50 ways to be ridiculously, shockingly generous — and feel ridiculously, shockingly good.

 
 

I realized — many years ago — that when I behave generously, I feel rich. And I like to feel rich. So I choose to be generous.

 

But “behaving generously” doesn’t necessarily mean “donating money” or “giving away your last cookie.”

You can share knowledge freely, instead of hoarding it. You can send a hand-written note, instead of a text message. You can make eye contact, instead of checking out. You can make a life-changing introduction for a friend, instead of letting them “connect the dots” on their own.

You can do big things. Small things. Simple things. Stupendous things.

You will never run out of ideas. You will never run out of love. You will only create more. And: it can feel like a game.
 

In fact, what would happen if …

You said “thank you” 50 different ways, to 50 different people, every day, for the next 50 days?

 
The possibilities are beyond imagining, but one thing’s for certain:

You’re about to become everybody’s favorite person.
 

Starting today, join me in 50 days of ridiculous, shocking generosity.

 

You don’t need to “prepare.”

You don’t have to “buy anything.”

You don’t need to “give it some thought.”

You don’t have to “clear space on your calendar.”

You just need to fold generosity into your day, in little ways, every day.
 

You IN? I’m IN.

Here are 50 prompts + possibilities, to propel us along.

(It’s going to feel so good.)

 
Day 1: Compliment three strangers: a child, someone your own age, and an elder. Congratulate them on something highly-specific — “Way to rock that tricycle, kiddo!” — or simply say: “You look lovely, today.”
 

Day 2: Find a Little Free Library near you + donate a book. Can’t find one? Start one.
 

Day 3: That public radio station or podcast you’ve been streaming for months — or years? Become a member. Don’t put it off. And while you’re at it? Send a gushing, praise-filled email to the production team.
 

Day 4: Find a blogger who’s been slammed with mean comments, lately. Send them a love note. Tell them to keep writing.
 

Day 5: Choose a local show — improv! stand-up comedy! storyslam! indie rock! — and bring a MASS AVALANCHE of friends. Scream. Cheer. Make the hardworking, little-thanked performers feel like superstars.
 

Day 6: Choose a struggling (or not so struggling) poet and publicly thank them, on Twitter. Like this.
 

Day 7: Choose a big-name celebrity that you admire and write them a genuine, heartfelt letter of thanks. Just to say, “I love your work + you move me.” No “request” or “ask” or “gimme,” attached.
 

Day 8: Offer to take a photo of a sweet couple in love. When you email it to them, send along a Kiind gift certificate, too — for a bottle of wine, or a couple of coffees.
 

Day 9: See a bicycle with a basket, parked on the street? Put flowers in it.
 

Day 10: Sponsor a small local yoga class. Buy up 10 or 20 spots, and give them away to strangers. Or neighbors. Yoga for everybody!
 

Day 11: Tell a teenager: “You are so smart. Scary smart. I can’t wait to see who you become. And I love who you are, right now.”
 

Day 12: Tell your mom (or someone who feels like your mom): “You raised me right. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from you? This: _______________.”
 

Day 13: Tell your dad (or someone who feels like your dad): “You’ve given me so many gifts. Like the ability to _______________, and the confidence to _______________. Thank you.”
 

Day 14: Be like Diane von Furstenberg and start your day by sending out one email specifically designed to help somebody else — without directly benefiting you at all — before you do anything else. Make introductions, send some encouragement, offer a helpful resource or link.
 

Day 15: Prowl through your closet and donate some treasures to Dress For Success — or its equivalent, in your country. You’ll de-clutter your wardrobe + help a struggling lady look like a star at her next job interview.
 

Day 16: Put away your smartphone + close down your inbox for a day (or just an hour). Give the world the gift of your undivided, non-digital attention.
 

Day 17: Experiment with Tonglen meditation: inhale suffering (yours + others), exhale compassion (for the whole world).
 

Day 18: Tip generously. Not sure how much? This is how much. Except double it.
 

Day 19: Record a Vocaroo message for someone you’ve been meaning to thank, for awhile. Tell them: “Keep this audio note + replay it whenever you’re doubting your extraordinary awesomeness.”
 

Day 20: Buy a meal for a stranger + start a magical chain reaction.
 

Day 21: Do somebody else’s laundry. Ask for nothing in return.
 

Day 22: Turn a photo from your smartphone into a real postcard. Send it.
 

Day 23: Give someone a grrrrreat massage. Here’s how.
 

Day 24: Get outlandishly excited about a small piece of good news, from a friend. (“You did WHAT? Just like THAT? You’re AMAZING!”) Model the kind of unbridled enthusiasm that you want to see in the world.
 

Day 25: Overwhelmed with things to read? Instead of cancelling your newspaper or magazine subscriptions, donate them to a local school for a few months (like this) till you’re ready to start receiving them again. Or not.
 

Day 26: Riding the bus? Waiting in line? Strike up a fascinating conversation with somebody who looks bored, sad or checked out. Start by simply asking: “What was the BEST part of your day?”
 

Day 27: Applying for a job? Trying to woo a client? Or even just make a friend? Send them something useful + astonishingly generous, before asking for anything. (It will change your world.)
 

Day 28: Create a gracious auto-responder for your email, packed with helpful answers to frequently-asked questions, links, resources — even a complimentary gift. (Need an example? Email me to see mine.)
 

Day 29: Buy a massage for a veteran of war. (Just call a local massage therapist, make a payment, and then contact your local veteran’s health administration and pass along the details.) Yes, you can afford it.
 

Day 30: Call up a friend who’s been having a rough time — or just an agonizingly busy week. Say: “Let me vacuum for you.” (They may weep.)
 

Day 31: Make a mixtape of uplifting, positive, soul-affirming tunes. Label it: “Listen to this when you need to remember who you are.” Leave the CD (or several copies) in a local coffeeshop.
 

Day 32: Send a story tip to a local reporter. (Especially if it’s good news.)
 

Day 33: Leave a wrapped gift on top of your trashcan with a note for your friendly neighborhood waste disposal professional. They deal with unspeakable filth, every week, all for YOU.
 

Day 34: Brew up a big pot of (good) coffee. Fill up some eco-friendly-ish disposable cups. Offer free java to everyone at work — or the bus stop.
 

Day 35: Buy an Amazon gift for a total stranger. (Search wishlists, here.)
 

Day 36: Four words: gourmet ice cream delivery.
 

Day 37: Choose a friend. Any friend. Grab a notebook. (Or … this book.) Fill the book with love notes + compliments written by you, and other people, too. Give it to your friend, and tell them it’s a High School Yearbook for the Soul.
 

Day 38: Make an 8Tracks playlist for your favorite human. Instruct them to shimmy the night away.
 

Day 39: Leave a platter of treats in the common area of your office or apartment building. Extra credit: a handwritten card with an inspirational quote + a list of ingredients (for folks who are plagued with allergies.)
 

Day 40: Pray for someone. Or if you don’t pray: send love.
 

Day 41: Nominate a talented friend for an award. Like The Bloggies. Or The Webbies. Or The Stevies. Or … perhaps one of these.
 

Day 42: Help somebody land their dream job. Proof a friend’s resume. Rock out a mock interview. Loan them your lucky blazer. Tell them: “You’ve got this.”
 

Day 43: Volunteer to mentor an aspiring entrepreneur through your local SCORE chapter. (You don’t have to be an “expert” or know “everything.” You just have to know a few things … more than they do.)
 

Day 45: Leave a rave review on the iTunes page of your favorite podcast. Gush. Five stars. Bravo!
 

Day 46: Arrange a luxurious gift for a public school teacher. A concert pass. A nice bottle of wine. God, they need some love.
 

Day 47: Drag a friend — kicking and screaming — on stage to read a poem, do karaoke or tell a joke. Roar + cheer for them. Show them it’s safe to be visible — to be seen.
 

Day 48: Ask someone, “How was your day — really?” Let that person talk about themselves, past the point of comfort. Lean in. Stay there. Be present. Let ‘em ramble. Give it that extra five minutes.
 

Day 49: Send a pizza to your best friend’s office. Lunch = sorted. Surprise!
 

Day 50: Be ridiculous + shocking + start this 50-day cycle of generosity … all over again. Because you can. You’re just that glorious.

 


 

This post was brought to you by the letter A, for Awesome.

And: it was written in celebration of my new book: 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome.

The little book that’s (really) a BIG reminder to say “thank you” to the people who make your life tremendously better.

 

50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome is available for pre-order now. It hits the shelves on October 1st.

Grab a copy for everybody on your holiday gift list. Order in bulk for your whole team. And come to a book launch party, why doncha? Launch party schedule + a sneak peek at the book = right here.

In completely sincerity: I’d love to see my book in the hands of thousands of people, of course.

But ultimately: I don’t actually care if you purchase my book or not.

What I really want is for all of us to say “thank you.” Daily. With devotion.
 

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

 
xo.

 
 

Comments

This is awesome. You’re awesome Alex! I wish I could meet you at one of your book launch. I’m in France with my newborn though, enjoying it :)
This will be printed out and on the wall very soon!
Love, gratitude and chocolate to you.

I’m feeling sooooooo inspired by this amazing movement of generosity that you are starting Alexandra. It feels perfect for September with its energy of harvest + bounty and sharing the abundance!

I am in Alex. Thank you for creating this movement!

You are the coolest! Am deep diving in a pool of gratitude right now and excited for all the inspiring ways to show it!

Cathryn Castle on Sep 6, 2013 Reply

A greatly needed burst of positive energy for humanity. Thank you Alex. I’m with you on this one.

LOVE this post! Big smile over here :)

I LOVE paying it forward Alex. There’s no better feeling than watching someone’s delight after paying for their coffee or lunch while hiding out of sight to see their reaction. Or gifting them with a “love” note after they had a crappy day!

Thank you for this extensive list of ideas to help me show others that I care. I look forward to implementing.

I really like this list. A lot. Thank you for sharing it.

This comes at a perfect time for me, as I’m creating a list of ways I want to live more powerfully in the coming year. This is going up on my wall! Thanks for sharing, I love this. I also shared it on my blog’s Weekly Top Five last week, spreading the love! – http://courageloveintensity.com/2013/09/06/weekly-top-five-the-wind-keeps-howlin/

Beautiful! Thank You for this

I luuuuuuvvvvv this! Wonderful ideas to do and share. Thank you so much and congrats on the book!

Alexandra you are a wonderful spunky sparkling soul – thank you for making my heart smile, and will definitely pay this forward.

Hey! It’s my first time on your blog (I don’t know how I got here but you cannot make me leave) and I found this post super inspiring! I resolved to have a generous, kind new year but have slacked off and this has taken me back to my goal. Thanks heaps for writing it!

Laura, NZ on Oct 2, 2013 Reply

This is an awesome and inspiring post. Thank you, Alexandra.

My goodness my darling- you are such a peach! I feel overwhelmingly inspired to get my generosity on. Thank you, thank you, thank you! x

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