The fact that an act of kindness benefits both the giver AND the receiver is incredible and speaks to how we, as human beings, are wired for compassion and connection.
But how about the fact that an act of kindness also helps two other random people along the way?
In a study published in 2010, James Fowler and Nick Christakis – two of the leading researchers of social networks – found that cooperative behavior cascades in human social networks up to three degrees of separation. This means that for each initial act of kindness, two more people are inspired or influenced to act kindly as well.
A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.
When you hold the door for a stranger, someone else might witness it, feel elevated by it, and go out of their way to thank a delivery worker that day. And that delivery worker, feeling appreciated, might unexpectedly stop by her grandmother’s house, who’s been isolated during COVID-19, and call her just to laugh and be together.
The reverberations go beyond anything you can imagine or expect.
One act of kindness does more than help someone. It sets a stone in the foundation toward building a more generous and compassionate society.