Live Your Legend | 29 Ways to Show Unique Gratitude (and other Random Acts of Kindness)
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29 Ways to Show Unique Gratitude (and other Random Acts of Kindness)

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

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

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.

  • Alex Blackwell
    Posted at 09:45h, 24 November Reply

    The perfect list for this time of year Scott!

    Thanks for allowing us to take a small peak into your life. You truly have a lot to be grateful for in your life – how blessed you are!

    Happy Thanksgiving,


    • Scott
      Posted at 08:27h, 25 November Reply

      I love sharing a window in a on the life of Scott Dinsmore as much as I can for you all. Glad you liked it Alex. The amazing thing is no matter your situation there is amazing gratitude to be found in it. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Uzma
    Posted at 11:17h, 24 November Reply

    What a fantastic list. I feel the positivity and joy all the way over here(in India).
    Loved the idea of leaving an inspirational book somewhere. Also loved your personal gratitude list. It has so much joy in it, its wonderful . Thank u for the reminder that our purpose is in helping others. Have a great holiday.

    • Scott
      Posted at 08:28h, 25 November Reply

      It all starts with helping others Uzma. If everyone focused on nothing but that, the world would be a different place. Hope all is awesome out in India. The sun in about to rise in Hawaii.

  • John Sherry
    Posted at 11:40h, 24 November Reply

    Scott, your gratitude is evident and I feel the love.

    And that’s my gratitude – for all my friends, family, acquaintances and friendly faces who have helped me be me. They have shaped, honed, improved and challenged me to be my authentic, 100% natural self. To all them I say – Bless you for you have given me back to myself and I love that person thanks to you.

    May Maui be magic for Thanksgiving Scott – enjoy the love!

    • Scott
      Posted at 08:29h, 25 November Reply

      I love your gratitude shout out John. May we all be so fortunate!

  • Mayi Carles @ Heartmade
    Posted at 10:34h, 26 November Reply

    I really enjoyed reading these. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Scott
      Posted at 21:14h, 05 December Reply

      My pleasure Mayi. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Sean Evans
    Posted at 11:16h, 02 December Reply

    Hi Scott,

    Great post and some fantastic ideas!

    There are a lot of various initiatives for random acts of kindness, but I wanted to throw one more your way. It’s something a few friends and I started recently and thought maybe you and some of your readers would find it interesting.

    The gist of it…

    We all have truly memorable days in our lives…birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. But have you ever thought about what is the most forgotten day of the year?

    We think it is the 29th of February.

    And in celebration of this most forgotten day, we started The 29th Initiative and invite everyone to think about something else that is often forgotten, the random act of kindness.

    Please join us on the 29th of each month to perform a random act of kindness. It could be buying flowers for a stranger or a coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks. Anything that brings joy, no matter how small, into someone’s life!

    While this should not be an act of recognition, please help inspire others by joining our initiative and sharing your acts of kindness. And please invite others to join our movement!

    You can find us at



    • Scott
      Posted at 21:13h, 05 December Reply

      This is awesome stuff Sean! I am all up for joining you on the 29th. See you there for sure. Thanks for spreading the word. I hope all the other freedom fighters on this site join in as well. This is the kind of stuff that can change the world.


  • Peter Twohig
    Posted at 15:36h, 03 December Reply

    Great! How about: Every time I see someone collecting for charity I give all the small change I have (it’s more than you think).

    • Scott
      Posted at 21:10h, 05 December Reply

      I love it Peter. That’ll add up big time.

  • Linda O
    Posted at 13:06h, 07 December Reply

    Great ideas, Scott! My daughter printed cards years ago that said “Ego-boost Bandit.” When someone did something nice or she just wanted to give someone a smile, she’d leave these cards for them…usually anonymously. I know how proud I was of her doing that and I’m sure she brought happiness to many folks through that little effort. Thanks to you for bringing joy and happiness into the lives of others!

    • Scott
      Posted at 19:34h, 13 December Reply

      What an awesome idea Linda. I love it. Sounds like she is living the very most important practice we write and talk about. That’s the key. Hat’s off to her– and to you for raising such a person!


  • arina nikitina
    Posted at 17:42h, 29 December Reply

    These are really precious ideas and wisdom to live by, Scott! Before December, I went to see my grandmom for no other reason but just to spend like 36 hours with her. When she asked, I simply said being with her is my Christmas gift. “You’re not getting me that knitting set then?” Gram asked playfully and just laughed. The few hours we cooked, shared stories, exchanged learnings about life. We spent the evening peering into old photos and stuff. Before I left, it was finally out. “I just wanted to thank you, Gram. Because you’re always an inspiration.” She handed me a daintily wrapped present. “You might be too busy to come for the holidays. And there’s no way am wasting money on the courier services.”

    Come Christmas, I called gram and she was thankful for the knitting set I sent her, obviously acting she was surprised about it. “Did you like my Christmas present?” Gram asked and I told her it yet has to be opened. Exchanging greetings and affectionate words, I was smiling when our phone chat ended. The smile became a drop-jaw disbelief when I opened Gram’s present: a bejeweled brooch her grandma gave her!

    These events came into mind when I read this post. Just wanted to share it. Because while we don’t need to expect anything in return for the kindness or generosity we extend to others, some of life’s greatest surprises are results of that goodness. Bless Gram!

    • Scott
      Posted at 11:08h, 13 January Reply

      Bless Gram indeed! That is a beautiful story Arina. Thank you for sharing. You clearly have this approach nicely figured out. Give with no intent on receiving. Simple as that.

      Glad you’re along for the adventure!

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