Positive experiences are spiritual events. That is, something heart-warming or supportive that happens to us is more than just something pleasant. We are changed, in a positive direction, by such occurrences.
One fascinating experiment pointed nicely in this direction. Researchers placed a few coins in the coin return of a classic old pay-phone. Just a little change, like nickels, dimes and quarters, in a public area where people always passed.
What happened was predictable. Folks walking by would put their fingers in the coin return to check if there might be something accidentally left there by a careless phone user. And sure enough some of them, but not all, found something!
The next part of the experiment was a ‘manufactured’ crisis that was set up nearby. An elderly woman was struggling to pick up the contents of her push-cart that had tipped over, creating a mess and troubling the aged cart pusher.
The response of the coin checkers proved meaningful. Those who had found a coin or two all stopped to help the upset woman. Those who found nothing just kept on going without lending a hand.
What made the difference? Why did some people stop to help and others did not? The ‘good luck’ of finding a few coins had a ripple effect of passing on the goodness. If mindlessly finding a coin can trigger love, or an act of kindness, don't you think that makes it rather obvious that other 'little' things, like a smile, a compliment, or a word of appreciation and admiration, can start the same ripple effect?.
Each of these simple acts can have a far-reaching impact. Everyone remembers the term "pay it forward", from the movie of the same name. It was a dramatic presentation of how this works. A small act of kindness can cause the receiver to do the same to someone else. And . . . as the old commercial used to say . . . and so on, and so on, and so on.
So . . . to sound now like a bit of a professor . . . the assignment for today is to find ways and find places to start these ripple effects and to pay it forward.
Let's do that!
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