Would You Commit a Random Act of Kindness If It Took 1 Minute & Could Save 8 Lives?

In the happiness world, there’s a lot of talk about “committing random acts of kindness.”

As I wrote about in Happier at Home, I’m a bigger fan of non-random acts of kindness — but there is one random act of kindness that I absolutely believe in.

If you support organ donation, please speak up about it.

Take a moment to sign the donor registry. That way, everyone can easily know your wishes, should the need arise.

Also, let your family and friends know that you’d want to be an organ donor.  Post a message on Facebook or Twitter, send out a blast email, talk about it over dinner. If and when they had to make a decision on your behalf,  in a time of grief and shock, it would be a tremendous comfort to them to know what you would want. To make it easy to find what you wrote, add the hashtag #organdonor.

This issue is particularly close to my heart. For decades, my husband had hepatitis C, which attacks the liver (he got hep C from a blood transfusion during a heart operation when he was eight years old). Well, it turns out the liver is a very, very important organ to have.  A liver transplant was definitely a possibility for him, so I became very interested in this issue of organ donation.

By a miracle of modern science, my husband is now cured. Yes, CURED. Tears well up in my eyes, even just typing those words.  (If you want to read more about one of the happiest days of my life, go here.)

He probably won’t need a new liver, but so many other people will, or they’ll need kidneys or hearts or whatever.

It’s a rare and transcendent privilege to die in a way that allows others to live. One person can save eight lives, and improve the lives of up to fifty people.

Signing the registry, telling the people you love — these are such small, easy things to do, yet could have such tremendous consequences for so many people.

It’s a random act of kindness because we don’t know whether the chance will arise, or if it does, who will benefit. But it’s an act of kindness just to raise your hand to be identified as a willing donor.

I live in New York City, and today is the very first annual Organ Donor Enrollment Day here. Sign up, speak up, today.

Many people sign up as organ donors at the Department of Motor Vehicles. That’s great, but it may be years before you’re back to renew your license. You can sign the registry or post a comment right now.

You may help many other people — and you’ll feel great, too.

Do good, feel good.  As Montaigne observed, “These testimonies of a good conscience are pleasant; and such a natural pleasure is very beneficial to us; it is the only payment that can never fail.”

Have you signed the registry, or had a conversation about this issue?

Share this post on Facebook to tell your family and friends that you support organ donation.


What Are Your Questions and Comments about Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels?

My sister and I are having a great time doing our podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Coming up, we’ve decided to try something a little different.  We’re going to do a special series on the Four Tendencies framework that I discuss in Better Than Before, my book about habit formation.

With the Four Tendencies, I divide all of humanity into four categories: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels.

For four weeks on the podcast, we’re going to focus on the Tendencies. Strengths, weakness, striking patterns…and you’ll get to hear me talk about being an Upholder and Elizabeth talk about being an Obliger. And you’ll get to hear me talk about Elizabeth’s Obligerness and hear her talking about my Upholderness!

Plus we’ll have guests to speak for Questioner and Rebel.

In the meantime, you can read about (more…)

Agree? Sometimes, Being Giving Is Actually Being Needy.

“How unconscious we are, often, that giving may actually be asking, asking at the very least for attention. I am sure I err in this way myself. This kind of giving for selfish reasons often ends in frustration and even recrimination: ‘I have given you so much. Why don’t you answer or respond?’ which is to say, ‘When I love you so much, why can’t you love me?’”

–May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

Sometimes, we can be needy by giving. Sometimes, (more…)

Want to Get My Podcast by Email? Now You Can.

Elizabeth and I are having so much fun with our weekly podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

We just launched it six months ago, and we’re already closing in on four million downloads. Zoikes!

Many listeners have told us that they’d like to be able to get an email alert every time we release a new episode.

Voila! Done.

To sign up, click here (happiercast.com/join), enter your email, and then you’ll get an email alert for the new episode each week. (more…)

Revealed! Book Club Choices for October. Such Great Books.

Pardon this moment of book self-promotion: Did I happen to mention that I can now reveal the jacket of the paperback for Better Than Before? Oh right, maybe I did. Anyway, here it is again!

Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

· one outstanding book about happiness or habits

· one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit

· one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or visit (more…)