(TNS)—Sean Elliot Martin and Pancho Timmons are friends on a mission to change the world, one small act of kindness at a time.
That’s the subject of their new book, “Quick and Easy World Change,” which they released as an e-book in late February. It’s available to download for free from Amazon.
“The premise is that you don’t really need to be a superstar or have a large chunk of money to make the world a better place,” said Timmons, the founder of two nonprofits—Pennsylvania Youth Initiative and Connect in Effect. He’s also a Man of the Year nominee by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “Just by doing simple things, you can change the world.”
The project is inspired by another kindness-related book Martin worked on years ago. The latest one takes parts of the first book and updates it with more inspiring stories and lists of little things people can do daily to spread goodness wherever they go.
“All-or-nothing thinking is one of the biggest problems I think people have. People think, ‘I’m either going to win a Nobel Prize, or I’m going to sit at home and do nothing,'” said Martin, an assistant professor in the department of criminal justice and intelligence studies at Point Park University who has doctorates in English and martial arts philosophy. “There’s a whole lot of gray area in between. If we can just shift that thinking a little bit, the cumulative effect would be astounding.”
For instance, the book gives readers ideas for good deeds to do in 60 seconds, with only $1 or without even leaving the house. People are encouraged to get creative, too.
“Make a game of giving—you can assign yourself points for different little things,” Martin said. “How many doors can I open each day for someone with their hands full? Or how many different ways can I help someone today? Or how many good deeds can I think of?”
It also addresses the concept of compound kindness—a domino effect of good deeds.
“If you compliment one person, they’re likely to compliment two to five people,” Martin said.
Both authors’ lives have been impacted by the kindness of others, they each explained. “Quick and Easy World Change” is their way to pay those experiences and sentiments forward.
For Timmons, a teacher’s compassion in college was a turning point for him.
“I did all the things I was supposed to do—worked hard, studied hard—and ended up flunking pretty miserably,” he recalled. “But the professor pulled me aside and said, ‘You’re an A student turning in C and D work because you’re clearly dyslexic and not getting the help you need.'”
“That 5-minute conversation was the difference between flunking out of college and getting two master’s degrees and now running two companies,” Timmons said. “I’ve spent my career trying to pay that forward.”
Martin’s first book on kindness came after a friend, who asked to remain anonymous, embarked on a kindness experiment about a decade ago. The person randomly selected a city in the U.S. and posted on Craigslist that he would be coming there and wanted to help people. Out of 50 replies—some from people who thought he was up to no good—he narrowed the list to four responses that seemed to be genuine requests for support. He filmed his experience helping others.
“He didn’t even tell me about this until after all of this happened,” Martin said. “My response was, ‘Let’s write a book.’ ”
Fast forward several years later and the itch to write a book returned when he met Timmons through a Mastermind networking and mentorship group.
“He loved the book and always wanted to be involved with a book project,” Martin said. “I had thought about rebooting things and doing another book for years. Pancho’s enthusiasm kind of got me going.”
Stay-at-home orders prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic gave them the opportunity to write. They passed ideas and drafts back and forth until the 100 pages of “Quick and Easy World Change” were complete.
With the electronic version available, their plan is to follow up with hard copies. The authors hope people will use it like a workbook, a living document they can mark up, reflect on and use to make their lives—and the lives of others—better.
“You don’t have to join a monastery or give up all your possessions,” Martin said. “At the very least, we hope the book sparks some conversations.”
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