perform a Random Act of Kindness every day, for an entire year. Can you do it?

Archive for May, 2013

RAK #151 – Thanked a Soldier

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RAK #151 – at a family event today, I noticed a soldier in uniform, and thanked him for his service. It’s just a nice, simple way to recognize someone for their value and contributions.


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May 31st, 2013 at 11:13 pm

RAK #150 – WOW!

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RAK #150 – wow…hard to believe that I’ve hit one hundred and fifty of these RAKs.  I have definitely noticed changes in myself and my daily actions, but the best part – I have seen others become active in this project as well….that is so amazing to me. It helps remind me that people are good, and most people want to make the world a better place.

It’s not easy sometimes, and there are definitely lapses in this project as life becomes distracting and  busy…but the key for me is to keep it going. Even if I don’t actively do anything for a few days, I still am looking to open doors for people, smile at strangers, and be kinder to my fellow man.

Really, this project is simply about having a “RAK-Ready” mindset…realizing opportunities where you normally wouldn’t, and having the awareness to see those opportunities and making the most of them.

So, yeah. I celebrated #150 buy buying someone’s coffee at Starbucks. Bam!

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May 30th, 2013 at 11:18 pm

A kind word and a smile don’t cost a penny…and yet, they’re a priceless gift

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Anne McTavishCALGARY, AB, May 30, 2013/Troy Media/ – My Uncle Fred died recently, and the world lost a truly kindhearted man. His presence will be missed, but his legacy of kindness will live on.

His wasn’t the big-event, the splashy show of doing something good, the type of thing that dazzles your mind but that you quickly forget. His was the small, apt kindness that warmed your heart and snuggled into your memory. A kind word. A smile. And often, just being there for you.

More than ever, we need kindness. Our society is becoming more aggressively competitive. Today, it’s only winning that counts. How you play the game only matters when it helps you win the game.

We are entertained by violent actions and by violent language. It’s the cutting comment and putdown that get the applause.

These are not the types of behaviours that foster acceptance, respect or trust, attributes that are essential for social cohesion. In other words, our social fabric is fraying because aggression, competitiveness and violence are shredding our social bonds.

But we are not powerless. We can do something to counteract the shredding.

We can be kind.

It can be as easy and simple as saying thank you. Whenever I buy lunch from a fast food outlet, I make a point of saying, “Thank you for making my lunch.” Invariably, they break out into a smile. I’ve just made their day, in a positive way, and their smile warms my heart.

We can practice random acts of kindness. When we notice an attractive outfit, it’s easy to compliment the person on their outfit. We can buy a few $5 gift certificates from a coffee shop and hand them out at random. We can hold the door open for someone, or let someone who seems to be in a hurry go ahead of us in line. We can donate used books to a school library or nursing home or seniors’ residence.

The idea for random acts of kindness apparently started in 1982 in Sausalito, California, when Anne Herbert scrawled “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat. The idea caught on because the act of kindness benefits the giver as well as the receiver.

Acts of kindness trigger good feelings and reduce stress. An act of kindness triggers the release of dopamine (the feel-good neurotransmitter) and oxytocin (the social bonding hormone). It also triggers the vagus nerve, whose effects are known as the relaxation response.

And those are just the effects it has on the giver and the receiver. Each act of kindness re-weaves a thread in our social fabric.

The idea of random acts of kindness has grown to the point that The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has its own website with ideas, information and resources.

Remember, it doesn’t take a huge effort or big dollars to be kind. A kind word and a smile don’t cost a penny and yet, they’re a priceless gift.

Thank you, Uncle Fred.

Troy Media columnist Anne McTavish is a conflict coach and lawyer, and her website is Her book, Beyond Anger Management, is due for release shortly.

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May 30th, 2013 at 11:57 am

RAK #149 – Helped a Family Member

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RAK #149 – this week, a relative was struggling with some challengers in her life, so we talked about it and I gave her some advice.  We often get so busy with life, and we rely too much on emails, texting, and instant messaging…while it’s certainly good to drop a quick text or email to someone, nothing beats the sound of someone’s voice.

Make that phonecall today! 🙂


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May 29th, 2013 at 10:31 pm

RAK #148 – Gave an Extra Tip

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RAK #148 – today I had a painful dentist appointment, which I am mentioning for no other reason than to generate sympathy, because it sucked.  But I did get a haircut afterwards, and talked with the stylist a bit…it turns out she is having some rough challenges in her personal life, and it really put my dental issues in perspective.  I was in pain, but at least I had good health, and the opportunity to afford good dental care, when many others have neither.  We all need those reminders, so we can focus on our Blessings and put aside the negatives.

I ended up giving the stylist a large tip, and hopefully it helped brighten her day.


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May 28th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

RAK #146 – Colorado Freedom Memorial

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RAK #146 – this is a special one for me.  Today, we officially dedicated the Colorado Freedom Memorial, a project I have been helping with for 8 years.  It was an amazing day, and to see my friend Rick Crandall’s face as the reality of the project was finally here…truly amazing.

I am so proud of everyone involved with this project. He and his family have spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours dedicated to getting this Memorial built, mostly for people they have never met.

That is the ultimate Random Act of Kindness.



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May 26th, 2013 at 10:46 pm

RAK #145 – Quarters in Vending Machines

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RAK #145 – this was another easy one…while at the local grocery store, I took some extra quarters and put them in the slots of the kids’ vending machines. Hope it made some child’s day!


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May 25th, 2013 at 4:06 pm

RAK #144 – Random RAKnotes at Work

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RAK #44 – I had a few of the inspirational RAKnotes left over this week, so I dropped them in random places around my office yesterday for coworkers to find.  Hope they liked them!


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May 25th, 2013 at 4:01 pm

RAK #143 – RAKnotes in the Drive-thru

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RAK #143 – I’ve been heavy on the RAKnotes this week, but I’m just going with it!  I stopped for a quick lunch, and gave the employee working the drive-thru a RAKnote and Candy. Hope it made his day!


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May 23rd, 2013 at 10:37 pm

RAK #142 – Helped a Friend in Need

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RAK #142 – this was an easy one…I talked to a friend that needed some advice on some personal challenges he is going through…I think he mainly was looking for a listening ear, but he really appreciated me taking time to chat. Good stuff!


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May 22nd, 2013 at 11:40 pm