How Doing Good Transforms Your Life

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Post written by Shari Arison.

So if it’s my wish to motivate you to act, what else can I say? Have I exhausted all my points in this case? No, not by a long shot. This book would never be finished if it was necessary for me to come to a conclusion, because once the ripples of goodness start flowing, they are so powerful that they have no beginning and no end. They cannot be stopped!

I firmly believe that this theory of mine—that doing good will change the world—will win over any remaining doubters, and eventually, we’ll be able to bring everyone aboard this train. Please consider this as your ticket to journey with us, to join us in doing good each day. Membership to our group is simple: There are no membership fees or dues to pay. Just begin with any act of goodness and you are a member in good standing.

Perhaps you might still need a bit of persuasion, though, or you know of other people around you who might not yet be willing to join in. If so, let’s take a moment to consider four personal benefits that you’ll enjoy as you make the conscious choice to think good, speak good, and do good.

First, doing good builds self-esteem and self-confidence. Second, doing good makes you a leader and an inspiration to others. Third, doing good brings out your very best attributes. And fourth, doing good brings you more happiness and joy to your life.

Expanding Your Self-Esteem

Let’s explore the first point, how doing good builds your self-esteem and self-confidence. It works on all levels. On a physical level, think about the times when you’re not feeling good about your body. You may then dress in older clothes, and you feel like no matter what you’re wearing, it doesn’t look good on you. You just generally feel awful.

Whereas when you do good things to take care of yourself, such as taking time to dress nicely each day, you feel better. When you put on makeup, or for a man you take time to shave and perhaps put on aftershave, it really makes such a difference. I think generally all people feel better when they take care of themselves.

You can then look in the mirror and say, “Wow, I look good today!” I know I’ve been there; at times in my life it made a huge difference when I made a conscious choice to take better care of myself. For me, that means starting out each day by going out for a run or a walk and taking time to meditate— that way I feel much more confident about having a bright day.

On an emotional level, when you’re feeling sad and depressed, you may also find yourself complaining about all the things that aren’t going well in your life, focusing only on thoughts like, He hurt my feelings or She made me angry. In this case, you’re just not going to feel good about your- self because you’re not in that state of mind. But if you change your mind-set and try not to dwell so much on those things, and try to think more positively about the day and what it holds, you will quite likely find that life flows so much better. It’s a natural outcome of how you’re thinking and feeling, and if your actions are ones that you can be proud of, then you will have more confidence and enjoy greater self-esteem.

I heard about a story of a woman who had moved into a shelter because she had been abused by a male partner. She was very scared to leave the shelter, since she might be recognised and didn’t have any extra money to buy makeup or get her hair done. Fortunately for her, a man who owned a salon heard about women like her from a case- worker at the shelter, and he offered to help. He agreed to stay open certain times at night so that these women could come in privately. He would provide his services for free and give them a new look and a bit of pampering at the salon. He asked one of his friends who was a makeup artist to help him, too.

It worked out amazingly well. One woman was so grateful because by taking care of herself better, she now has more self-esteem and self-confidence. “For years the only color I had on my face was the bluish-purple of my bruises. Today, thanks to this wonderful place, I know how to put on makeup, I take good care of myself, and I feel good in my femininity.”

Bringing Out Your Inner Leader

Now, let’s consider the second point. I believe that doing good makes you a leader and inspiration to others. Personally, I’ve always been inspired by people who have made a difference in the world, such as Martin Luther King, Jr.; Gandhi; or Mother Teresa. I’ve always looked up to them. And I not only admire high-profile people, but also anyone who is doing extraordinary things in this world. Whether they’re using their professional training or their natural gifts, they’re an inspiration to me.

I once saw on an international show a story about a doctor who went to a small village in South America and helped citizens there who had lost a limb or had been born without one. He was able to fit them with an artificial one, and he made such an incredible difference to those people. This doctor gave these people a much better quality of life, and they were so grateful. He used his gifts for this greater good, and even though very few could pay for his service, it didn’t matter to him. I find this very uplifting.

There was another fascinating story about a man who wanted to help drug addicts who were homeless. He knew which section of town they stayed in, so he made a point to take his daily run each day through those run-down neighborhoods. Each day he would jog by them, and slowly over time, some of these homeless people began running with him. And then eventually, several of them stopped doing drugs because they started to feel better about their bodies, better about their lives.

I was moved by this story because the man took action though doing good and provided a very quiet, profound inspiration to those individuals. He actually showed them a simple way they could start to feel better. The goodness in his act rippled out over time and made a huge difference. You can do this, too. You can become a leader just through the act of doing good. Others will see you and be inspired.

Even someone quietly sitting on the grass in the park or at the beach meditating, they can serve as an inspiration to someone else. Very often, where one person does this, you’ll see others follow their lead. One person joins the first one, then other person joins them, and so on; and you now have a group of people meditating for the benefit of the world, bringing good energy forward. All of a sudden, you have a “leader” just from someone who was sitting quietly.

In my own community, I was privileged and touched to meet two inspiring leaders, whom I met through a Good Deeds Day interview that they conducted with me. The interview was shown on one of Israel’s top news portals, and the two young people were members of Shalva, the Association for Physically and Mentally Challenged Children in Israel. Efrat has Down syndrome and Matanel has special needs, yet they both wanted to find out how they could help get involved on Good Deeds Day.

The interview went very well, and I’m sure that many viewers were moved by the enthusiasm they saw. I was also thrilled to hear that Efrat and Matanel found a great way to get involved on Good Deeds Day. They volunteered to spend time visiting with the elderly and with some children of foreign workers, making a point to make them happy. Even though these two young people have their own challenges, they didn’t stop to worry about themselves. They focused instead upon giving their time to help others, and they are leaders who are an inspiration to me and many others.

Connecting To The Best In Yourself

So now, we’ll move on to the third point: how doing good brings out your very best attributes. Doing good reveals all kinds of good qualities, such as kindness, respect, love, caring, acceptance, patience, and tolerance. When you’re doing good for yourself, you become more kind and caring to yourself, and then you have more love to give to others.

Here is an example from my own life. I was in a close personal relationship that opened my heart. Although there were many growing pains, the experience taught me valuable lessons, including patience and acceptance. Through staying focused on doing good for myself and for the other person, I was finally able to learn how to accept people for who they are.

I know now what it is that I want and the importance of being true to myself. I also learned how strong I am inside, and how to trust myself. That was one of the most important lessons for me, learning to let go and be able to trust in the process, trust in God, and trust in the universe. I believe the experience truly brought out attributes hidden deep inside me, and I’m so grateful. All of this happened because I was focused on doing good.

You never know what qualities in yourself you will uncover through doing good. I heard about a scheduler for a taxi company who was always nervous about hospitals. But when one of his drivers was hospitalised for heart surgery, he went in to see him almost every day. The experience opened his eyes to how difficult it is for the patients’ families who have to spend so much time waiting around and supporting their loved ones. He could see it wasn’t easy for them to have meals, and it was expensive because they weren’t at home. If they needed things, it was a challenge to get them; and on top of that, it was very hard at times to understand all the medical words and terms the doctors were using.

As the man explained, “I started to think about how I could help them, and I enlisted all the company’s drivers in the effort. One man brought in tea and coffee, and another one brought his daughter, who is a doctor, to explain what was going on. Someone else organised meals for them, and that is how we helped them through the hospitalisation period.”

When the driver was discharged, the company decided to keep doing this good work; and today, all the drivers are volunteers at hospitals and try to make things easier for the patients’ families. They make sure they have something to eat and that there is someone to take care of errands, like pay- ing bills or collecting the children from school— since the drivers are in their taxis and on the roads all day long anyway, it’s something they are happy to help with. This experience continues to bring out the very best in each driver as they step up to help in ways they might not have thought they were capable of doing.

Increasing Your Happiness & Joy

For the remainder of this section, I’d like to point out how doing good brings more happiness and joy in your life. Let’s start with the thought that goodness is a light energy and light brings joy, happiness, and peace to all it touches. I think it’s within our very nature to be happier when we think good, speak good, and do good.

To see the truth in this, you just have to think about how you feel when you aren’t thinking or doing good. If you’re doing things you know aren’t nice or that go against nature or that might hurt someone else, you’re far more likely to feel guilty, ashamed, and embarrassed than to feel good.

For me, there are many things that bring me joy and happiness. Of course, first and foremost are my children—being with them, watching them grow, and sharing their lives. But there are many more things that make me happy, such as nature, flowers, forests, oceans, music, dancing, a good musical or an uplifting movie, a smile on someone’s face, or the joyful sound of laughter.

My passion in this world is to inspire people, whether it’s one-on-one or speaking to a group. When I see the twinkle in their eyes and know they’re “getting it,” I’m so thrilled and happy. When I see the lightbulb coming on for people, and I know I’ve inspired them to make positive changes for themselves and others, this makes me happier than almost anything else.

For me, this book is another way to get my message out so that people can connect to them- selves and resonate their goodness out to all the circles in their lives. Read on to find out how all of our collective efforts are gaining momentum—the critical mass of goodness is coming.

Shari Arison is the American-Israeli leader of a business and philanthropic empire that spans the globe. In 2010, she received the America-Israel Friendship League’s Partners for Democracy Award in recognition of her contribution to advancing economic relations between the United States and Israel. In 2011, and again in 2012, she was ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the World’s Most Powerful Women, positioning her as a force for good in business and philanthropy. She was also ranked second on Forbes’s list of the World’s Greenest Billionaires. Activate Your Goodness (from which this article is Chapter 9 from this book) is a natural complement to her international bestseller, Birth: When the Spiritual and the Material Come Together. Shari is the mother of four and resides in Israel. Please visit Shari’s website at: www.shari arison.com. For more information on Good Deeds Day, go to: www.good-deeds-day.org.

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