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Alex Blackwell: Making Kindness Contagious

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Could you do with a bit more kindness in your life?

Is one day a year dedicated to kindness enough?

November 13 is officially World Kindness Day, but when you stop to think about it how much can one day accomplish?

Is it enough time to instill the habit of kindness? Or enough time to see kindness have a real impact? Not really.

Alex Blackwell of The Bridgemaker did think about it though – and decided to launch a project  called: 31 Days of Kindness

Alex’s hope is that we will learn to “make kindness a daily habit” and he believes that “when kindness is chosen positive things happen.” I second his belief and think he’s onto something big.

In conjunction with the 31 Days of Kindness project Alex asked 29 talented writers and bloggers, including me, to submit their ideas on what kindness is. The result is a remarkable book of 132 ways to include kindness in your daily life called: 31 Days of Kindness. A Manifesto For Making Kindess A Daily Habit – and you can download it for free.

I wanted to know more about the man who would conceive of devoting an entire month to kindness. As you’ll learn Alex is a fascinating person that I’ve had the true pleasure of getting to know over the past year. And now you can know him a bit better too:

Alex can you tell us about your background?

Originally from Virginia Beach, I now live in Overland Park, Kansas with my wife, Mary Beth. We share four wonderful children. Our oldest child, Brandon (25), lives in Denver; Caitlin (21) is a senior and Andrew (19) a freshman in college. That leaves us with one child at home – Emily, who is 12 years old.

My job brought us to Kansas ten years ago. I’m the director of marketing for a publishing company. My job is challenging. As an executive for the company, my days are spent solving problems and discussing strategy.

This schedule leaves little time to nourish my creative side. So, by night I write for the incredible readers of The BridgeMaker – an honestly written lifestyle blog dedicated to finding faith, sharing inspiration, and highlighting stories of personal change

What inspired you to start your blog The BridgeMaker?

The BridgeMaker was actually started by accident.

Four years ago, Mary Beth decided to pursue a Masters in Social Welfare degree from the University of Kansas. I’m proud to say she is now a practicing Licensed Clinical Social Worker. My wife specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders.

In graduate school, Mary Beth’s class schedule had her either at class or studying at night. I’m not a big television-watching person, so I looked for something else to fill the time. Since high school, I always had the itch to write, but never found the time while raising a family.

Blogging hit the mainstream in 2007, so the timing was right for me to jump in, too. I found that blogging gave me the accountability, and feedback, to keep me going.

My first blog was named The Next 45 Years (I was 45 years old when I started it). Two years ago, my blog become more than a hobby – it became a passion because I could sense the positive impact it was having on my readers, and on me.

I changed the blog’s name to The BridgeMaker so it wouldn’t be associated with me, but with everyone looking for simple paths to positive change. My blog is my gift to the world. The BridgeMaker connects people who are looking to find faith, share inspiration and celebrate personal change.

Were you always a writer even before you were a blogger?

Believe it or not Angela, that’s a painful question. When I was in college, I wanted to be a writer. However, a professor told me I should pursue another career because my writing style was inadequate.

So, I did.

His words hurt. And his words still sting today.

Thanks to the encouragement from my wife, and the divine opportunity I was given, I do consider myself to be a writer today. I may not be a gifted writer, but I do share my heart and provide a properly-sized window into my life so others can see they are not alone with their thoughts, feelings and dreams.

Has blogging at The BridgeMaker met your expectations, or has it affected your life differently than you thought it would?

Writing for The BridgeMaker is meeting my expectations. I don’t think I can ever say it has met my expectations because life is dynamic – it never stays the same, and either do I.

Blogging is medicine for my soul. After a hectic day, I spend an hour or two writing. Afterwards, I feel alive again.

I see many good blogs come and go. My blog will always be here because the momentum to sustain it comes from a higher power.

How did you come to choose “Kindness” for this 31 day project?

On the brink of divorce several years ago, I needed to make a few changes within myself before my life could change. Knowing that creating positive change was necessary, I started down the path of learning how to appreciate exactly what I have. I found my life changed for the better when I adopted kindness as a daily habit.

I believe in the life-changing effect kindness can have and I want to share this belief.

What impact do you hope the 31 Days of Kindness project will have, and on whom?

Hopefully, kindness will become a habit that is sustained beyond the 31 days. I’ve been told it takes 21 days to create a new habit. So after the 31 days, if more people are performing daily acts of kindness then the world will be a kinder place to live.

What’s next for The BridgeMaker? Are you enjoying the blog day by day, or do you have a long term vision for The BridgeMaker?

For me, it’s one project at a time. Part of the answer involves seeing what happens in March. There may be the need to extend this project, or start a new one; or do both.

Right now, my plan is support the 31 Days of Kindness project and the people involved to the best of my ability.

Long term? It’s on His schedule – and I believe that.

What would you like readers to know that they may not know about you already?

Angela – thank you for sharing me and the 31 Days of Kindness project with your readers. A project like this one takes a substantial grass-roots effort to make it successful. I sincerely appreciate your kindness and generous support.

And if you want to know me better, know this: I do live as I write.

I love my wife, my children and the world around me. I choose to see the good and I have faith the world can be a kinder place if we decide to make it so.

Thank you Alex for sharing so much of yourself with us.

Alex, I hope you know that your professor was wrong? You are a masterful and inspiring writer.

Use this article as a springboard to write your own article about kindness, or to practice making kindness a habit in your life. Share how you plan to make kindness more a part of your life.

If you enjoyed this article please subscribe and share it on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you!

Alex Blackwell is the founder and primary writer for The Bridgemaker, an honestly written lifestyle blog dedicated to sharing inspiration, and highlighting stories of personal change. Connect with Alex on Facebook.

 

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26 Comments

  1. Rosemarie

    Very inspiring. Thanks fo this

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      Glad you enjoyed the interview.

      Reply
  2. Alex, I love this celebration of kindness :) a kindness manifesto and a kindness project, what a great message to send out into the universe!
    Aileen recently posted..A Kaizen Writing Tool for Even the Most Dyslexic Writers

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      Yes, it is a great message to the Universe. I hadn’t thought of that.

      Reply
  3. This is great, Angela, and congrats for being included in the book. I like to think of myself as basically being a kind person, and yet when challenged to do an act of kindness on a daily basis, I have to admit to being somewhat flummoxed as to how to proceed. But thinking about it and becoming aware of it is the first step!
    Charlotte Rains Dixon recently posted..Prepping to Write a Novel

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      HI Charlotte,
      Thank you so much!
      I agree, I too consider myself a kind person, but I don’t know that I do an act of kindness per day.
      Today I took a walk and brought the garbage can in from the street for a neighbor down the block – that made me feel good.

      Reply
  4. I have known Alex online for a few years now and I believe from the Days of his “The Next 45 Years”. Even then, I enjoyed reading the interview and getting to know more about him. It’s great the he has started his Kindness Project. I haven’t got a chance to read more about it yet as I’ve been busy. Most certainly, I hope to set aside time. Kindness is something that more of us can do more of.
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..7 Winning Life Tips from Top Financial Alchemists

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      HI Evelyn,
      I’m glad you got to know a bit more about Alex.
      Yes, Kindness is something we can all do, and I’ve no doubt you already do Evelyn.

      Reply
  5. Angela and Alex – great interview, great topic, great push, great purpose. I’m excited to join the kindness movement in March. Cheers!
    Jk Allen recently posted..A Framework for Tackling Tasks and Getting Positive Results

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      Hi Jk,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. Great purpose, right? Leave to Alex to think of something so magnificent. Great, I’m glad you’re joining the Kindness movement. See you there!

      Reply
  6. For me, there’s nothing better than kindness! It’s what I try to teach daily to my children and the preschoolers I teach. It was great to be introduced to Alex, too. I think I’ve read some of his comments before.t I’ll definitely head over to Alex’s website!
    Betsy recently posted..Prom Theory Thinking

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      Hi Bets,
      Yes, I agree. When we’re kind everything else falls into place. I think we’re also automatically more compassionate, considerate, supportive and generous too. Kindness might be the doorway to all these other qualities, now that I think about it.
      Glad I could introduce you to Alex!

      Reply
  7. Great stuff.. I know I need to work at being kind more often, and at least have more compassionate thoughts to the people around me. My philosophy is personal responsibility as I believe everyone is responsible for making his/her life as happy and fulfilling as possible, but I need to balance that out with the feeling that we’re all in this together as well.
    Henway recently posted..My Lending Tree Experience

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      Hi Henway,
      How are you? It’s so nice to see you.
      I like that: We’re all in this together. Good way to look at.
      So, if we’re all stuck on this big blue marble together – we might as well be kind to one another and make it a pleasant ride then.
      Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. I really appreciate it.

      Reply
  8. I enjoyed this interview, Angela. I especially love the part about his professor telling Alex that he wasn’t an “adequate” writer. I’ve heard so many stories like that–people who shut down a part of themselves because someone told them they weren’t “good enough,” and I love to hear the triumph of ignoring that so-called advice and doing it anyway! Way to go, Alex! I’ve been subscribed the The BridgeMaker for a few months and I enjoy Alex’s posts!

    As for kindness, the idea of it being a project intrigues me. I have always seen kindness as something akin to breathing. It’s just something I do without thinking about it. I think anything that integrates that way of being into as many people as possible is a great idea!
    Ande Waggener recently posted..Coregreen Inspiration Seed 5- Celebrate Your Uniqueness!

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      Hi Ande,
      I know, I was really upset to hear that his professor told him that too! What a terrible thing to say.
      But, I think he’s proven him to be quite wrong.
      I also take kindness for granted. I’m kind and considerate and that’s the way I was raised, but I suppose I could do better. I guess we all can and that’s the point of Alex’s project. I highly doubt someone who’s unkind is going to take an interest in it, but those of us who are already kind and value kindness with try even harder.

      Reply
  9. Hi Angela,

    It is true that we cannot get much done in one day especially when it comes to kindness. Done in such a manner, kindness becomes a one-off thing and its effects are not sustainable because they are not maintained. It would be better to practice kindness consistently over a period of time. Alex’s project for 31 Days of Kindness is a great idea.

    This is a great interview! It does help to shed some insight on the Bridgemaker and how it came to be. History has always been a big part of my life and I always enjoy learning about the history of any person or thing.

    Thank you Angela and Alex for sharing this article! :)

    Irving the Vizier
    The Vizier recently posted..Opening the Mind to the Impossible

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      Hi Irving,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. Yes, it’s fascinating to learn about our fellow bloggers, isn’t it?
      I agree – we can’t accomplish that much in one day but with 31 days we’re apt to make some sort of difference, right?
      It’s so nice to see you!

      Reply
  10. Becky Maresch

    Angela, thanks for sharing your interview with Alex. I’ve been reading “The Bridgemaker” for awhile and really enjoy reading and learning from Alex. Alex shares experiences from his heart which mirror the experiences a lot of people deal with in their lives.

    Alex, looking forward to reading and learning more in the days to come, including your “31 Days of Kindness” project.

    Becky

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      Hi Becky,
      It’s so nice to meet you! It’s my pleasure to share the interview with Alex.
      I agree that Alex does share experiences from his heart, for sure.
      Thank you so much for leaving a comment and contributing to the conversation here Becky.

      Reply
  11. This is great Angela! Good stuff Alex! (Love the name of your first blog!) It must be such fun to be a part of this! I will RT!
    Let the kindness begin!
    Lori
    Lori Gosselin recently posted..Finding the Upside of a Down

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      Hi Lori,
      So nice to see you again.
      It is fun to be a part of it.
      You can be a part of it too if you write a piece about kindness and link back!
      Thanks so much for the RT too!

      Reply
  12. Thanks Angela… and Great to learn more about you, Alex. I have no doubt “you live what you write.” There is a sincerity and kindness that always shows up next to your avatar and on your blog.
    rob white recently posted..Accept the Gift of Love

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      Hi Rob,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview.
      Yes, Alex is walking the walk and the genuine article.

      Reply
  13. Alex is one fine man and this goes to prove it. He is exemplary in his generous spirit and support for people no less shown in this superb Manifesto for Kindness. He is one inspiring man Angela especially for us guys in being a loving partner and wonderful father which he proudly and unapologetcially tells the world. Bless you for featuring it – you too are a kind soul I have the enormous pleasure to connect to and learn from. I wish you love this day and every day that follows.
    John Sherry recently posted..If You Want To Live Happily Why You Should Go To Your Own Funeral

    Reply
    • Angela Artemis

      Thank you John!
      You’re so awesome yourself! My life is enriched by knowing you.
      Alex is a really fabulous guy, and you’re right although I hadn’t thought about it, he is inspiring to men and a good role model for all that he stands for.
      Thank you John for sending all the love my way. I really appreciate it. I hope you can feel the waves coming back at you!

      Reply

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