A good deed seems like an old fashioned concept but there's something about the phrase that we like. It feels solid and actionable and not at all fancy. Doing a good deed seems like something we could all do - it doesn't require us to have any special equipment (no shopping required!) and we don't need to prep or train for it. We don't need an app to track it and it's not a drain on any scant resources. It doesn't need to be grand or announced to the world and it's free.
Actually the smaller and quieter it is, the less likely it will risk being motivated by some slippery need to feel good about ourselves. Because doing a good deed isn't about us. It's about noticing the world around us and taking an action to bring something positive into that world. Reputable research and our own experience of past good deeds tells us that doing something nice for something outside of ourself, does in fact have a positive kick back for us.
Try this - at the end of this paragraph take a moment to think of a good deed you have done in the past. It can be small - maybe you took out the garbage to give the usual garbage-taker-outer a break, or maybe you put aside a house chore to read a book to your toddler who just couldn't wait for your attention one second longer. Maybe you started composting to reduce your rubbish pile or maybe you thanked the postal worker for delivering your mail all year. Take a moment now to think over a good deed you have done. Here's a nice 'Thinking Bird' to look at while you think....
Back? Did you notice how remembering that good deed made you feel? Nice huh? It's undeniable that a good deed done for others has a nice kickback of sweet feelings for ourselves. The trick though is to keep the motivation for doing good deeds clearly targeted outside of ourself and let the kickback be a side product and not the central point.
Here's a little Way of the Cactus challenge for you. After reading this post, go ahead and do a good deed. Take notice of what results. We think it will give you a moment of something sweet in your day as well as sending some good will out into the world.
Let's make good deeds a thing. Commit to doing one a day. Take notice of it. If it's almost bedtime and you can't find a good deed you've done, do something before you go to sleep. Make this a practice and see what grows from it.
Leia for Way of the Cactus.