Sparks of Kindness: Try a small experiment?

January 20, 2015

By: Wayne Baker

Originally posted on

Trying something new can cause anxiety. I teach courses about Positive Organizational Scholarship, and there’s always something new to try at work or home. Many people, I’ve observed, can be hesitant.

What if it doesn’t work? What if I’m embarrassed?

When this occurs, here’s the advice I always give, which I learned from a colleague: Try a small experiment in a safe place. Would this help you Spark kindness?

This week, we’re featuring Sparks of Kindness. A Spark is an act of generosity, big or small. It is also a social movement that’s gaining speed. To participate, you don’t have to do anything big. Try a small experiment in a safe place, wherever that might be for you. Starting with something at home is an example.

The founder of Sparks of Kindness, Debbie Lowre McFarland, is an inspired, active Sparker. But even she has ups and downs. Here’s a recent Facebook post that describes how she got back on the up cycle:

“Been a little out of commission these last few days, not sparking as much or planning [to Spark]. On way home from a little road trip–as I sit in the car, I’m writing on the back of Spark cards to get back into it full gear. Will be leaving these along the way. Anybody out there sparking today? Come on, let’s set this world on fire and inspire!!!”

Look closely at the image and you’ll see that these particular Sparks are simply compliments. An arrow directs the recipient to the reverse side, which is a Spark card that asks the recipient to accept this Spark and pay it forward to someone else. (You can get free Spark cards by clicking on “Files” in the Sparks of Kindness Facebook page.)

There are all sorts of Sparks, but this one is an especially good example of a trying a small experiment in a safe place.

Does Debbie’s example of a small experiment appeal to you?
What experiment would work for you?