Most of us know that the negative 24-hour news cycle is not giving us the whole picture of our world, but it’s sure easy to get bogged down and forget that there is generosity and hope all over the world. Today we’ll put a spring in your step with a few windows on possibility.
First, keep in mind that you don’t have to donate thousands, feed hundreds, or make the cover of the local paper to change the world a little bit.
One simple act of generosity or thoughtfulness is like tossing a pebble into a pond. You will never know what ripples (Ever Widening Circles) go out from there, but you will change a heart or a mind a little, and that will change the future in some way, large or small.
It’s Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., and that’s a feasting day when we commemorate a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621. Many of us are moved to include some acts of generosity on this day, including being more patient with family members, and many of us will reflect about being thankful for what we have.
Today, we introduce you to an extraordinary fellow who brought his thankfulness and generosity to the streets. We are calling this man an “EWC Hope Leader.” Narayanan Krishnan has a story that illustrates the fact that any of us can improve the world for others. We can start out small or expand in ways we never dreamed possible. Take a look at just a small snippet of the story:
We also applaud the CNN Heroes project, which is where we learned about Narayanan. Here’s what CNN has to say about this one man’s defining moment of generosity:
With a degree in hand and future in sight, Narayanan was on his way to be an award-winning chef at a 5-star restaurant in Switzerland.”
All it took to change his plans forever was a walk on the streets of his home town of Madurai, India. It was then that he was taken aback by an elderly man lying on the side of the road. This man was starving and filthy. Narayanan reached out to this old man who placed his frail, wrinkled dirty hand upon his. This was a defining moment.” 2
Starting in 2002 and utilizing his own personal savings, Narayanan Krishnan quit his fantastic job to feed the poor, aged and mentally ill. His family thought he had lost his mind, but the idea kept scaling up, and by 2011 he had served 1.7 million meals. The story goes even further. Absolutely remarkable.
Take a look at Narayanan’s TED Talk, which tells the whole story…
Have you had your defining moment of inspired generosity yet? A moment when you knew your whole worldview had shifted and you would include some sort of service to others in your life?
My defining moment came when I was 22 years old, traveling in Morocco with Dr. Chuck and a good friend who was a journalist for NPR. We happened to spend time in the home of a very nice, middle-class family from the famous Fez Suk. All the while we were in their home, they treated a little girl – no more than 9 years old – like a slave. She scurried around, working in the shadows, wearing rags, exactly like the house elves in the Harry Potter series.
In fact, I remember taking the following photo surreptitiously, so that I would never forget that moment and this one little girl.
She seemed bound by cultural norms of some sort, and destined to spend her youth enslaved to this family. To this day, I’m not sure if they thought of their female children as worthless, and she was a daughter, or if she was child labor, an indentured servant with nowhere else to go, or simply a human being, bought and sold.
In any case, I have this photo to remember that day. I have never forgotten the sickening feeling and inspiration that her situation gave me.
I have since felt compelled to try to change the world – in some small way – for the boys and girls in it.
Though many of the people helped by Narayanan need much more than a meal, his charitable organization, at AkshayaTrust.org is an interesting place to have a look around. You can also visit the Akshaya Trust Facebook page.
One more thought about exercising your own muscles for generosity of spirit.
Generosity doesn’t have to include money. Be kind when your first impulse is to be aggravated. Buy the guy working in the bitter cold a cup of hot coffee. Pay a compliment to a stranger or new acquaintance.
And what if you are stuck in a meaningless job? Maybe that kind of a place is just waiting for one person to start a little movement of small kindnesses, mentoring, positive feedback!
Bottom line: Give someone the feeling they are valuable and their life has meaning… And your life will have more meaning too. It’s a good place to start no matter how you spend your day.
Thanks for stopping by today. We’ll be here tomorrow with another article to put a spring in your step. It is still an amazing world!
Scroll down to the very bottom of this page to find 6 more articles to explore. (Six of my very favorite articles are down there today, just by coincidence! Take a look and each of those will give you links to more wonder.)
If you are just curious, you can also scroll down our homepage to get a feel for the scope of this project and links to hundreds of other inspiring articles. Here’s a little sample:
Here at everwideningcircles.com, we write one article each day to change the dialogue about our world. It’s always something insightful, fun and hopeful: technology, art, sports, music, science, psychology, nature, culture, innovation.
We also have a great page of TED Talks we can recommend. Start anywhere, dive in and come out transformed by the possibilities.
Meanwhile, stay open, curious and hopeful.
~ Dr. Lynda
Imagine the coldest day you can remember, the biting wind chilling you to your core. Now imagine spending each day wandering through the city, with no home, no bed, no place to get warm. Empowering homeless people to create their own jobs is progress!
Those are the words of an ingenious, all around great person: Veronika Scott, who founded The Empowerment Plan.
Veronika’s mission was two-fold: develop a product in-house that would serve as both a warm coat and unfold to a warm sleeping bag, and, #2, gain these homeless folks some employment. And wouldn’t you know it? There were coat/sleeping bags to be made!
Wait until you see what she’s up to:
Here’s how Veronika puts it in her press release packet (you can read the rest of the press release here):
Over 20,000 homeless Detroiters bear the frigid Michigan winter each year. 1 in every 42 people in the city goes without a basic necessity: warmth. Because of this, shelters are often too overwhelmed and undersupported to help every individual in need. Each day people in need of basic amenities have to fend for themselves on the streets, and in freezing temperatures the difficulty to stay warm is only exacerbated.”
The Empowerment Plan employs and trains homeless women to become full time seamstresses, who manufacture a garment that serves as both a coat and a sleeping bag. The coats the women make are then distributed back to homeless individuals within the community at no cost to them. Through training and steady employment these women are able to elevate themselves from the cycle of poverty. Within the first few months of working with the program, we actively help these women and their families move off the streets or out of shelters by finding them secure, furnished housing. These women have empowered themselves with the confidence and skills necessary for a more sustainable, financially stable and healthier life.” 2
By starting The Empowerment Plan, Veronika has helped countless homeless people by recognizing and nurturing one of the most basic human needs: to have the pride of being able to take care of oneself. Here’s more about how this amazing story started and the far reaching results. Enjoy and get ready to be inspired!
Do you know a Veronika doing something wonderful to make the world better? Do you have your own “Veronika idea?” Let us all know about it!
To get involved, check out The EmpowermentPlan.org today. You can also contact your local soup kitchen, Salvation Army, or church to find out how you can help someone in need this holiday season and beyond and get them back to where they want to be in life: happy, warm, well fed, and feeling secure. You can also learn about The Empowerment Plan here, request a coat for yourself or someone in need by clicking here, or donate to the organization to show your support here.
If you’d like this kind of positive news coming your way once a day you can subscribe to EverWideningCircles.com.
Not sure?… Head to our homepage and scroll down through hundreds of articles – on any subject under the sun – and you will find that all of them will remind you that the world is still an amazing place.
You can scroll down to the bottom of this page to find a few more articles that will put a spring in your step!
Thanks for stopping by today. We’ll put a spring in your step again tomorrow.
Meanwhile, stay open, hopeful and curious!
~ Dr. Lynda (EWC founder)
Have you heard there’s a lot of discussion these days about the importance of teaching children to write computer code? The thought is that in our information age, coding is the new language of communication.
And just as in spoken language, we have to listen and speak well. Surfing the web is like listening, while writing computer code is akin to speaking in this information age.
Many experts will go so far as to point out that in almost all careers of the future, knowing how to code will be power.
So how would your life be different now if you knew how to code?
Ten years ago, I never dreamed I would start a huge website publishing good news each day, and now I’ve got 180,000 facebook fans, and a smart, positive global community counting on me!
So really, take a moment to stop to consider it: how would your life be different now if you knew how to code?
Here’s some food for thought:
Would you have something unique to offer in your work environment if you knew coding?
What could you do for the charity, church, or school you support?
Do you have a passion that you might share with the world if you could create your own website?
If you could code a decade ago (when it was an even rarer skill), you’d be a master by now. How would your life look different?
It can be an interesting mental exercise if you think about it.
And then just while I was turning this over in my mind the other night, I came across the following story…
Teaching the homeless to code
Hmmmmm? Now the notion of coding as a common language and a source of personal power is even more compelling.
If today’s video-share has sparked your curiosity for yourself or a friend, I found a terrific resource for us all. To check out a website that comes highly recommended by a Canadian technology guru, click here. See what you think and let us know!
Also, one of our favorite free on-line learning ventures – The Kahn Academy – has a number of amazing courses in a succession learning format. Don’t know about Kahn Academy? You’ll be amazed at the story.
Want to see a few more insightful articles?
Here at EverWideningCircles.com, we are changing the negative dialogue about the future.
To accomplish that, we write one carefully fact-checked article each day to demonstrate this is still an amazing world. All our pieces are featuring current innovations that are lost in the chaos of our mass media.
You’ll find thought-leaders in science, the arts, technology, business, culture, sports, music, nature and every other field you can think of here.
To see a few more articles that will put a spring in your step, scroll down to the bottom of this page to find some pieces I can recommend.
Or head to our homepage to scroll down there through dozens of inspiring topics.
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Stay open, curious, and optimistic.