18 Nov Deliver a Random Act of Inspiration Today!
On the day following the US election, Emma Watson hid books by Maya Angelou for commuters to find on the New York Subway.
You will have undoubtedly read the term Random Act of Kindness – when someone is committed to doing an altruistic act that helps someone else without any personal gain.
Emma Watson’s act of leaving inspirational books on the New York subway for other commuters to take home is one step further from the Random Act of Kindness. She delivered a Random Act of Inspiration by selecting a book which has inspired her own thoughts and values. Emma chose to share the autobiography Mom and Me and Mom by Maya Angelou which is the November read from Emma’s global online feminist book club Our Shared Shelf. She had already shared the book on the London Underground the week before.
It may have been a coincidence that Emma decided to share copies of this book with other commuters in New York on the 9th November, she couldn’t have known the impact on many thousands (possibly millions) of Americans from the results of the US election. Many people were clearly shaken and some were terrified by the impact of the inauguration of Donald Trump, and felt their own values were far removed from the beliefs of the person others had voted for.
In each book, Emma included a written note sharing her own thoughts on why the book inspired her. Those who posted on social media showed that the find clearly brightened and inspired them on a very difficult day. By explaining her thoughts on the book for the reader Emma delivered an actual act of inspiration to the finder. It was a very creative way to behave positively and stay true to her values which drive her as an individual following the US election. The results would not change her, but by sharing a book which inspired her, she gave other people a source to think of new ideas and be motivated by the life of Maya Angelou and her mother.
Emma is not the only “Book Fairy” who delivers thought provoking books on the London Underground and the New York Subway. She has joined a small group of highly motivated individuals who organise campaigns to share thoughtful and inspiring books for the daily commuters.
Of course, you don’t need to live in London or New York to share a book as part of a Random Act of Inspiration. You can share a book by leaving copies around your work place, the gym, your local park, theatre, restaurant or other places you visit. If you would like to follow the trail of readers, you can log your book on the website Bookcrossing which provides labels, a place to register the book location, and each reader can add journal entries on their thoughts.
By releasing a thought provoking book for others, you are sharing ideas with another person who can develop their own thoughts and values, and change their behaviour. Emma’s choice reflected her beliefs and work in raising awareness in gender equality and improving opportunities for women as part of the UN HeForShe Campaign. You could choose a book on leadership, sales techniques, gratitude, an inspiring autobiography or a book of quotes – anything which motivates you during the day or has provided new ideas to help you achieve your potential. By leaving a book for a random person to find, you are giving that person the opportunity to raise their previous limits and achieve more potential.
What are the books which have inspired you to achieve new goals, changed your thoughts on how you lead a project, or enabled you to consider your values?
You have the opportunity to enable someone else to be inspired, motivate them to achieve beyond their limits, and lead a better life by the small Random Act of Inspiration of leaving a book for another individual to read.
Emma Watson HeForShe Speech at the United Nations UN Women 2014
Emma Watson HeForShe Speech on International Women’s Day 2016