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31 Days

Day 12

The Secret to Being a Good Guy

Volunteering illustration

There are countless ways to improve yourself—to become the best version of the man staring back at you in the mirror. In fact, this whole Handbook (and, well, Valet. as a whole) is centered on that very pursuit. But there's another way to be better: by doing something kind. Kindness is an underrated virtue in a society that's always hustling and trying to maximize time. Who's got time to slow down and do something selfless?

But giving your time, empathy, support and thought can have huge impacts on the people around you—be it friends and family, colleagues or simply strangers that you don't even know. And here's the bonus: it does something good for you too. You're probably familiar with that warm and fuzzy feeling you get after you perform a good deed.

Volunteering illustration

Research shows that helping others can be good for our mental health. It reduces stress because it releases oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, which increases self-esteem and optimism. It improves our emotional well-being and even benefits our physical health by boosting our resiliency and immunity. When we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization (the fulfillment of one's own potential) is improved.

What's more, doing something nice for others helps strengthen social ties and the sense that you're part of a community. And that is something that can be sorely lacking these days. But as Aristotle once famously said: “It is easy to perform good action, but not easy to acquire a settled habit of performing such actions.” Consistency is important if you want to to really be a good guy—and reap the physical and emotional health benefits of kindness. Think of it less as a one-and-done event, but rather part of an ongoing effort. Make it more of a habit.

To get you started, here's a list of some good deeds you could try. But remember, you know what to do. Look around you and you'll no doubt see opportunities to help out or extend a hand.

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Some Possible
Good Deeds

1

Call or text a friend that you haven't spoken to for a while and ask how he or she is doing.

2

Give blood. Did you know that each donation can save up to three lives?

3

Volunteer ... at a food bank, animal shelter or a local clean-up organization.

4

Get to know the new team member at work ... take them out for coffee or lunch.

5

Check in with a senior neighbor if there's anything around the house you can help with. Or just ask them about something in their past. They have lots to tell.

6

Donate your unwanted stuff. Apps like Next Door, Buy Nothing and Freecycle make it easy to give away stuff to those in your area.

7

Pay a genuine compliment. Be it to a friend, a colleague or even a stranger.

8

Open the door or let someone go ahead of you in line ... at the coffee shop, diner or supermarket.

9

Call your parents (or any family members) and tell them how much you appreciate them and reminisce about something from your past.

10

When you come across litter, pick it up and discard it properly. People who witness you may consider doing the same in the future or think twice about littering.

Be Kind to
Businesses, Too

Small business appreciation

Your favorite local joints and small businesses need love too. Consider filling out that survey they send, leave a positive review or follow and like their social media. These things go a long way in helping them succeed.

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