gives our lives meaning. As Robert Byrne once said, “the purpose of life is a life of purpose.” Acts of altruism and loving-kindness are part and parcel of our purpose in life for they transform the world and make it a safer place to live.”
– Jack Doueck, in his book “The Chesed Boomerang: How Acts of Kindness Enrich Our Lives”

14) “Kindness infuses life with meaning. It creates light where there is darkness. It brings hope where there is despair. It warms and comforts where there is grieving. It nourishes the soul where there is emptiness. It provides human dignity where there is shame. It brings joy where there is sadness. It builds love where there is isolation. Acts of kindness sanctify life…. They are never wasted – they always make a difference. They most often bless the receiver – but they always benefit the giver. The natural boomerang effect of kindness is so powerful it can literally transform our lives.”
– Jack Doueck, in his book “The Chesed Boomerang: How Acts of Kindness Enrich Our Lives”

15) “The day of the “go-getter” has passed and has been supplanted by the “go-giver”.
– Napolean Hill.

16) “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
– Winston Churchill

17) “If you don’t stand for something – you will fall for anything.”
– Anonymous

18) “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes can be endless.”
– Anonymous

19) “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
– Helen Keller

20) “You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death.
When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions.
Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not.
‘Have you found joy in your life?’
‘Has your life brought joy to others?’ ”
– From the movie “The Bucket List”

21) “The smallest act of kindness and every contribution to a good cause can make a world of difference. When a tiny pebble is dropped into a pool of water, ripples spread out across the entire surface of the pond. We believe that, like the pebble, a good deed makes a ripple that spreads across the entire planet spreading happiness, gratitude and good will. Take a moment to imagine what it might be like if every person in your neighborhood were to do just one simple good deed — like picking up the paper for the elderly man who lives around the corner; or helping the young mother across the street with her many bags of groceries; or perhaps it’s simply a wave and a friendly smile for the garbage man. What a difference that would make!”
– Anonymous

22) “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by: ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.’”
– Anonymous

23) “So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get MEANING into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and MEANING!”
– Morrie Schwartz

<< Previous page                                       Next page >>

5 thoughts on “Step 5: Giving and Acts of Kindness

  1. Jack bought up some very interesting quotes, especially the 14th quote which says “Kindness infuses life with meaning.” The person receiving our kindness is thankful for what we did for them. We demonstrate an act of kindness by respecting the elderly or by volunteering at a homeless shelter. One act of kindness can make others be thankful for having them in their lives.

  2. Kindness helps everyone. There was a popular Allstate commercial, where one person doing a kind act, such as picking up a bear that a girl dropped, lead to other positive acts. It was like a domino effect. Kindness will help everyone overall. When one person sees another doing a kind act, this will help propel that do something similar.

  3. The other day, my friend updated her status on facebook with a picture of a beggar that she helped. She actually took a little time out of her commute to school to buy him a sandwich, water and $5. She was very caring and kind to the people around her. I feel like this can really enlighten some people around her, to be able to express your kindness wherever you. To me Kindness can be innate but most of the times, it is your learning experience from other people.

  4. I believe that this step is integral to overcoming adversity because once you appreciate what you have you will be able to realize that although you are facing tough times there are people out there who have it worse than you and that in reality your life is good compared to there.

  5. Giving back to your community is an am amazing thing. If you needed money wouldn’t you want someone to do the same?

Comments are closed.