29 Ways to Show Unique Gratitude (and other Random Acts of Kindness)

Written by Scott November 24, 2010

Random Kindness

“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.”

-Albert Einstein quotes

Written by Scott Dinsmore

Average Read Time: 3.5 Minutes

Right now I’m with 17 family members in Maui for Thanksgiving. I am grateful. (And don’t worry, I wrote most of this post last week so I could enjoy the beach).

Being away from the norm and with people you love, brings the concept of gratitude front and center. Every year I make it a point to dedicate time to giving back and letting people know what they’ve created in my life.

Last year I gave Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches to a dozen homeless people in Union Square in San Francisco. Throughout the year I give 10-20 of my most life-changing book to those who are in a big transition who could really use the nudge. This year I may spend a week in Costa Rica helping a community that has less than we could imagine. We’ll see.

The smallest things can make all difference in your life and others.

You just need to remember to take the time to show your gratitude and spread your kindness. The world needs it. Thanksgiving is a good reminder that the below ought to be practiced all year.

29 Ways to Show Unique Gratitude

  1. Tell someone face to face how much they mean to you.
  2. Write a thank you note (via snail mail).
  3. Send a post card.
  4. Pack your lunch and then give it to those you come across who need it.
  5. Put a stickie note somewhere random that’ll make someone smile (like Operation Beautiful).
  6. Leave a creative smily face for your spouse (I make mine with a banana and two apples in the kitchen).
  7. Smile ear to ear at everyone you see – it’s contagious.
  8. Call someone you know is in a tough spot and just listen for as long as they’d like.
  9. Give your books a new home with a new mind.
  10. Call, email or write your closest 5 people in your life and let them know the unique impact they have on your life.
  11. Pay for the the guy’s Starbucks who’s behind you in line.
  12. Get a $100 in 2-dollar bills from the bank and use them as your tip money – guaranteed smile.
  13. Get a doggy bag no matter how small your leftovers are. Give it to the first person you see who needs it.
  14. Buy a dozen sandwiches and pass then out to homeless folks in a busy area (one of my favorites).
  15. Give a anonymous donation of whatever you can afford.
  16. Buy a lottery ticket for a homeless person.
  17. Take that coat or jacket you never wear and give it to someone on the street (do this with anything you haven’t worn in the past 6 months).
  18. Make a friend their favorite meal.
  19. Or buy them a bottle of wine and drink it together, slowly, with no agenda.
  20. Share an experience with someone you love- perhaps a sunset or special walk.
  21. Send one of my articles to someone you know could use it.
  22. Open a door for someone.
  23. When someone’s having car troubles, instead of speeding by frustrated, stop to help.
  24. Give genuine compliments to those you hardly know (like a waiter or bus driver).
  25. Leave a huge tip (I love doing this with breakfast, since the bill is usually low).
  26. Donate a week of your life to a good cause like Eric Shamas offers with One Week a Year.
  27. Leave an inspirational book on the bus.
  28. Leave a $2 bill (or $1) on a random windshield.
  29. Take a picture for a tourist.
  30. Send this list to to a few friends.

Ok so it looks like you got 30 instead of 29 – Consider it a Thanksgiving bonus.

Plenty more ideas can be found in Arvind Devalia’ awesome kindness post (where I borrowed a few of the above), as well as RandomActsofKindness.org.

Writing the above makes me reflect on my life so I thought I’d share…

What I’m Grateful For (a shortened list):

  1. Having a wife who’s my best friend.
  2. The ‘dream job’ I never got out of college.
  3. A business partner that perfectly compliments my strengths.
  4. A family that knows nothing but unconditional support for my ideas.
  5. My audience of over 1,500 who continue to listen, learn and teach me new things (that’s you).
  6. My simple one-bedroom apartment – just enough but not too much for my family of two.
  7. Friends who keep me thinking big.
  8. Being a beginner.
  9. Having 17 family members close to me (in Hawaii no less!).
  10. My team in India who continues to get more over-my-head stuff done while I sleep than I can while I’m awake.
  11. The endless inspiration I have in my models for success.
  12. A body that can tackle most fitness challenges (or at least has the courage to try).
  13. Being able to work from anywhere – and do what I’m meant to do.
  14. The stack of 23 books on my shelf I’ve yet to read.
  15. This morning’s sunrise

There is always something to be grateful for.

No matter what your circumstances, as dark as they can seem at times, there is always something worth appreciating. Often the most important times to be grateful are during the most difficult times. Gratitude is a powerful emotion. When you are truly grateful in the moment, it’s impossible to feel fear or stress or anxiety, or any of those negative emotions that keep us for experiencing our potential. Allow gratitude to take over.

Flood yourself with gratitude today (and everyday).

Use the above as your guide to realizing how awesome you have it. Go on a walk or a run or just sit outside (ideally in nature), bring your journal if you have it, and start to flood your head with what is amazing in life right now.

  • What have you created for yourself and others?
  • What unique dent are you putting in the world?
  • What are you truly grateful for?

These can be as big as selling your business or as small as seeing a smile or waking up above ground.

The simpler things you can find gratitude in, the more often you’ll find yourself inundated in it.

What could you do for others to help them experience this? What simple things will bring a smile to those around you? Dedicated a small (or big) portion of your day and you’ll begin to experience life on a whole new level.

This is how I start each day. It’s awesome. Pair it with a workout (or something you’re already doing) and there’s no excuse.

Every purpose involves helping others.

We are not complete on our own. What makes life rich is the way we interact and serve others. The more you do it, the richer the results.

Go out and touch some people in a way only you can.

Start with the simplest (and most powerful) show of gratitude there is: Spend time with the people you love and those who love you. Simple as that. Be there with them and be purely present. There is no sign of love, thanks and kindness more genuine.

I’m off to the beach to do just that.

How are you going to show your gratitude this week? List at least one specific thing in the comments below.

Photo Courtesy of Operation Beautiful.


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