I don't know exactly where you are or what your day will be like when you open this email.
But given the current global pandemic so many of us are in the midst of fighting, I do feel safe in assuming that you've spent more recent time interacting with bad news than good news.
And that's understandable.
- It's important to stay up to date about how the disease is spreading and the impact it's having on the healthcare system ... even if doing so can be harrowing.
- It's important to keep up with the politics, even if doing so can be maddening.
- It's important to keep up with the economic impact, even if doing so can be worrisome.
But it's also important to be realistic about how much harrowing, maddening, and worrisome news you can handle.
I had a boss once, his name was Mike, who always used to say, "Jerod, your brain is like a computer. The input determines the output."
Mike had a good point.
If all we do is pump ourselves full of harrowing, maddening, and worrisome news and information, then our thoughts, words, and actions are more likely to reflect a harrowing, maddening, and worrisome mindset.
Which, to be fair, isn't totally bad given the current circumstances.
In a recent newsletter, we discussed the negative ramifications of Optimism Bias, especially as it relates to our health. Cleary this is no time for burying our heads in the sand and pretending like everything is fine.
But it is a time when it might be useful for us to occasionally seek out positive stories that can provide an important counter to all the conversation about crisis and calamity.
Reading stories that highlight examples of magnanimity within the madness can help us maintain a healthy, balanced perspective about our current plight.
"The input determines the output."
So for this week's roundup, I've collected four stories that describe small acts of heroism and humility.
These stories serve as reminders of the power we each have as individuals to make a difference, and the importance of never forgetting that our shared sense of humanity is what must undergird our collective action to get through the trials and tribulations of today.
Plus, it seems like everyone could use a dose or two of positivity. I know reading these stories perked me up. They freshened my thinking. I hope they will do the same for you.
And the first story is about Florida Man.
But it's not the kind of "Florida Man" story you might be expecting ...
Restaurant workers are feeling the pinch as more people are staying home to avoid exposure to coronavirus.
One diner in Florida wanted to help out so he left a tip massive enough for one restaurant’s entire staff to share. Leaving ten thousand dollars behind by a regular diner at Skillets.
“And he said ‘I want each person in this restaurant to get 500 dollars. The manager distributed it to all the employees,” Restaurant owner Ross Edlund said.
“People come in and they become family. We know where they are from, we know how many kids they have, and we know what’s going on in their lives. They become a part of our team, a part of our restaurant,” Edlund said.
The restaurant’s owner looks on the bright side because acts of kindness are spreading in the community.
“It’s not the greatest situation, but if we don’t put a positive spin on it, we’re just going to make things worse. It makes me feel like we are doing more than just serving eggs and pancakes. That we’re offering a respite from the world,” Edlund said.
Edlund says he knows the man who left the tip — but he’s respecting his wishes to remain anonymous.
“Thank you very, very much. You are a really decent person, and you have touched our staff deeply. Thank you.”
Decency and kindness never cease to be important. In times like these, they are essential.
In this week's THINKERS Roundup, you will find three more links to stories of decency and kindness during difficult times.
But first, there are two live online events coming up next week inside of the THINKERS Workshop that I am excited to invite you to ...
Over the past handful of weeks, I've provided links to some of the many educational resources available inside of the THINKERS Workshop.
But the education library is just one half of what makes the THINKERS Workshop a special online spot to belong to. The other half is the community, which grows by the week, filled with people just like you who are taking steps to improve the way they think.
And coming up this week, we have two live online events that we hope you will make time to join us for.
First, on Monday (March 30th) at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, THINKERS Notebook founder Sean Jackson and I will host a live webinar and Q&A. We've both read interesting books recently, and we want to share some of our takeaways.
If you can't attend this event live, we'll post a replay after. If you want to leave a question ahead of time, do so in the comments on the event page.
To RSVP, get the Zoom link, or leave a question, visit the event page:
Live Webinar and Q&A: Why We Become Riveted and How to Become Indistractable
Then, on Wednesday (April 1st) at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, the entire THINKERS Notebook team will host a live virtual happy hour.
The way it works, if you've never participated in one of these, is that I'll open my private Zoom Room and anyone with the link can attend. Your video and audio will broadcast to everyone else in the room, and we will get to know each other a bit and toss around a few fun, interesting discussion questions.
Note that you don't need to bring a drink to make it a happy hour, but you do need to bring a friendly attitude and an openness to connect with other like-minded folks from here inside the community.
To RSVP and get the Zoom link, visit the event page:
The First-Ever THINKERS Workshop Virtual Happy Hour!
We hope to see you at one or both of these events. If you have any questions, please hit reply on this email and let me know.
Now on to this week's links ...
Community comes together to help protect healthcare workers
Volunteer mask-makers answered a call out by Salem Health in droves Thursday, creating a miles-long traffic jam at a distribution site at Mission and 25th streets.
It was only Wednesday evening when Salem Health asked for help in making 10,000 masks for medical workers. By 11:30 a.m. Thursday, cars were lining up for a 1 p.m. pick up at the Mission Street site of the former Kmart. They were quickly told kits had run out.
Traffic was backed up for miles. As it got worse, some took to parking their cars nearby and walking, but only a few were able to get kits this way before police officers stepped in.
"We didn't expect such a wonderful response," one Salem Health employee told a driver when she finally made it to the front of the line.
Read: Salem Health runs out of kits to make face masks in minutes after asking for help (Statesman Journal)
A 2-for-1 story of generosity
Reeves was busy loading orders for curbside pickup and delivery from the restaurant, which serves Sicilian and Southern-Italian food, as well as New York-style pizza, when he opened the envelope to find $2,000 in cash along with a note.
"Hi there, As a neighbor and lover of Rosa's, please accept the enclosed and use it as you see fit for your staff," the anonymous customer wrote.
"The hairs on my arm literally stood up," Reeves told Fox News. "I was just so touched with all the craziness going on."
Now, Reeves is asking employees to bring him the bill that stresses them out the most and he will use this money, along with his personal funds, to pay them.
Read: Arizona pizzeria gets $2,000 from anonymous customer, owner uses it to pay staff's most urgent bills (Fox News)
The sweet sounds of kindness help combat isolation for many
Residents of the Altenheim Senior Health Care Community had a special guest Wednesday afternoon, even though nursing homes are closed to outside visitors.
Matthew Lane teaches violin and owns the local shop Lane & Edwards Violins. Instead of spending the day cooped up inside, he set up his stand with stacks of sheet music in front of the Altenheim and played music for the residents.
Quote of the week
"The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted."