The goal of this book is simple and noble: Gratitude. To be more specific, this book is designed to share author Brad Aronson’s gratefulness for the blessings in his own life and the outpouring of kindness he and his wife received when she was diagnosed with Leukemia.
But it’s not all about the author. Rather, he uses this platform to share great works happening throughout the world and how we can also affect positive change one small act at a time. Each chapter details stories of people who’ve made the decision to prioritize others. To give of their gifts and share simple acts of kindness that have had long-lasting ripple effects and change lives and truly does impact the world. These vignettes include celebrities, athletes, humanitarians and everyday people who have demonstrated altruism and human kindness.
Aronson profoundly stresses throughout that these works of human kindness do not need to be grand. Rather they can be exchanged through a chance encounter or daily interaction. A simple smile, a kind word, a note of gratitude or sharing a cup of coffee can have a major impact and he illustrates examples of how these little (and bigger) acts change people’s dispositions, and in some cases, lives.
“We don’t need money or an abundance of time to make a difference. We wield incredible power with our words.”
Through his book he also hopes to plant seeds of inspiration for all of us to grow good works of our own and share our special gifts and talents with the world. And he shares how that can be done with “Take 15 minutes” exercises. You can see that acts of kindness don’t take a lot of time or effort, but “just a little bit from your day.”
“Think like Santa. Give gifts to people you don’t know. Let someone know that someone out there cares about them, even if they’ve never met you.”
Some of these takeaway ideas that have helped him (and countless others) make a difference in their personal disposition and daily interactions. I especially appreciated the story of the clever and emotionally-tugging “Christmas Jar” and “I’ve got my father’s wallet.”
It was difficult for me to read HumanKind with dry eyes.
But these were not tears of sorrow, but rather, joy. Sometimes it’s the simple acts of graciousness that have the most intrinsic and long-lasting results and when you consider that perspective and see illustrated examples, it evokes an emotionally warm response.
Here’s where the impact comes. Thinking less about oneself and more about others changes everything. Though many of his examples were centered around people with health-related challenges, he did share those of folks facing incredible personal and financial struggles and how small, nonmonetary acts of kindness changed their lives forever.
When you are having a rough day or are questioning your purpose in life, open Brad Aronson’s book, Humankind.
HumanKind will not only inspire you to think differently but inspire you to take action. Even if you only send a kind text to a friend and tell them how much you appreciate them, you have made a big difference in another person’s life. We spend too much time focusing on what is happening to us and how we are struggling in our lives. HumanKind demonstrates how, as fast and as easy as changing your shoes, one fifteen-minute exercise can rip you from a funk and plunk you into a better head and heart space. Give it try and please, give HumanKind a read.
“We can’t foresee all the effects of an act of kindness. Sometimes we can’t get past the idea that our contributions would amount to the proverbial drop in a bucket. But you never know which ‘drop in the bucket’ will spark a movement and you don’t want to cheat the world out of that.”
Image Courtesy of Wonderkind PR