By Molly Burke
It’s the little things that count, it’s true. We, all of us, have myriad opportunities every day to imbue the little things in our lives with enough power to make a big difference. It’s easy, and it’s fun. In the process, you’ll gain goodwill, confidence and karma points. Ready?
Here they are, 10 little, kinda slightly random but ultimately powerful things that make a big difference.
1. Say “Thank you.”
Such a small thing, but the effect it has on everything around you is profound. Gratitude is a force so powerful that it transforms the giver, the receiver, and the world at large simultaneously. Heartfelt gratitude, humbly expressed, heals as it praises. Write it on your checks as you pay your bills. Write it under your name on the checks you endorse. Look your food server, checker, toll taker, garbage man, crossing guard right in the eye and say “Thank you for doing this” and watch what happens. This is such a simple way to pay it forward, and it has such long lasting positive repercussions that you would be well served to make it a principle part of your spiritual practices. I’ll be writing a whole series of blogs and articles about gratitude very soon, because this one concept can change your life for the better forever, starting right now.
2. Yield the right of way.
Let someone into your lane in front of you on the freeway, or the streets. Suggest that the person with a few items go before you with your full shopping cart. Step aside and let the harried mommy with the stroller and tagalongs through the door that you hold open with smile. Wait patiently while the elderly man tells his stories to the waitress, even if it means your breakfast will take a few minutes longer. Believe me when I tell you that doing all these things will give you a greater sense of community, deeper compassion, and it will serve to significantly calm YOU down when you’re feeling stressed and hurried. Kindness expands, and it fills the space with goodwill and cooperation.
3. Give sincere praise.
Everyone I know appreciates being appreciated, though how they prefer it to be expressed varies. But overall, and with very few exceptions, an honest compliment is always welcome. It can create instant rapport, and bridge many an awkward gap. Do NOT, however, use it in lieu of a gratuity when encountering service staff. Layer the compliment atop a generous tip and watch what happens.
4. Be a generous tipper.
This may seem like an extravagance, and I am not condoning subsidizing bad service, but remember that our economic system is not set up to adequately compensate waiters, bartenders, valets and such. In addition, service personnel are assessed taxes on your tip whether or not you actually tip them, so do them a favor and give a bit more. They’re working hard at a job you probably wouldn’t do, or have done before when you were younger, so give ’em at least 20%. Unless they suck, at which time you should talk to their manager anyway.
You were given two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion. Listening makes you appear more charming, too, so there’s a bonus.
Flossing alone can add 6+ years to your “real age”. Don’t forget to brush first. As a matter of fact, flossing is the one thing you can do that can affect not only your oral health, but the health of your heart, as well. Plaque is plaque, after all, and is not good anywhere. Floss!
7. Send a card.
Snail mail correspondence is a lost art. To make a big impression and touch someone’s heart, send a short handwritten note inside a lovely card. The time and expense you incur will pay huge dividends in goodwill.
8. Pick up trash.
Yours, others, random trash. Pick it up, and put it in a trash can or recycling bin. It’s the right thing to do, and it expresses pride of place, simple responsibility, and a commitment to improving the overall health of the planet as you act ever so locally. Teach your children to pick it up, theirs as well as the trash of others. Beautify the world.
9. Use your manners.
Good manners are social lubricant. They oil the machine of humanity. Using good manners conveys respect, both for self and for others. Civility in conversation allows everyone the opportunity to express themselves fully and be heard. Meaningful discourse naturally ensues. Good manners are the foundation of polite society, and politeness can be both charming and disarming. Use good manners and social graces to woo your love, court a client, ease your way with authority. You’ll go far with good manners.
Whether it’s your cookies or your time, share. Every single person reading this has something, some talent, some time, some money, some compassion, and some fun that they could share with others. This is an abundant Universe, with plenty for everyone, if we’d only share. So, share.
So there you have it. 10 little things that make a big difference. One by one, not so huge. Together, they make a glorious way to go through life. But more than that, these 10 little tips are concrete, attainable and immediate ways to shift your energy, your point of view, and the way the world works. Practice them regularly, and be prepared for a dramatic increase in abundance, personal confidence, ease and grace. It’s all good.