The Lost Art of Generosity and How We Can Regain It

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The Lost Art of Generosity and How We Can Regain It

If we’re honest, today’s society looks much different than that of yesteryear. And one major change is how generous we are with each other. Whereas an entire community used to get together to raise a barn in a single day (SPOILER: without pay!), we now have to contract these types of services out. Neighbors used to really know one another and people were more giving of their time, resources, and money. We are now a society with a lost art of generosity.

Many of us are hurrying from one activity to the next, and generosity is often the last thing on our minds. Sure, we might write a monthly check to our favorite charitable organization, but acts of generosity and service often fall to the wayside in the wake of life’s demanding responsibilities.

You might be wondering how we can revive this lost art of generosity? Well, it might be simpler than you think. Here are some very small, practical steps you can starting taking today to encourage more generosity around you.

  1. Say good morning to everyone.
  2. Hold a door open.
  3. Bring the office coffee. Or donuts, bagels, or fresh fruit.
  4. Say please and thank you all the time.
  5. Give up your seat.
  6. Really listen.
  7. Don’t interrupt.
  8. Return your shopping cart.
  9. Use driving etiquette. Let people merge. Yield at traffic signals appropriately. Don’t tailgate.
  10. Say I’m sorry when you’re in the wrong.
  11. Throw away your trash.
  12. Pick up someone else’s trash and throw it away.
  13. Volunteer to walk the neighbor’s dog.
  14. Send words of encouragement to someone who’s struggling.
  15. Help a friend who is super stressed.
  16. Leave a generous tip when dining out.
  17. Drop your spare change into a tip jar.
  18. Pass along a book, especially if it’s a really good one.
  19. Send a handwritten note.
  20. Put a quarter or two in an expired parking meter.
  21. Do your best to locate the owner of a lost cellphone or wallet.
  22. Make eye contact with people and smile.
  23. Compliment others for jobs well done.
  24. Let people hop in front of you in lines.
  25. Treat a friend to a night out—for no reason!
  26. Praise coworkers when they complete difficult tasks.
  27. Send your boss or manager a letter of gratitude.
  28. Leave an interesting article on the train for someone else to enjoy.
  29. Invite your neighbors over for an evening of preparing freezer meals.
  30. Take a meal to your neighbors.
  31. Start a backyard ball game and invite the neighborhood kids over.
  32. Offer to mentor someone.
  33. Tell your spouse you love them and a reason why.
  34. Call your mom. Thank her for doing her best.
  35. Put a surprise note in your kid’s or spouse’s lunch.
  36. Send a “thinking about you” text.
  37. Take a meal to your aging parents.
  38. Put the bounty from your garden on a stand by the road with a free sign.
  39. Volunteer time at the senior center.
  40. Become an organ and bone marrow donor.
  41. Donate blood.
  42. Offer shelter under your umbrella to others headed in the same direction.
  43. Do something around the house without being asked.
  44. Submit a positive online review of a business.
  45. Praise an employee’s service to their manager.
  46. Return books to the appropriate spot on shelves.
  47. Donate your items around the house.
  48. Give someone the benefit of a doubt.
  49. Donate $1. You never know how much it could help another.
  50. Open an email address for your kids and fill it with memories, quotes, and special things that take place in their childhood.
  51. Check in with someone.
  52. Offer to babysit free of charge.
  53. Return items left at your house after parties or events.
  54. Invite someone to dinner.
  55. Offer to carry someone’s groceries to their car.
  56. When upset, take ten minutes before responding.
  57. Print extra coupons to pass along to friends.
  58. Give directions.
  59. Offer to take a tourist’s photo.
  60. Buy the kid’s lemonade.
  61. Write a note of encouragement and leave it between the pages of a library book.
  62. Coach a sports team.
  63. Help a classmate prepare for a test.
  64. Bring in your neighbor’s trashcans.
  65. Forgive someone.
  66. Weed a community flowerbed.
  67. Complain less, be grateful more.
  68. Send a care package.
  69. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
  70. Help someone with bags or luggage.

We at ARIIX believe that a generous heart is essential. So let’s work together to revive the lost art of generosity by incorporating some of these simple, daily activities into our routine! What are the little acts of generosity you try to do everyday or notice others doing? This list should just be the start—there are endless ways to become more generous!

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