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Home » Random

10 brilliant ways to make a difference for $0

Back for his regular slot after a brief holiday to the Welsh countryside, author Ben Lumley is back with another guest post on 10 brilliant ways to make a difference for nothing.

You can catch Ben over at his Blog on Facebook or on Twitter

Ben is today’s Friday Follow (#FF), over to you Ben:

So Matthew’s post on Monday inspired me. That’s not to say that his posts don’t normally, they do, but this one was a bit different and really made me rethink what I wanted to write about today.

When Matthew first asked me write regularly here, we talked about kicking off things with a series of posts about how to “make a difference” and that’s exactly what we did. Some of them, posts like How to make a difference using Twitter and How to make a difference whilst making your fortune are still some of the most popular posts on the whole site and I’m very proud of that.
What I’d like to do today, inspired by Monday’s post (The $100 Start – Up) and with a little help from my friend El, is to drop back into one of those early posts and look at what you can do today, for no money at all, to make a difference to someone. And you never know they might make you smile and feel good about yourself at the same time!

In my post, How to make a difference whilst making your fortune, I touched on the idea of Acts of Random Kindness and very wisely (even though if I do say myself) said;

When did you last do something kind for someone just because you could? We often get so drawn into our lives and making that first million that we forget the joy of doing something nice for another person just for the sake of it.

Put your neighbour’s bin out for them on bin day. Offer a lift to a stranger who’s getting soaked in the rain whilst waiting for the bus. Make breakfast in bed for your partner. You get the idea (I hope).

I remember hearing a story about a boy whose parents had sent him out to shovel the snow off their drive. The boy, feeling in a good mood, decided to not stop at just his drive but in fact cleared the driveway of every house on the street. Now that’s a random act of kindness!

Well today I want to give you 10 brilliantly simples Acts of Random Kindness that will make a big difference to someone else and put a smile on your face too.

1. Take out the trash – ok this was in the example last time but it’s still a great act to do, especially if the person you’re helping is someone who really struggles dragging their bin out once a week or who always forgets.

2. Babysit – want to do something really nice for a parent? Give them the night or day off so they can be a human being again. Give your time up and have an evening playing mum or dad for them. They’ll love you for it.

3. Pack some shopping – ever been in a queue in the supermarket and the pregnant lady behind you is also wrestling a 3 year old who’s been on skittles all the way around the store? Why not stay behind after you’ve done your packing and help her pack her bags? It might just make her day.

4. Hold a door – we live in a door slamming society where, when we walk through an entrance, we don’t stop to think about who’s coming the other way or who is behind us. Hold a door open for someone. You don’t even need to go through it yourself but it will sure make a difference.

5. Say a kind word – all too often we don’t say nice things to people. Why not give someone a compliment? Thank them for a job well done. Tell them you’re grateful they’re around. It only takes a few seconds.

6. Smile at a stranger – why? Because they are some miserable looking strangers out there aren’t there? Maybe they’re having a bad day, bad week, bad year or bad life. Your smile might be the only one they see all day.

7. Let someone out in traffic – I love doing this one. When you’re queuing let someone in who’s trying to join the traffic. Don’t be one of “those” people who nudge forward and shut you off and pretend like you’re invisible. Go on, be nice.

8. Ask how their day is – it’s easy getting caught up in what we do so try to break that pattern by randomly asking the waitress how her day is going. I recently did this in a clothes shop and the girl behind the counter didn’t know what to say because she wasn’t used to being talked to.

9. Wash the windscreens of all the cars in the street – got the old bucket and sponge out to do your ride? Got some water left over? What are you waiting for? Go make that windscreen clean! A good alternative for this is the winter version, where you scrape the snow off of other people’s car when you know they’re leaving for work shortly after you.

10. Send an email to someone you’ve lost touch with – we all lose touch with old friends and sending a letter cost money right? Well drop them an email or message them on Facebook to get caught up and tell them you’ve missed them being around.

Acts of Random Kindness don’t need to be like little Billy’s where he shovelled the snow from an entire street! They can be in the little things too but they always add up to make a big difference in the quality of people’s lives.

Be nice to people today – what will you do?