In 1999, best-selling author Catherine Ryan Hyde released her novel Pay It Forward, which turned a simple and seemingly ordinary concept of performing acts of kindness for others into a full-blown movement. The novel follows twelve-year-old Trevor McKinney as he works on a school assignment that requires him to invent and then execute a strategy to make the world a better place. What he comes up with is a modest, yet inspired plan – do something nice for three people, and then challenge each of them to do something nice for three more people, creating a domino effect of kindness. Over time, an initially small act that starts out helping just three individuals can turn into one that helps nine people, then twenty-seven, then eighty-one, and so on. Amazing, right?
Pay It Forward has since been turned into a major motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment, and an International Pay It Forward Day takes place annually on April 30. In 2014, people from 70 different countries celebrated the holiday by paying it forward!
In an effort to follow along in Trevor McKinney’s footsteps, this week’s Be Better Challenge is to “pay it forward” to three (or more!) people. It is time to start believing in your ability as an individual to make a positive and profound difference in the world.
It is exciting to think that – regardless of where you live, what you do, or whom you know – you are constantly surrounded by opportunities to pay it forward.
This week, you might choose to:
- Hold a door open for someone
- Pay for someone’s drink at Starbucks
- Let someone with fewer items than you cut ahead of you in line at the grocery store
- Send a care package to someone in the military
- Donate blood
- Bake cookies to drop off at your local firehouse or police station
- Put money in a parking meter that is about to expire
The options are endless. For more ideas, check out 60 Selfless Ways to Pay It Forward, these additional 25 ideas, or come up with your own alternatives. Do whatever feels right to you!
With each act of kindness you complete, you’re helping to create a more compassionate society.
Be Better by paying it forward and viewing each new day as an opportunity to brighten someone else’s day.