Okay, so today was supposed to be a post about hustling and earning more money, and then it changed when I offered up my seats to an older couple 15 minutes ago (I’m at Starbucks) and they started reading an email they got out loud.
Which said, in a nutshell, someone very close to them just passed away suddenly and now it’s time to start planning their funeral :(
And then came the uncontrollable crying and coming to terms with stuff, and then back to the crying again, and repeat on rotation… So horrible!! I don’t even know these people and I’m feeling their pain!
They just left which is why I’m now writing all this to you, and the saddest part was hearing them whisper back “thank you” to me as they left as if they knew I was fully aware of their situation. Which of course I was, even though I tried to pretend I wasn’t there :(
And now of course there’s no way I can go back to writing about money which would just sound so callous and wrong… Who cares about that stuff when people are dying around you, right? Isn’t the point of it all to LIVE A BETTER LIFE anyways? Without that it’s gone?!
(Okay, well not really – I know it’s still important and we need to manage it for our families and blah blah blah – but allow me to be dramatic for a bit and I promise it’ll get more lighthearted as we go here ;))
As I was left to my table to contemplate it all, I was immediately reminded of one of my favorite quotes by one Sidney Poitier:
“I always wanted to be someone better the next day
than I was the day before.”
My friend Anthony used to have this at the bottom of his emails, and every time I saw it I was left inspired to push myself harder that day. It’s a helluva thing to strive for, but one we often forget.
And it can be taken in many different directions too:
- to be a better person in general (i.e. help your neighbors)
- to be a better person to YOURSELF (you count as a “neighbor!”)
- to be your best at your profession and to those you serve (i.e. your clients)
- to be better to the environment and your local community
- and of course, because many things do relate to money, to be a better steward of your finances
So before we get into the weekend here, let’s try doing at least *one* of these things to better help US become better today than we were yesterday.
And if you already do one of these on the daily, then double up and do TWO so you outperform your already angelic self ;) Here’s a list of 19 ideas:
- Offer up your seat to a stranger today (you never know what they’re dealing with!)
- Ask a colleague at work if there’s anything you can do to help out (we rarely do this because we’re all so busy, but imagine how thankful they’d be for such a nice gesture!)
- Start a budget
- Get rid of *one* toxic relationship
- Pay for the coffee/lunch/beer of the person behind you (random acts of kindness are the best!!)
- Write a real-life letter to someone, using cursive and all (don’t you dare say you don’t know what cursive is, you millennials…)
- Call your mom and tell her you love her!!!
- Clear the leaves/snow off your neighbor’s yard (where my northerners at?)
- Fold the laundry or do the dishes or cook dinner, or do whatever else your significant other does but *before* they get to it. (When they look shocked, just press your fingers to their lips and say “Shhhhh…” – Dumb & Dumber style)
- Pay someone a compliment! The bolder, the better (“Your eyes are so pretty!”, “Wow you have a great heart,” “You totally made my day better – can I have your number?” (oops, wrong mission))
- Spend an extra 15 minutes with a client or friend
- Pay off $20 of debt
- Make a promise to finally work on ending a bad habit
- Say sorry for something even though it wasn’t your fault
- Let people cut in front of you without muttering curse words/branding a certain phalange
- Teach someone about money/life/a skill you have (how to get out of debt faster? How to set S.M.A.R.T. goals? How to properly make a bed? (This would help with #9 ;))
- Eat one less donut/chocolate cake/beer this weekend!
- Pick up a few pieces of trash in your neighborhood
mesomeone $5.00 that needs it more than you
We can’t be perfect every day, but we can surely try a little harder if we’re fortunate enough to even have the opportunity (i.e. we’re still alive).
I have no idea how my new friends are coping right now, or when they’ll get back to “normal” again, but I’d like to think they’d at least enjoy knowing their loved one has sparked some good action to be made.
It’s a helluva reminder of what’s truly important in this world, that’s for sure…
And that reminder is simple: each other.
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I’m in for number #9… I look forward too surprising her, plus dumb and dumber is one of her favorite movies so she’ll know exactly what’s going on!
You married a good one :)
That’s powerful stuff J$! It just goes to show that there’s always someone who’s having a tougher day than you and that a little compassion/empathy goes a long way.
I’m calling mom!
What a random encounter and reminder. What a way to get notified of someones passing, an e-mail? Wow.
#7 – Don’t forget dad too. :)
Dads/Husbands don’t count. If you need proof just look at everyone who comments on #9, its always about helping a wife, never the other way around.
Paul, I’m virtually doing the dishes for you. Have a better weekend! :-)
Agreed. Mr. F2P did them for us for years when I working for Corporate Canada. Long story short: do something for your spouse that is thoughtful, unexpected and that takes a small/big burden away for a bit.
I didn’t have time to comment on Friday because I was doing the dishes as a surprise for my husband who had gone to the gym. Husbands and dads totally matter.
*Virtual hugs to all you ladies*
So unfortunate for that couple but you managed to turn their sadness and story into a great lesson for everyone…
You truly never know what someone is dealing with. I will never forget a story about a man on a subway with his 3 kids. He got on and sat in a seat while his kids were running around and being rambunctious, as some tend to do. The woman who wrote the story couldn’t believe he was just sitting there ignoring the fact they were reaking havok on everyone’s morning commute. He caught her eye and as he was about to get up to exit the train he leans in to ask her for her understanding. They had just come from the hospital where he had just lost his wife and he was just trying to figure out how to tell his kids. Those last few minutes of crazy kid fun before arriving home may have been the last before having to carry that sadness for many years to come. Heartbreaking. This story, and yours, reminds me how important it is to have patience and compassion towards others so I thank you for the reminder!!
That is the saddest thing I’ve heard in a long time :(
How do you even tell your kids that?? And you have to put your all into comforting them too all the while you’re in massive pain losing her as well, man… so so sad.
(I will now do my best to think of his story the next time I start getting pissy w/ uncontrolled kids too! Thanks for sharing :))
Oh my word, that just made me teary : ‘ (
It’s always tough to be reminded about the shortness of life, but it is important. I am fully on board with the idea of being better each day than the day before. I have a Post-It on my desk that just says “Progress” to remind myself of this when I zone out or feel lost or frazzled.
Thanks for the reminder and the list of tips!
I like that one :) My sticky note currently says “Beast Mode” to remind me to amp up the hustle for something I really want to accomplish for the first time in a while!
Thanks for the reminder. Being kind to your neighbors and loved ones is what it’s all about. I tried to help my wife a bit more with getting the kids ready this morning. Similar to your dish comment but a bigger deal to her.
I’m also reminded of miss ms comment to have patience with others as you never know their situation.
Cursive….. I don’t think they even teach it anymore. Outside of signing my name I don’t know if I can write it either.
Picking up trash around the neighborhood is a great deed and actually spreads
About two years ago I set the goal to do at least one act of service where I actually had to go out of my way to perform it. Every night I would have to write what my act of service was for that day. I found that this made me more conscious of how I treated others and I was motivated to do something so that I wouldn’t have to write No Service that day and look like a jerk for ever.
“Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad?
Or made someone feel glad?
If not I have failed in deed.”
I love this. I have a “Connections” pad/notebook where I document actual connections I make with people (especially on days where I feel like poop). It helps me remember that even when I feel depressed, I may have made someone else feel better.
Especially the “going out of the way” part else we might get lazy and count the things we already do naturally or wasn’t that hard to begin with :)
Thanks for changing course today and speaking from the heart about improving the lives of those around us, which certainly improves our own experience on this planet as well. It’s so easy to go through the day busy and grumpy about it, but I know it totally changes my mood and attitude when I start thinking about others instead of myself. Very inspiring :)
Considering its trash day and my neighbor’s trash that doesn’t make it into the garbage truck will blow in my yard anyway….
Truthfully though one of the things I have been struggling with is giving. I feel like time has hardened my heart to the people around me, while I rationalize their struggle as lack of effort. In reality I feel like I am where I am today not only because of effort but because God put me in the right place at the right time. One of my major struggles has been giving, because I feel like I need that 10 dollar bill for some reason…like I can never make more. I have been really struggling to change my heart and mind, so that when I give I do so cheerfully and with no reservation. I guess at least for now the fact that I realize this about myself is the first step to change, I want to be a cheerful giver, I just don’t really know how since its not something I have practiced in the past.
Try giving time first. It feels less final and it is just as needed as money to most organizations. :-) I am an adoption counselor for cats and a foster home for SMART Pet Rescue. In the past, I’ve volunteered with hospice, delivered for Meals on Wheels, fostered for Pughearts, walked dogs for the HSPCA, and was a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I’ve given maybe a grand total of $500 in cash altogether over 10 years but I’ve donated hundreds if not thousands of hours of time.
I would prefer anonymous charity as I don’t want any praise. Although, I will volunteer somewhat with my children when they are older.
I very much struggle with the same – which compounds the stress since as a financial blogger “giving” is supposed to be a part of it. So far I’ve found two ways to be better about it though – 1) making a rule that I have to say “yes” anytime someone asks me for money (doesn’t matter whether you want to do it or not, you have to!), and then 2) giving it directly to people or small organizations that I actually really care for vs one that does good but doesn’t apply to my life. The latter is easier than it looks when you look around at what you do and where you go on a daily basis (for example, for me a coin club and then entrepreneurship group I belong to – two places I love giving money to because I’m passionate about them!), but the most rewarding is giving a singular person money out of the blue just cuz you know they need it more than you. Those are harder to find, but worth keeping eye out.
I have been working harder at being a better person, and trying to pass that on to my students. We have had several traumatic events happening that have created sadness, conflict and desperation. I challenge them each day to come in with ‘feel good’ news – evidence of people doing kind things for others.
Five years ago, I painted “Better Than Yesterday” in big, bold black letters above my office door. I see it every time I leave the space or look in that direction. These three simple words have led to some powerful decisions and events.
Thank you for sharing this story and these simple ideas with us. We can all use the reminder from time to time, no matter where we are on the awareness continuum.
Beautiful!!! I might have to do something similar too as I agree it’s such a powerful string of words :)
WOW! Deep J$ and so beautiful and needed. You cannot get on fb, internet or tv without seeing mean and hateful stuff. I say stuff because a lot of it isn’t news. We all need to focus on “Making the Next Day Better Than The Day Before”. Thanks….
For real… And exactly why I ignore FB and News as much as I can! Never leave happier than when I got there :(
its posts like this that solidifies my habit of always ending on a J. Money post when reading the FI blogs for the day.
Oh man, you just made my day!! thanks so much for telling me that!
Thanks friend! I needed this today…and it was hilarious as well: “don’t you dare say you don’t know what cursive is, you millennials” :)
It’s going by the way of payphones and handwritten letters, haha…
A few months ago we had our fast food meal paid for by someone ahead of us in the drive thru. It really surprised us as we had never had that happen before. The timing was kind of neat because we had just moved into this new city. This post reminds me that I need to reciprocate the love!
Yes – your turn to pay it forward :)
I’m so sorry for you new friends’ loss (and what a way to hear about it!), but I appreciate your reminder today. Unfortunately, we often get so caught up in the day to day that we forget to pay attention to what’s most important. Thanks for the reminder (and suggestions)!
And I know what cursive is…does that show my age?!
Man, what a brutal day in the coffee shop. That story got me down, but the rest of your post got me feeling pretty good because it’s not even 8AM and I’ve already implemented several of your ideas.
#2 – I just finished getting information from a colleague on how I can help them with a project next week.
#3 – I already have a budget.
#7 – I’ve called my parents a couple times in the past week.
#9 – I prepped a crock pot meal last night and started it before I left the house this morning, which means my wife doesn’t have to cook dinner tonight.
#12 – I don’t have any debt other than the mortgage, which we already pay extra on.
#15 – I was very courteous on my commute today. I usually let anyone in my lane if they signal.
#16 – I’m trying to teach the world about money. Have you seen my site?
Not bad, if I do say so myself.
This is a pretty good list to keep in mind as we go through life, even if we are already doing a lot of them. Thanks for the reminder.
Thanks for being one less toxic person out there :)
I like #10 – paying someone a compliment. Compliments can go a long way because you never know exactly how someone is feeling. Additionally, I believe in karma. If you pay someone a compliment – you can expect something good to happen for you down the road.
What a great reminder to be a nicer person every day. :)
I love these, although I’m not sure if I agree with #14. As a person who apologizes too much as it is, I don’t think it’s a good practice to apologize if it’s unwarranted. Now, I do need to focus on apologizing or admitting I’m wrong!
Yeah, apologizing can be tricky at times for sure. I’ve been apologizing more about “making someone feel something negative” vs the acts itself if I don’t think what I did was wrong. For example, I’ll get emails saying what I’ve written on this blog every now and then offends them (like if I curse, say something snarky) and I’ll always apologize for making them feel bad from it, but not that I curse or said something snarky because I’m okay with that. But if I say something that offends their culture or race or something out of pure ignorance, then I’ll def. apologize for that as well as stop using the word in the future again.
Ah how sad. I’m glad you were kind to them in their moment of sadness. I’ll take this moment to say thank you for writing your blog! I’ve been reading it for a while and this year we have finally paid off my husband’s student loan and two cars! We were tempted for a hot second to buy a big house for our large family (four kids), but we decided to instead make that same big house payment on our current house. Its plenty big enough for us even if we would like more space and a bigger yard. Our new goal is to have it paid off in 3 years and then rent it out and move into a big house in the country! So exciting having big goals! My husband makes a great salary as a successful engineer and we could afford a much bigger payment but it wouldn’t be worth the stresses that would bring right now. Anyway, so thanks for posting all these years! Hope you have a fabulous weekend!
Way to go!!!
You’ll enjoy the bigger house going this route so much more too – kinda like a delayed gratification, only with a large bag of cash on top! :)
Truly everyone has a story and it is highly likely that the person next to you is having a harder time of it than you are. In a world in which we are becoming more and more cut off from one another it is great to have a reminder that we are all in this together.
In our grandparents’ age the community mourned together when a neighbor passed away. Nowadays I bet you would find it difficult to recall the names of even a handful of the people that live right next to you.
Reaching out to your fellow man always sparks a great feeling in both of you and leaves the world a better place. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for this. Reminds me that I want to do more random acts of kindness…regularly. Have a great weekend!
Do you write posts in Starbucks a lot? I’m always scared of using public wifi (though if I had to trust any public wifi, I would trust Starbucks’ because of their security) and if you’re making it work, kudos to you!
I’ve always heard the quote be a better person today than you were yesterday but I have only thought of that as one-sided. Great list that you can be a better person in other ways than financially or career-wise, building better relationships should be on the top of the list for anybody to be a better person!
I write from Starbucks every morning now, though when I do log onto the wifi my computer tells me “anyone can see it.” Not sure exactly what that means or how bad it is, but I still do it just cuz I guess I’m optimistic?
Very encouraging! We have to be better than we were yesterday. Thanks for this advice, J.
See….this is why I love blogging. Because when life happens, bloggers become inspired. You experienced someone’s misfortune and passed along the experience and life lessons to us. You have us 20 things to do to make life better for us and the people around us. This is what real blogging is about. :) Thanks for keeping it real, and so sorry for those folks’ loss.
Thanks, friend :)
Talking about real’ness, you were REAL on that dance floor the other week! Haha… You don’t see that every day from a blogger ;)
I really like these – it’s so cool to read a finance blog with soul.
Yes!!! All the way in here for this little challenge. A great reminder that life is simply too short for the bs and to love it in the thick of it all.
Awesome inspiration J Money!!! Funny how I randomly decided to make my bed yesterday. My wife came home and was so impressed, she said she felt like she back to a hotel room. Small win! Next time I’ll have to push my finger across her lips Dumb & Dumber style (her favorite movie by the way) lol!
Gonna do #5 today :)
That’s when you know you’ve found a keeper – when they love D&D :)
Hope you were able to pull off #5!
I’m glad you counted yourself as a neighbor, too. Folks need kindness and connection. It’s how society functions.
You’ve inspired me to do #9. The picture alone brought a smile to my face and I think I need to bring a smile to my wife’s face. Thanks for sharing this awesome list.
You can never go wrong bringing a smile to your wife’s face :)
Hell ya brother !
– Read this list
– Look at the kind of person you think you are
– Kick ass at trying this list or doing your own one
– Become Sexy
Thanks for the kindness, my man :)
THANK YOU!!! You inspired me today to stop and give a man food from our very own groceries in the middle of a 3 lane road….. HE in turn gave us candy and and said ” I have a FULL belly from a can of chicken soup, let me give you something” he gave me some little candies and said he always gives to people who are kind to him and if they are worse off then him a smile… IT CHOKED me up. I am a single parent of 7 debt FREE :) mtg/car/school loan etc. and I’m angry over my EX. WTF???!!!! This man is blessed to have a full tummy from a can of soup. I NEEDED THIS TODAY ~ Thank you Jay.xoxoxo
Holy $hit! Way to put this into action man, what an outcome!!
Geez… so crazy what a small act can do, right? Imagine if we did this every single day??? And then those people paid it forward too??
Grinning hard over here from all this… thanks for taking the time to let us know :)
(And congrats on being debt free like that!!! With 7 too – amazing!)
Thank you for this post, J Money, I certainly hope that couple have family and friends nearby for support. I took up your challenge, knocked a few items off the list, gotta say I struggled with number 17 though.
If that’s the worst thing that happens this weekend, you’re in a good position :)
People who focus on personal development on a daily basis will see improvement in many areas of their life, it’s just bound to happen. I like to write down specific things that I want to improve on and then take that list with me throughout the day. I focus on those specific things, going out of my comfort zone sometimes, and keep practicing doing them over and over again until I get comfortable with it. This really seems to work for me and over time I start to see a lot of improvement.
Great idea putting it down on paper like that.
And then even more so bringing it along with you!
Very belatedly since Monday’s post is already up! I’m happy that many of your 19 ways are already on my list, but J, I simply can’t with #17. Donuts are too good ;)
We don’t realize how much of a difference the smaller gestures make but I loved the look on PiC’s face when he realized I did all the dishes on Friday night while he was at the gym, or how happy he was when I did bedtime for three or four nights last week so that he could get in an hour to workout. I was happy to do it, and happier that it made him happy. In turn, he surprised me with delicious goodies, so the happiness circle here is complete.
Sounds like a beautiful marriage right there :)
Great post, J. Makes one a far better person if we could follow just a few of the points in your list. How about we take one point each month and follow it rigorously till it becomes our habit and move to the next? This way, in 19 months, we will be a far better person with hopefully sustainable 19 good habits.
Are you luring me into a challenge, good sir? :)
Great post! So easy to lose sight of what’s truly important in today’s society. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives and our own desires that we forget that it is possible to get where you want to go while still finding time to do a little good in the world.
Improve yourself a tiny bit every single day and you will end up perfect at one point :P
Seriously, no one is perfect but we can always improve ourselves.
An excellent post and an enjoyment to read. The moral would definitely be work to better yourself a little everyday and that’s all you can ask for.
Thanks man, appreciate it :)
I absolutely love the quote from Sidney Poitier, it is very inspirational! I believe that it is important to continue to grow every day to become a better person to yourself and others! These are all great ideas, thanks for sharing them with me!
Yeah – it’s one of my all-time favorites now :) So simple, but inspirational!
Sorry to hear about that. Your post is really helpful. It’s like an act of kindness everyday. I try to practice it as it makes me feel good and the other person too. Thanks! :-)
I will do number 7. I talked with her today already, but I will just call again :).
She’ll never hate that! :)
Nice post, I also get confused with the mission sometimes….great tips, love number 15, I send them a kiss and feel like the best person ever. Thanks for the post, definitely not everything is money. Keep on dreaming!
Glad you liked :)