How to think of giving as a daily endeavor. Give365.
By Brad Beckstrom
Original Print Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., Quote AJ Leon
For at least the next 365 days, I am inspired. I just spent a few days in Fargo, North Dakota attending #Misfitcon. A small handcrafted event for creatives, misfits, and troublemakers who want to make a dent in the universe. I had the opportunity to meet people who are making an impact in places like Lao, Sudan and here in the US. One thing they have in common is they are doing this creatively, through music, film, coffee, food, art, words, education, technology and ideas.
This was the second #misfitcon. The gathering is overflowing with what I would call intense sharing from 8am often through the night. The agenda is secret, speakers are unknown until they get the mic. Then WOW. There are no big stages, meeting tracks, apps, live streams or published schedule. No one is looking at their laptop or smartphone. The lights don’t dim, they go up in 500 colors. Much like Fargo, the group is small, creative and um…… different.
No Conference Flu
Unlike many conferences, where you pour yourself back onto a plane suffering from SXSW Flu or CES Tech overload, I came back from Misfitcon tired but energized and inspired at the same time. Last year was the first Misfitcon. I walked away motivated to create every day. For the first time It didn’t matter how good or bad my writing, photography, or art was. It was time to stop waiting for permission or approval.
This year, the creative message was powerful but I walked away with something even more substantial, to give every day. I’m calling it Give365. I’m sure that name is taken, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it helps me remember to give something away every day.
One bridge in one city, add them all up
On my way to Misfitcon, I read about a man who years ago took a long walk on a beautiful day to the Golden Gate Bridge, stepped out on to a beam, and jumped. Sadly, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Last year alone a record 46 people jumped from this iconic structure in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. What was different (or maybe not so different) about this man was what he was searching for. He left a note behind in his apartment. It read:
“I’m going to walk to the bridge today. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.”
This story, and my fellow Misfits, really got me thinking about what we all have to give. It got me thinking about how often I forget to give. You see, outside of charitable donations and other good causes a few times a year, we often forget to give. Sometimes giving is automated, charged to our credit card or automatically withdrawn from a paycheck as a line item and deposited with a large corporate concern.
It may sound corny, but all that man on the way to the bridge really needed was a smile. Maybe that note was his entire message. Those other 46 people last year may have needed more than a smile, maybe a hug and a cup coffee or a cool hat. I believe that we need to think of giving as a daily endeavor. It’s as simple as this. Everyone has something to give, even if it’s just a smile or a compliment. Today, I have some cool hats to give away. 80s neon cap with a suede brim anyone?
Think inside the box
So here’s how we can do this. Get some cardboard boxes, big ones and put some art on the side of the box. The art says Give365. You put the box somewhere where you will see it every day. Then you drop something in the box each day. It could be a dollar, a winter coat or hat, a piece of art.
Take your box somewhere new
When the box is full, take it somewhere. Maybe somewhere you’ve never been before. Years ago I stopped in a shelter, and they had an entire room of suits and dress shirts organized like a clothing store. If someone had a job interview they would hook them up with a nice shirt and a blazer.
When you give something away, think about all the places that old shirt or suit may go instead of sitting in your closet. I was impressed, I felt good, but as I was leaving the gentleman working there said “these shirts are great, but you know, we really need some winter coats.”
Every new place you go with your box, you learn about something people need. So you can start filling up the next box, or set one up at work. Just by filling the box you are providing work for someone who needs to unpack it, sort it and send it on its way.
If you don’t have anything to put in the box, then it’s simply a reminder to give something else away like that smile or that amazing skill you have. What matters is you do it every day.