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What is a Random Act of Kindness?

The term has always baffled and, to be honest, mildly annoyed me.

According to Dictionary.com, random means “proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern.”

Why should an act of kindness be random?  Shouldn’t we be purposeful and deliberate about the kind acts we do for others?

But it recently occurred to me that randomness elevates kindness to the highest level.

Kindness is an impulse to give, to serve, or to inspire joy.  Kindness is, by definition, unnecessary and uncalled for–or, according to common parlance–random.

A note with a smiley-face stuck on a coffee mug.  An unexpected “thinking of you” text.  A single chocolate candy waiting for you on your desk.  A link to a short video you would like discovered in your inbox.

I’d like to collect a list of ideas with which we can inspire ourselves to perform more acts of kindness and to elicit more ideas of how to do so.

What random acts of kindness have you performed?  What acts have been done for you, or would you like to have done for you?

At home, at work, or on the street, think of one example of a way to brighten someone else’s day.

Please share your suggestion in the comments.


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Yonason Goldson
Yonason Goldsonhttps://www.yonasongoldson.com/
Yonason Goldson works with business leaders to build a culture of ethics, setting higher standards to earn loyalty and trust. He’s a rabbinic scholar, repentant hitchhiker, and co-host of the weekly podcast “The Rabbi and the Shrink.” He has published hundreds of articles applying ancient wisdom to the challenges of the modern world, and six books, most recently “Grappling with the Gray: an ethical handbook for personal success and business prosperity.” The ninja were covert agents in feudal Japan who practiced espionage, deception, and surprise attacks. Doesn't that make Ethics Ninja a contradiction in terms? Not at all. Just as the master of martial arts turns an opponent’s strength against himself, the Ethics Ninja turns attacks against moral values back against the adversaries of ethics, exposing groupthink and double-standards through rational argument in asymmetrical battle to vanquish the enemies of moral clarity.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Yonason, I wish I has read your post before submitting my two posts earlier today to BIZCATALYST. Both posts show how random acts of action may align. They are like fireflies. Research has shown that if you put up to twenty of them in a room they shall glow randomly. Surprisingly, if you add more fireflies they start glowing with amazing synchronicity and a bright light wave emerges that brighten their dark.

    Same is true with random acts of kindness. Once you have few of them they glow in an orderly passion.

    My act of kindness to you is sharing this post on Twitter.

  2. Yonason, I have to agree with you on the use of the phrase “random acts of kindness,” yet my take away is that while the act is deliberate,
    you choose at random someone to do the act for.

    One of my simple random acts is that of giving someone or several someones a smile and brighten their day. I’ve met people in the
    supermarket (pre-covid) who had a fierce look on their face and looked directly at them and smiled as I walked up to them in the aisle.
    I’ve seen their face and body change when they smile in return and we share a pleasant Good Morning. It’s been more challenging
    while wearing masks but we can smile with our eyes and say a nice Hello. Even for a minute we change the focus of/for another person.

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