April 29, 2011

Selfless Acts = Positive Effect


If you’re like me, do you ever wonder if, where, or how your good acts ripple out? Will we ever know?

I hope this blog post gives you some faith, hope and inspiration. After covering the local news for about a decade, I finally listened to my inner voice which I had been ignoring because I liked the comfy paycheck that came with my big market news job.

When I was laid off more than two years ago, I decided to use my storytelling power to inspire and help others through GoInspireGo.com (GIG).

I’ve never needed validation of what I’ve known to be true –- that good does beget goodness –- but for all those naysayers, a new study may make you believe that good acts do ripple out in a BIG way.

According to a new study conducted by the University of British Columbia, “People with a good ‘moral identity’ were inspired to do good when they read media stories about Good Samaritans’ selfless acts.” Karl Aquino, the lead author of the study said that four separate studies show a direct correlation between someone’s exposure to media stories of “extraordinary virtue and their yearning to change the world.”

How can we quantify the media’s role on the cause and effect of good stories manifesting beyond the moment a person sees and hears stories of good deeds?

"If more attention was devoted to recounting stories of uncommon acts of human virtue, the media could have a quantifiable positive effect on the moral behavior of a significant group of people," said Aquino, a professor at the Sauder School of Business at UBC.

Leading GIG, I’ve experienced the effects of this study firsthand. I founded this video-based website that inspires social change, where we strive to help viewers “Discover and use their power to help others.” There’s a call to action at the end of every video, which our all-volunteer team forwards via social media in order to inspire social change.

Disenchanted by the death and destruction that comes along with reporting the news, two years ago, I decided to start using my power with GIG, connecting with people and storytelling to help others. My hope -- that a droplet of intent would ripple out and inspire a wave of change, that five people would help five others and so on ...

You don’t believe me? Check out how Phoebe, a preschooler in San Francisco inspired the world by enabling the San Francisco Food Bank to give more than 140,000 healthy meals. Then there’s Jorge Munoz, a school bus driver in Queens, N.Y., who would spend more than half his salary to buy, cook, package and deliver food to the needy under the subway stop near his home. These are just a few of the stories GIG shared that created huge ripples of rad(ness).

Contrary to popular belief that “if it bleeds it leads,” people are craving inspiring stories now more than ever. According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the most widely shared/e-mailed stories were awe-inspiring, emotional and positive.

Of course, you didn’t need a study to make you believe. Just think about what stories we tend to post, tweet and email most: stories that move us, give us hope, stories that -– no matter how bad life could be at this moment -- make us believe that tomorrow will be a better day.

We invite you along for the inspirational journey… GoInspireGo.com.

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