We were having a startup-style week with my team at work which involved using Pinterest to promote our brand (dream, not real life). Pinterest has become incredibly popular very fast and we needed to hop on the bandwagon to catch up with everyone else. Much like a startup we decided that we had to put our heads down for four days and crank it out, creating a marketing/branding strategy for our company using Pinterest while consuming nothing but pizza and Redbull. In this particular scenario it ended up being pulled pork sandwiches and coffee instead of pizza and Redbull as has been common on many teams I’ve worked with before my current job.. This is definitely not a typical scenario for the company I work at, we’re not terribly social media savvy and we certainly don’t run on pizza and caffeine. I’ve worked on teams in graduate school and with founders of startups where we did this constantly and we accomplished a lot because of the drive and motivation to meat a deadline. I’ve been told before that I seem to work better as if there’s a gun to my head (read: quickly approaching deadline, or imminent hanging around the corner), maybe there’s some truth to that.
There are very few things that drive me crazier than people littering, especially when there are trash cans everywhere. Tonight on my way home from work I was walking up the stairs to exit the T-Station and ran into a Dunkin Donuts cup laying in the middle of the stairs. I actually passed the cup at first, walking up several stairs thinking about how much people who litter suck at life. Then I quickly realized that I sucked almost as much as they did if I didn’t pick it up. So I walked back down the stairs to grab it, tossing it away as I exited the station.
It probably took an extra 10 seconds out of my day. The only difficult part was actually making the decision to stop and turn around. It’s so engrained in city life to just walk as fast as possible to get to your next destination. So stopping to turn around is not something I normally see or do.
This reminded me of something I saw Sarah’s brother-in-law do over the holidays that has stuck with me since. We were on our way home and we stopped at a liquor store to pick up some apple cider and Jack Daniel’s (Mmm, delicious). As we stepped out of the truck we saw that a few glass bottles had been smashed on the ground next to the car. He wasted no time in picking up the pieces and then muttered something about people who don’t have any respect for the city they live in. On the way into the store he dropped them in the conveniently located garbage bin. Again, it probably only took 10 extra seconds. It was refreshing to see someone who was self-aware and good-natured enough to go out of their way to stop, fix the situation, and move on. My default would have been to ignore it, still complaining about how some people suck without really doing anything about it myself. The old Mainer in me would have gone out of his way but the new city-slicker in me would have ignored it and moved on without really thinking twice.
This month’s life experiment of doing a random act of kindness per day has definitely helped me to be more aware of my surroundings and as a result it has made me more aware of daily opportunities to do something positive for the city I live in.