Mindful

What if we tried to be kind to as many people as we could?

A Brooklyn-based start-up called Kindness.org is community-sourcing a kinder, gentler world—identifying initiatives, setting targets, and the sharing results. So far, there’s 11 acts of kindness to choose from—you can pick up litter, give your favourite book away, ask an elder for advice, and more.

“I don’t have money, but I have time.”

The initiative kicked off with a video of London-based math tutor Joe reaching out to random strangers—most very suspicious of his altruism. (If you ever needed a reminder of how difficult it is for humans to make themselves vulnerable to each other, it’s the elderly woman who very politely declines help with her suitcase and multiple bags.)

The video received six million views on Facebook within 24 hours.

Another person responds to Joe’s question with another: “Are you rich?” He says if you want to help people, you need money, to which Joe responds: “I don’t have money, but I have time.” Which is the whole point of the points system with Kindness.org: it’s the small, everyday acts that amount to something.

Beyond the 11 online initiatives, Kindness.org has commissioned Oxford University to conduct a meta-analysis on the effects of kindness on well-being. (The paper has been submitted for publication to Psychological Bulletin.) They also fund and co-produce the Living Room project with the non-profit Camerados—pop-up tea shops in the UK that help with social isolation. There’s a permanent space in a library in Blackpool, England.

 

Stephany Tlalka

Stephany Tlalka is Deputy Editor, Digital, at Mindful.

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