Growing up as a child, and even now as an adult, I hear people say, “It’s the thought that counts.” Cynics will usually follow up with something that is equally cliché such as, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
I will agree that there is some truth to the first statement. I am more inclined to agree more with the second statement. Of course, that is relevant based solely on your individual belief on what constitutes an eternity surrounded by fire and brimstone. I do not want to instigate a debate on Heaven or Hell, their existence and how one might acquire access into either place. Rather, I am going to focus more on the first statement and why I believe it is NOT always the thought that counts.
If you are driving down the road during a horrendous storm and you pass someone who is broken down on the side of the road, emergency lights flashing, do you stop to offer assistance? Do you even think about it?
I believe in the genuine ‘good nature’ of people and will assume that you at least think about it. But thinking about it does absolutely nothing to help the individual that is stranded.
I will go even further out on a limb and speculate that you (we) will often think about our partner in a given situation. Maybe they are running late for work. Perhaps we think about offering to help or even go so far as to actually offer. If you pay attention to your partner and know them in the way that couples who cohabitate do, you will have likely learned some of their patterns and rituals when getting ready in the mornings. Maybe she likes to take a cup of coffee with her to work. If you know this about her (or him), instead of asking if you can do anything to help or think about asking – just get up and fix her coffee for her. Better still, redevelop your own pattern so that you can do this each morning.
If you are in the middle of an argument, you may think about being the bigger person by taking action to change the course of the conversation, even if you are not in the wrong, but decid against it because of pride. Swallow your pride and take action. The thought alone does nothing to improve the situation.
The next time you think about someone – TELL THEM.
The next time you see a stranger stranded on the side of the road, take the time to stop and at least offer assistance. Even if you don’t know the first thing about fixing a car. Who knows, maybe their son or daughter was in a terrible car accident and they were on their way to the hospital when their car decided to crap the bed. Worse still, in their haste to get to their beloved child, they left their cell phone sitting on the kitchen counter and have no way to call anyone for help.
What ever the situation or with whomever you are engaged (or could be engaged), take action on those random acts of kindness. Take action on those thoughts. Thoughts alone do not generate results. Action does.