Paying it forward - the idea that doing a good deed can inspire another, and so on and so forth - is a familiar concept . . .
The inspiration for Walk4Good, Christine Baker's kindness quest and the foundation that Rachel's Challenge has been built upon, like-minded people from all over the planet are dedicating themselves to the chain reaction. There is even a Hollywood movie about it.
The problem, Matt Brenton has always thought, is quantifying such things. It's good to talk about the chain reaction and imagine it spreading all over the Earth, but quite another to record its progress and evaluate its impact.
'I've always thought that [paying it forward] is a great concept,' he explains. 'The problem, for me, has always been that there's no way that you can measure the good deeds [that are being done]'. No way until now, that is . . .
You see, working with his partner, Ashley Innocente, Matt has devised Needs for Deeds, a program that, for the first time, can track a good deed and record exactly how many acts of kindness it inspires. It is an ingenious system.
To date, one thousand Needs for Deeds tokens have been distributed. Each one has a unique code, enabling those who receive it to register it on the Needs for Deeds website. The idea is that when you perform a good deed, you hand the recipient the token and record the kind act online. It is hoped that the person who receives it will be inspired to do their own good deed and pass the token on to someone else (and so on and so on). So far, it is proving to be a huge success.
One token, for instance, has inspired 28 good deeds in the United States and Canada in recent days. Bridge tolls have been paid, coffee bought and groceries carried. 'I'm fortunate to be a part of this movement and I'll make sure it carries on,' wrote one recipient. 'It feels as though a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders as a result of this generosity,' admitted another.
'The token is a reminder to be kind, compassionate and thoughtful in our day-to-day lives,' says Ashley. '[When someone] receives a token, they're inspired to act and inspire someone else. [There is] power in the tokens - YOU could be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deeds over time and YOUR token could end up in Europe, Africa or somewhere else'.
So far, Needs for Deeds tokens have turned up in, amongst other places, Jamaica and South Africa. Kindness, it turns out, is as contagious as we'd all hoped. Not that Matt and Ashley are resting on their laurels . . .
You see, there are another 1500 tokens soon to be introduced into circulation and the long-term plan is for Needs for Deeds to be responsible for ONE BILLION kind acts all over the world. It is quite an ambition.
'If you had one million tokens, and each one inspired hundreds or thousands of good deeds, this could grow and grow,' adds Matt. 'Over time, I have a vision that this could turn into something huge'.
We have a similar vision and, whether you are distributing tokens or OMs, we believe that anything that inspires people to be nicer to each other, to be kind and perform good deeds and to recognize that despite our differences, we are all the same, is to be applauded.
Token or not, we hope that this might inspire YOU to perform a good deed today. Be kind, compassionate and thoughtful and let's keep this chain reaction going . . .