The above video says it all — people bestowing gifts upon complete strangers, just for the sheer joy of seeing a smile. This brilliant British “experiment” has people convinced they’re going to receive a gift for themselves, only to be instructed to give it to a particular recipient. There’s often a moment of disappointment or confusion, but once they get into it, they’re obviously the ones walking away with the real gift.
These displays of selfless gratitude don’t have to be limited to complete strangers. Believe it or not, showing this sort of “no-strings-attached” appreciation for co-workers can go a very long way toward kindling a strong and harmonious work environment.
Small gestures can produce big and positive results. For instance, Alan*, an operations manager, recounts how a bookkeeper for his family’s small organic produce company went out of her way to learn the coffee preferences of each of her 15 co-workers. Once she had carefully observed and noted each one, she showed up one morning with a backseat full of lattes, espressos and chai teas, each made to the recipient’s personal preferences. The result was 15 very happy and grateful co-workers. He notes that the bookkeeper appeared to get an incredible amount of joy from seeing the delight on her co-workers’ faces.
Gifts don’t have to be lavish. They don’t have to be planned. Spontaneity and kindness for those you know (or those you don’t) can bring you more happiness than you will ever experience on the receiving end.
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Devin C. Hughes, is a highly sought after speaker, author, happiness muse, mindfulness trainer & executive coach. He is the author of seven books and his approach draws from the science of positive psychology, positive organizational research, appreciative inquiry, neuroscience, mindset and mindfulness.