RAOK challenge – overall results

From the end of November 2016 until end of December 2016 I participated in the RAOK challenge from Live Your Legend. The challenge was to do one, pre-defined random act of kindness each day for thirty days. Below I have summarized in more broader categories what I did during those thirty days and what I learned during that time. In the end I have a listed a few things which I hope to keep doing in order to keep up the spirit of RAOK.

What I did:

  1. Told people, either in writing or in conversation, how much I appreciate them.
  2. Got rid of some useless things.
  3. Smiled more at people and to myself.
  4. Brought issues to daylight instead of closing my eyes in front of them.
  5. Called my closest ones just to hear their voice.
  6. Contributed in a minor way to LYL without expecting anything in return.
  7. Enjoyed my daily activities by consciously concentrating on them and reflecting how much good things I have in my life.
  8. Took time for myself.
  9. Took a nap.
  10. Actively listened to a colleague of mine.
  11. Hugged my colleagues.
  12. I missed some challenges, either forgot them or otherwise did not do them.

What I learned:

  1. People need to know and hear when they are appreciated. Tell it them explicitly and see how your relationship to them deepens.
  2. Owning less can be a source of more freedom than owning more things. The more matter you possess, the more you have to do to maintain all that. Remember this also when giving gifts; you do not want to burden others, do you?
  3. Smiling can induce happiness. You do not have to be happy in order to smile.
  4. Stand out and say it out loud when something is wrong; show integrity of the intellect.
  5. Talk with people, even if you have nothing to say. Sometimes a few words suffice.
  6. Use your skills to help others without expecting anything in return and see how fulfilling it can be.
  7. Enjoy the moment and be grateful for everything you have.
  8. You are the central point of your own life, treat yourself with the corresponding care and respect.
  9. Take naps.
  10. You have better discussions when you actively listen and try to understand your conversation partner. You might also learn something and broaden your world view.
  11. Hug people, touch people.
  12. When you have goals, you are going to miss some of them, and that’s ok. It’s no worse than having no goals and not even trying to reach them. So why not try, you just might succeed.

What I try to introduce into my daily life from RAOK:

  • I tell and show people explicitly how much they mean to me. I do this by spending time together with them, not by burdening them with unwanted gifts.
  • I will keep my possessions limited to what I need.
  • I will hug people more often.
  • I wil use my skills and knowledge to benefit others without expecting anything in return.
  • I will set goals and try to achieve them.
  • I will be grateful for what I have, no matter how little that may be.

RAOK challenge – Days 28 to 30

Day 28
What I did:
Forgot to intentionally make something for someone.
Result:
Did not complete today’s challenge. 

Day 29
What I did:
I did not hug anyone for ten seconds but gave bear hugs to multiple colleagues as we wished each other merry Christmas.
Result:
Felt warm and being cared about by my colleagues.

Day 30
What I did:
Shared my experiences from the RAOK challenge and completed the survey.
Result:
Reflected on how simple it can be to improve your own life and the life of those around you by being kind and caring.

RAOK challenge – Days 25 to 27

Day 25
What I did:
Took an afternoon nap, the first one in a while.
Result:
Felt refreshed and pleasurably drowsy afterwards.

Day 26
What I did:
Took seven minutes to write down things I am grateful for.
Result:
I am grateful for my: family, friends, health, intellect, home country, freedom of speech, musical skills, opportunities to do sports, language skills, colleagues, experiences abroad, perseverance, comfortable home, finding out about LYL, learning meditation, life, education, curiosity, past, present and potential futures.

Day 27
What I did:
I focused on actively listening to a colleague as they told me of their weekend.
Result:
I was more focused, and the discussion was more interesting when I focused on active listening instead of constantly preparing my next comment or remark.

RAOK challenge – days 22 to 24

Day 22
What I did:
Once again, I forgot to do today’s RAOK, although I do high fives and fist bumps with my colleagues weekly and it’s fun, energizing and strengthens the bond between people.
Result:
Did not do today’s RAOK.

Day 23
What I did:
I let a colleague go before me at the food stands at our company’s Christmas party. For me today’s task a usual thing to do.
Result:
My colleague thanked for the gesture.

Day 24
What I did:
I did not give away any clothes yet, but I have a few nearly unused sweaters I will offer to a friend of mine when I meet him during the holidays.
Result:
Decided to ask a friend if he wants to have a few unused sweaters I do not need anymore.

RAOK challenge – days 19 to 21

Day 19
What I did:
I could not think of anyone I know going through hard times, so instead I called my grandmother, with whom I had not talked for a while.
Result:
It was nice to hear my grandmother’s voice and talk with her, and she is always happy to receive a call from her closest ones.

Day 20
What I did:
Meditated for 10 minutes, but on the next day not this one.
Result:
The meditation helped me calm down during the hectic time just before Christmas. I had already been able to reduce the potential sense of hurry by just taking it easier than some people around me.

 Day 21
What I did:
I cleaned out my medicine cabinet.
Result:
In ten minutes I was done and saw that I have been keeping my medicine cabinet pretty neat and in a descent order.

RAOK challenge – Days 16 to 18

Day 16
What I did:
I reminded myself of having a great mother who loves me and supports me, no matter what. Something not everyone might have.
Result:
A sense of already having what I need.

Day 17
What I did:
As I believe in giving gifts with true meaning and I had no feeling of wanting to give a gift to my neighbors, I did not give a gift to any of them.
Result:
I avoided the trap of the giving gifts just because you might have to due to social norms.

Day 18
What I did:
I said thank you many times this day, maybe five, maybe less, maybe more. Most of them were in e-mails and quick messages to friends.
Result:
I say thank you each day so often that this was an easy task but reminded of me how important it is to say thank you for even the smallest things.

RAOK challenge – Days 13 to 15

Day 13
What I did:
Due to the very large geographical distance I was not able to spend time at my favorite surroundings, but a decent alternative is my daily work through fields, which gives me time to think and just be.
Result:
Time in pleasurable surroundings gives space to even the most hard-to-grasp thoughts and empowers you with a lot of energy and confidence. You also get a sensation of serenity, of everything being as it should be.

 Day 14
What I did:
I went bouldering and on the way back home thought about how lucky I am being able to do bouldering as a hobby and challenge myself physically and mentally in a way I want to be challenged.
Result:
I was reminded how much we have even when we might think that we have little or are dissatisfied.

 Day 15
What I did:
I had a day off so I did not deliver a hand-written thank you note to a colleague whom I admire, but I will do it tomorrow.
Result:
Having sent some hand-written thank you -notes before to people, I know how good a feeling the writer of the note gets, and the receiver is surely happy, too.

RAOK challenge – Days 10 to 12

Day 10
What I did:
Reported to the caretaker of our house on the leaking washing machine in the basement.
Result:
Again, I felt good for not closing my eyes but bringing an issue in need of attention to daylight.

Day 11
What I did:
I thanked Chelsea Dinsmore for LYL and the “Find your passion” course, which has helped me in realizing what I want in life. I sent Chelsea a thank you email with a little gift, an Excel workbook for prioritizing things, which may come in handy in many LYL-courses.
Result:
Saying thank you always feels good and contributing with my Excel skills to LYL may have been a larger step in my search for my passion than I realize at the moment. Edit from 17.12.2016: Chelsea sent me a personal e-mail to thank me for my words and the gift.

Day 12
What I did:
Unfortunately this slipped by, since I am not very good at paying compliments. I’ll try to check this task off the list tomorrow.
Result:
Did not do today’s RAOK.

RAOK challenge – Days 7 to 9

Day 7
What I did:
I wrote to a friend in WhatsApp what a great person he is and how I feel happy to have him as a friend.
Result:
It felt good to acknowledge openly the importance of a person in my life. Such small gestures and sentences are essential nourishment for the closest of relationships.

Day 8
What I did:
I said “yes” to the chance to speak up and say my opinion on a potential initiative in a team meeting.
Result:
It felt good to contribute and know that I gave my opinion when it was time for discussion.

Day 9
What I did:
I called to my grandfather and had a short chat with him.
Result:
My grandfather was happy to hear my voice. The feeling was mutual.

RAOK challenge – Days 4 to 6

Day 4
What I did:
I open doors to people regularly, so this day’s RAOK was nothing special for me. Unfortunately, this day was a lazy Sunday with little contact to other people, so I had no good chance to open a door to someone.
Result:
From past experience I know that opening the door to someone usually earns a smile and a thank you. It also gives you a good feeling, a feeling of having helped someone. 

Day 5
What I did:
I totally missed this. I meant to pay for someone’s coffee or something like that. Having done my grocery shopping today, I realized I could have paid the couple of sodas the person after me was getting.
Result:
I did not do today’s RAOK.

 Day 6
What I did:
I shared my little knowledge on plumbing at the nearby bouldering hall. I noticed in the heating pipes an open valve that should’ve been closed, closed it and notified the personnel that it had been open.
Result:
The hall personnel thanked me and I felt good knowing that I had done the right thing, not having closed my eyes and thought: “Not my business.”