A Reason To Do Something

Jennifer-Hudson-Kelly-Osbourne-Do-Something-AwardsThe good-hearted stars of Hollywood convened at Avalon for VH1‘s Do Something Awards in LA on August 1st. Jennifer Hudson was recognized for her work with the Julian D. King Gift Foundation, established to provide stability, support and positive experiences for children of all backgrounds to help enable them to grow to be productive, confident and happy adults. It was a heartfelt honor for the star since the foundation was created in honor of her late nephew, Julian. Kelly Osbourne also took home a silver winged sneaker for her involvement with the Race to Erase MS charity dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of multiple sclerosis. Kelly also holds a special connection to her charity since her brother, Jack Osbourne, suffers from multiple sclerosis.

These two stars had very good reasons to do something – family.  But can’t the reason be just because?  Because you want to help.  Because you want to feel good about helping.  Because you want the world to  be better.  Just BECAUSE.

payitforward1Remember the movie Pay it Forward? Little Haley Joel Osment played a 12-year-old boy with big dreams who launched a so-cute-you-can’t-help-smiling plan to make the world a better place. Osment’s character does good for three people under the condition they’ll pass a good deed on to another three strangers. And so on until everyone in the world has been helped out a bit—and has helped others. I won’t give away the ending in case you haven’t seen it, but let’s just say it requires a few Kleenex boxes.  The basic idea is this: When you do something good, people notice—and take action.

Turns out that’s true. Researchers writing in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science learned that good deeds inspire other good deeds. In their study, people who had watched a program featuring musicians and their mentors were more likely to help a stranger out than those who watched a clip from a nature documentary.holding_door2

It makes sense. Consider the ever-annoying door-holding situation. When someone lets a door slam in my face, I’m less likely to go out of my way to hold the door for someone else. I guess I feel peeved enough to pass on the emotion. (Not a good thing.) But if someone holds a door for me while I’m still a few feet away? I owe it to the person five feet behind me to play doorman for the day.

I can’t really think of other instances where I knowingly do a good deed because someone lent me a hand, partially because I don’t think we do the whole pay it forward thing intentionally—at least not most of the time.  Then there’s those times when no one is being kind to you—you just spot some do gooder going about their business. Sadly, these occurrences are few and far between.

 

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