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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