How To Make 11 People Love You Instantly
There are ways.
Camping alone on Kauai with nothing but a surfboard and a backpack, I boiled water for ramen and huddled in a small covered area around two concrete tables with a group of fellow campers. Each dusk, as the Pacific lapped at the sand a few feet away, a motley crew prepared their separate meals, then ate in a cluster, making small traveler talk. Where you from? Where you been? Where you going?
This particular night, as we scarfed sub-satisfying dinners, the vibe was cordial, the discourse pleasant yet unremarkable. As the sun fell below the eyelids of the sea and moonlight began its dappled dance on the shore break, the last of us finished eating, and there was a restive pause before we each had to clean our mess. At that moment, I quietly reached into my pack and removed a Hershey bar.
Dessert is an inconvenient luxury when your pantry is on your back, one that does not often factor into a camper’s day. I quietly unwrapped the dimpled chocolate from its silver sheath. Then, without a word, I handed a perfect little rectangle to each of the strangers seated around me. The reaction was instantaneous and startling. “Duuuuuuuude!” one stoner exclaimed, fingering beads and shells threaded through his mop of black hair. His white teeth shone through a chocolatey smile. A granola waif and her Birkenstock boyfriend turned to one another giggling and took teensy rabbit bites. A midwestern woman with a red vee of sunburn on her buxom chest and a Nalgene water bottle in one hand said simply, “I love you.” We all savored our morsel. And made it last.
No one minded that they got just one. It’s all you need.
Latitude, acrylic, World Book Encyclopedia, sheet music, paper and mesh on panel, 48″x24″, 2005, Stuart Sheldon
I’ve been searching for opportunities like this ever since. For example, I made a vow to always share my water if someone needed it. Again, such a simple thing, but that’s the point. Think if you were very thirsty; that small mouthful is a game changer. Cicero called gratitude “the mother of all virtues.” He’s right.
The path to a life well-lived is paved with pebble-sized kindnesses.
Holding the elevator. Steadying the ladder. Helping the little old lady across the street. Or something as mindless as liking someone’s blog post (that was a hint people) or calling home to ask what you can pick up at the grocery while you’re there. No sacrifice really. Even a bum like me can do that.
Action = Nominal : Reaction = Phenomenal
Giving away one tiny wedge of your chocolate bar is easy. Making someone’s day is tough. Do both … and thank me later with a swig of water!
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