A week or so ago, I stood outside my gym, waiting for a ride to come pick me up.
I realized I had my checkbook with me, and I gave into an impulse born from curiosity and boredom.
“Excuse me,” I said to a passerby. “I know this is kind of random, but would you like me to write you a check for ten dollars?”
Then another person, walking with their daughter.
“So I am doing a bit of a social experiment,” I said. “Will you please accept a check for ten dollars?”
Once again, nope.
A few days before that, I took a cue from James Altucher. Once he stood outside the stock exchange and gave people Hershey’s kisses. “Want a kiss?” he asked. I don’t remember if he said how many people took his kisses, but I think it was a lot.
Well, I tried to give a guy a chocolate peanut butter treat outside a grocery store. He declined, then erupted into laughter as I walked away.
They were really good treats too.
My conclusion is, I caught these people off guard and they were scared of me.
If any of them had said yes, they would have gotten what I offered, no strings attached.
But people expect strings to be attached.
Or they expect axe murderers, or something.
Recently, I walked in the woods with some friends. And one of them talked about how it seemed like someone could jump out from the trees at any moment. I’ve been through those woods dozen of times, and all I’ve seen were deer, critters, and other people enjoying nature. The forest is one of my havens. I’d never considered psycho killers.
People are afraid of people.
Because people have done and do awful things.
But people also have done and continue to do a lot of wonderful things.
And if I wake up every day and choose to be wonderful instead of awful, then I play a role in changing the tides.
Same thing, if you wake up and make that choice.
And when you do that, you inspire the people around you.
With your kindness, you inspire others to be kind.
And the kindness cascades outwards until it cancels out some of the atrocities.
This restores some trust. I’d be happy to give someone ten dollars to make their day, and share my chocolate.
I wish I could go around handing people hundred dollar bills. I’m putting that on my bucket list.
But will people think the money is covered in anthrax?
Let’s make a world where people don’t have to be so afraid of each other.
Let’s do this right now.
Let’s win a world full of friends and trust.
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