I have spoken to millions of people around the world, and each time I speak, I am inspired by personal testimonies that show the enormous influence of tiny acts of kindness. Just today, I met a man whom my friend had spoken about for quite some time. This man was so intensely struggling with depression and hardship that he felt hopeless. He could not see a way out of what seemed like an endless tunnel--one that scratched him, haunted him, "stole" his identity. He no longer knew who he was or why he should continue living. It was impossible for him to see the season of storms changing, until the day his friend sent him a link to one of my videos on YouTube. That day, he decided never to deem his situation hopeless, no matter what his circumstances. That day, he decided that if Nick could find peace, truth, love, and hope, then he would too. Great power can lie in clicking the forward button of a positive email. Sowing little acts of kindness can render huge harvests.
Sometimes we grow weary, unable to see the fruit of our acts of kindness, but we must not grow discouraged! It is those little acts of kindness--a smile, a compassionate look, a phone call, or the hug you really did not want to give--that often travel the greatest distance. When I was a child, my father and I planted tomato seeds in our backyard to witness a tomato vine grow. My dad told me that it would take a long time, so I watched it for three hours. I saw no change. The next day proved exactly the same. I believed that if I watched it, the vine would somehow grow more quickly, but with every passing minute, it was my frustration that grew instead. When I think of this childhood memory, I cannot help but relate it to the experience of love. We often give love, and then get frustrated when we cannot see its fruit. We fail to realize that once the seed of love is planted, we must find freedom and comfort in simply knowing that the seed is planted. It is not our job to watch it grow.
Too often, when we are not planting seeds of love, we are thinking up excuses why, and we find ourselves acting more like scientists than like farmers. We put more seeds under a microscope than needed and get distracted or make excuses as to why we cannot give. We would serve more naturally if we ourselves were served a little. Right? Of course! But anyone can have that logic. In my newly released book, Life Without Limits, I emphasize that anyone who gives love without expecting anything in return is a hero, because it takes more courage to give without expecting anything than to give expecting something. These are the people--those who know it is not about them--that have grasped the tools to reach their full potential. So keep planting those free seeds of love. Don't have a friend? Be a friend. Encouragement does not cost money most of the time. Give a free hug. Give a free smile. You may be giving that person just enough hope for the next stretch.
I leave you with a quote from my dearest friend Garry Phelps. Garry has Down syndrome, and at 25 years old, he is an actor, a singer, and a writer, but above all, he is one of my greatest inspirations. He was in a conversation with a few other adults when they began talking about the recent diagnosis of a baby with Down syndrome. Garry immediately exclaimed, "That's great!" Confounded by his response, they turned to him and asked, "What does Down syndrome mean to you, Garry?" Garry replied with full confidence, "It just means you love everybody and never hurt anybody." Those words will stay with me forever. May each of us live to have a heart like Garry's.
Love you guys and hope to keep in touch. God Bless you. For more inspiration, check out the links to my websites www.attitudeisaltitude.com and www.lifewithoutlimbs.org.