Written by Paul Barber
The motivation behind investing in making days
Ok so “Making Days” sounds a bit grand and may be a bit of a hyperbole, but there’s an important reason behind why it can be so powerful.
Often in our blogs at Wear Your Label, we talk about how mental illness is often an invisible illness. Similarly, people going through any personal struggle often go through tremendous extents to make sure that it is never seen. Especially in University, we have this incredible pressure to appear as if we’re performing well and that everything is going okay in our lives. While this relates to a larger issue in society, this is where the power of making other people’s days come in.
I have found that often some of the most joyful, enthusiastic people are those that are experiencing particularly tough times. The first time I learned that one of my friends was experiencing suicidal thoughts, I was surprised because they were such a positive presence. However, since then I’ve learned that you cannot make assumptions on other’s mental health based on their personality. You never know what someone is going through and for a lot of people, we may never learn their story. Anyone around us could be struggling and we wouldn’t really know.
This is why putting our energy into our daily interactions with strangers and friends alike can make such a difference. How many times have you been having a bad day and then a friend (or if we’re lucky, a stranger) does something nice and it just makes you feel better? Although you may not know who you’re benefitting with your actions, you will be helping others feel more capable during their day. You’ll help others feel like their day has been more enjoyable and on the lucky occasion, you may turn someone’s bad day around.
For me, this is why I love service jobs. I’ve been lucky to work with companies like The Disney Store and now DavidsTea where the focus is on making someone’s day magical or brighter. I love the brief but powerful interactions that one can have with customers in these settings. However, this may not be for everyone, which is why I want to go over some different ideas on how people can set out to make someone's day.
Brightening people’s days can remind people of the potential for joy during a busy or stressful day, especially for those who may be struggling to find that joy themselves.
General Changes for wanting to make days
Invest in conversations
Use everyday conversations as a chance to check in with people. Not only is this a great chance to check to see how people are doing, but its one of the best ways where you can learn what may really make a difference in someone’s day. For some people, receiving a coffee while they’re busy may mean more than to others, so learning what would help make that person’s day allows you to make a bigger difference.
Appreciate and express thanks
By far one of the best ways to help someone feel good is to appreciate them for the impact they’ve had in your life or in other’s. I often feel that we rarely thank people for what they have done for us, and that people would feel a lot more capable if they really learned how much they helped other people. This can make such a big difference in someone’s day, so take some time thinking who you can genuinely thank for something meaningful – and go and thank them!
In order to really want to invest in making days, its important to understand where your motivation comes from. Understand how it relates to your personal story and then make an intentional commitment to finding ways to make days. While a lot of this can come from just how you hold your daily interactions with everyone, it can be a huge added benefit if you commit to planning one nice action weekly or monthly.
Little treats can be a great simple way to make a difference in someone’s day.
Some ideas for making days
Budget and time can often be the biggest constraints for finding time to try and make people’s days, so I’m going to try to break down a couple ideas based on one’s that require little time and one’s that require little money.
Make people’s days while keeping your wallet happy
- Pay a compliment to a stranger or a friend
- Send someone a message to express your appreciation for them
- Spend some intentional time with a friend
- Let a service or retail worker know if they did a good job
- Leave a note for a friend somewhere you know they’ll find it
Making people’s days on a busy schedule
- Grab a busy co-worker or friend coffee while you’re out on a coffee run
- Buy a small treat for a friend
- Leave extra money for the next coffee in line at a coffeeshop (similarly you can pay it forward with vending machines and parking meters)
- If you work in an office / are a student, write someone a nice note for when they come back to their desk (ie from break)
- Be kind to yourself so you can better invest in others – clear up a small portion of time in your daily schedule for you to enjoy yourself and recharge
I hope that the next time you find yourself in a good place and you feel you have some extra energy to invest in others, you take the time to plan a way to help brighten someone’s day.
If you’re interested in learning more, my friend recently told me about the book Life as a Daymaker by David Wagner. While I haven’t read it yet, they said it covers really powerful reasons to invest in day making.
Photos by Paul Barber