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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kindness and Generosity. Where do we start?

When you break generosity down to its basic form, it is made up of two parties: one with surplus and the other with need. And the decision to be generous is a form of love.

In 2007, I decided I wouldn’t wait until I was “wealthy” to start giving. Generosity and being kind was a journey I desired to embark on now. I believed kindness was less like a straight forward thing and more like a thing that bounce back. It always comes back to you.

My giving at the time consisted of about RM50 of my RM2100 per month income. Which was great! It was a firm starting point and it helped form the perspective on money that I needed at that time in my life.

But eventually, I began feeling small. Almost like my contribution wasn’t truly making a difference. At the time, my income wasn’t high and sometimes I just couldn’t afford to pay off debt, survive in Kuala Lumpur, and would always wish to spend RM1,000 to a cause that I cared about.

But then I realized generosity is rarely about money. It’s about time. It’s about friendship. It’s about opportunities, introductions, and networking. And sure, it was about money too. So here’s what I did:

1. I Created a Kindness Pocket.
My Kindness Pocket is at my back left pocket of my pants. Whenever I have change, normally those RM1 notes, I’ll put it in my Kindness Pocket. This money is meant to be used for anything that will not only make others happy, but it will make me happy too. Sometimes the amount of money can go up to RM100 and they are so many things that I can do. Buy a breakfast for the makcik cleaner, pay the toll fee for the car behind or even a suspended kuih at a stall nearby. Well, now I have a dedicated fund just to perform any act of kindness.

2. I Created a Time Account
Over the next few years, I created not only a Kindness Pocket, but a time account on my smartphone. I decided I would donate 2 hours per week to do any random act of kindness.  At this time, my hourly rate was about RM100 per hour (the rate UIA gave me as a part time lecturer). This small step boosted my giving approximately RM800 per month. I felt so good!

3. Wake up in the morning a think any new kindness idea to perform
This is my favorite mind hack. Every morning I would visualise and think of any new kindness ideas. Pinterest and Instagram are where I nurture most of the new kindness ideas.  Then I could imagine implementing the idea and start seeing people smiling and this feeling will never fails to brighten my entire day. It is not that every day I could come out with new ideas, but sometimes doing the same act of kindness will always me feel better anyway.

For such a small effort it seems to create a huge sense of gratitude. It might be because the effort of doing a small act of kindness is a real necessity. Next time you perform a random act of kindness, I promise your kindness will be returned. I call this effective altruism. Even in its smallest form, can still be significant.

The question is, will you join me? Do you give to anyone? Do you support a cause or maybe your favourite charity group? What’s stopped you in the past? Let me know in the comments below.

Muhammad bin Kamarulazizi
Kindness Dot My


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