A “life hack” is any process or technique that reduces chaos in one’s life and makes things easier to manage or more convenient. An internet search of life hacks brings up a staggering number of videos showing a few useful things and others I never knew I needed to know.
For example, there’s a video on how to use a curling iron to get wrinkles out of a piece of paper – or another on how to use a single piece of pen paste to get the last bit of lipstick out of a tube and then use said paste to apply lipstick.
That said, there are some useful hacks full of common sense, such as:
- Tie a brightly colored piece of fabric to your luggage to help you spot it at the airport.
- In the short term, tape a dryer sheet over an air conditioner vent to help a room smell fresher.
- Iron a button-down shirt inside out to make ironing easier.
- Put pancake batter in an old ketchup bottle that can be squeezed to make more creative pancakes.
- Use a straw to remove the center and stem of a strawberry.
You get the point.
Each of these things and more are actually helpful and can improve a circumstance. Admittedly, lots of people spend incredible amounts of time making videos demonstrating these or similar life hacks.
But in the hard times we’re living in, I’m starting to wonder about other life hacks that can make use of the Internet—ones that can make a bigger difference in the world than discovering my luggage a second faster.
Therefore, I suggest that people work towards creating another part of life hacks – those that focus on chesed.
What is chesed, you ask? It is a Hebrew word so rich and loaded with meaning that there is no direct English translation. It means more than benevolence – it’s about living in kindness towards others, practicing compassion and generosity towards those we know well and those we don’t know at all.
Think about that for a moment.
What if there were life hacks for:
- How do you treat those who work in a service industry with dignity, compassion and kindness?
- How meaningful could it be to take a moment to encourage someone else to tell their story—and then patiently listen to that story for no other reason than to connect with that person?
- How do you call and check on a friend you haven’t heard from in a while?
- How do you take a loaf of fresh banana bread to a neighbor for no reason at all?
To be fair, there are people who make videos about being overly kind or generous to strangers. Some of them are too flashy for my taste. You probably know them.
Even still, there are videos of people writing friendly notes to strangers — delivered, appropriately enough, by other strangers.
I like the person-to-person connections and wondered if that could work here. In that spirit, I’ve written you a few notes for today.
Feel free to choose a number from 1 to 10 and consider the corresponding note just for you – or accept them all. It’s up to you – they’re all true.
- Sometimes the easiest way is just to do the work.
- You know who is so proud of you!
- Accept the kindness and gifts others offer.
- We root for you!
- I know it’s hard, but keep putting one foot in front of the other. Things are getting better.
- Although it may feel that way – you are not alone in this.
- Be gentle with yourself. Maybe it’s time to take a nap.
- You are worthy of all kinds of love.
- It’s what you go through – not who you are.
- Channel Gandhi: Be the change you want to see in the world.