Karma in the City: A Survival Guide
Those who live in New York City truly understand the meaning of ‘word hard, play hard’.
In the city that never sleeps, everyone is too busy, too active, too engrossed in their own life to help out others. New York is a loud, vibrant, bustling metropolitan with an exciting nightlife and an exhaustive workday. We should know - We're based here.
A city of bankers and movie stars, firefighters and garbage men, lawyers and designers. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. Everyone who's anyone comes to the Big Apple and many people believe it to be the greatest city on earth.
It’s easy to get carried away by the hustle and bustle of the big city. With so much to do and so much to see, it can be easy to forget about those we pass by on the street.
Take a moment to look around.
While everyone else is living in their own little bubble, you can be the one to see the world around you. In such an extraordinary and crazy city, it takes a strong person to stop and consider others.
Perhaps you already spend your time helping people or have ideas of simple ways to improve the lives of those around you. If so, we’d love to hear from you! Let us know at the bottom of the list what you think and we might be able use your advice to help others create good karma in New York.
Surviving in the jungle that is New York can be tough. Of course that means it is tough on everyone, so any help you can provide in the wild city could make an incredible difference to others.
We have put together a list of ways to survive in New York City while creating good karma.
Buy food for a homeless person.
For a person struggling on the mean streets, a meal is always welcome. This allows the person to focus on other important areas of their life, things and simple and finding shelter or connecting with a service that can help them rebuild their life.
Food will keep a homeless person healthy or at least prevent hunger, making daily life easier. It is an quick and cheap thing to do instead of passing by a homeless person who needs help.
Provide directions to a tourist.
Show the nice side of New Yorkers and banish the myth that New Yorkers can be rude. Perhaps you know New York inside and out, that’s great! Put your knowledge to good use. Anyone could get lost in the big city, ruining the plans of tourists who are trying to see as much as they can before they have to leave.
Help them see how great New York is and make their visit far more enjoyable, if you ever visited another area of the USA you might find yourself in the same position.
Bring donuts to the office.
Everyone appreciates a treat! And donuts are always popular so show your co-workers you appreciate them by bringing in a box for the whole office to share. You want them to enjoy their day so you can enjoy yours.
Everyone will be asking who brought in the treats and will associate you with all things sugary and delicious.
Thank a sales clerk or ask about their day.
In such a busy city, a salesperson in a store must be busy with customers all day. Meeting a customer who is able to stop and allow the clerk a few minutes to catch their breath would inspire them to provide great service for the rest of day.
Hold the camera for tourists taking a picture.
So, you’ve already directed the tourists to the best spots in New York, now help them make memories. Tourists have a hard time figuring out who should hold the camera and who gets to be in the shot. These days, selfies allows everyone to be in the picture but whoever is holding the camera risks losing half of their face and blocking the view behind the group.
Offer to take the picture and get a fantastic photograph that tourists can show to friends and families back home, while telling them how great New York is.
Give out high fives.
Everyone needs some encouragement. Offer high fives to people on the street to show them how awesome they are doing that day. Don’t rush at people, you may worry them and defeat the purpose of your high five. Simply offer high fives and shrug when confused pedestrians pass you by.
Receiving high fives from people will make you feel great too and prove that your are kickin’ it today!
Help a stranger carry their bags.
Everyone needs to get around New York City and you can bet that people carrying bags are heading from or to something important. Make their day easier and remove some of the stress by offering to carry their bags for them.
Again, make sure you offer to carry their bags first, you may give people a surprise if you just grab their bag off them! The subway is the toughest place to carry luggage (not to mention a stroller!) around, with so many people and so many steps, an offer of help will be very much appreciated.
Let others push ahead of you in line.
If it’s important enough for a person to try and get in front of you, then why not let them? It will make them feel good for succeeding and it will make no difference in your own life. It will give you the warm glow of knowing that while the person who has pushed ahead of you in entirely self-involved, you have the courtesy to let them in.
The person who pushes ahead of you may be running late for something important, it’s usually impossible to know, so letting them cut in could make a huge difference to the rest of their day.
Support a local business.
With so many big businesses and so much choice in New York, it may be easy to pass over the little shop on the corner of your road. But they need your custom far more than the large brands in the square and will be far happier to see a returning customer walk through the door.
Visit small stores regularly to get personal customer service and provide them with ongoing trade. You might just find a hidden gem on the next street.
Give a compliment to a street performer.
Some performers are incredible and they deserve to be told so! Performers can work harder and be far more talented than the superstars we see everyday in the media. Cash is always welcome, and sometimes needed, but a compliment often has the biggest affect on their day. So while you donate a few dollars, offer up a word of encouragement for the artist on the street.
Hold the elevator door for a stranger.
No one likes running late and those few seconds you take to hold the door could affect the course of another person’s day. It will give them an extra few seconds to set up their desk in the morning or to get to an appointment. Of course the best thing about holding a door for a stranger is that it shows you care and are willing to give those few moments to consider another person’s priorities.
Feed the birds in the park.
On your break or late in the afternoon, go for a walk and throw some seed for those hungry birds. There’s so little wildlife in New York that it may be worth making the most of what we have here. The birds struggle to find food in a city, especially in the midst of winter or during Spring when they have little ones to feed, and bird seed will ensure they are eating well.
It’s good for you to get outside, especially after being stuck at home or in an office all day, and feeding the birds is a brilliant way to do it.
Write a kind note for a waiter.
Words are powerful and while everyone appreciates a big tip, waiters will remember those few words scribbled on the bill. They may mention the note to their colleagues and you will always be welcomed back in future. Everyone has tough days at work and a few words could provide encouragement to the waiter who is likely to give you excellent service next time you visit.
Smile at people you pass and wish them well.
Cheer people up for a split second or make someone’s day with a simple smile. Once you begin to feel down it’s easy to let that affect your entire day but a smiling stranger may surprise you into changing your attitude. That stranger could be you.
So smile at people you pass, even the moody ones as they are possibly the people who need it most, and politely wish people you meet a good day. A smile is incredibly infectious so pass it on and who knows, maybe that smile will find it’s way back to you.
Help set up an event.
There is always something happening in New York, that’s part of what makes the city such a excellent place to live!
People are always rushing around, trying to provide great customer service or do a good deed for the community, but they often assume a big deed needs to be huge like an event. If you see a person struggling to put up a stall or a stand then go help. By setting up an event you are helping others do a good deed by entertaining and inspiring people who pass by.
Hand out flowers.
An anonymous man on the subway bought the entire stall for $140 from a woman selling flowers. He said he wanted to her to pass them out freely to strangers. No one ever found out who that man was but his generosity left the flower seller in tears.
Perhaps you cannot afford to spend that much money on your karma, but handing out even a couple of flowers to strangers is a generous way to brighten everyone’s day.
Thank a firefighter for their service.
Firefighters must regularly receive thanks from people they’ve saved, but the daily trauma that goes with such an intense job can be difficult to overcome so any extra wellwishers will provide them with the encouragement to keep going.
When you next see a firefighter, take the time to thank them for their bravery and strength. They risk their lives to save strangers so a few words of thanks might seem like nothing to you, but could mean everything to them.
Prepare a delicious meal for your family.
Happiness starts at home so feed your family some good, healthy, home-cooked food. It will give everyone a chance to sit down together and reconnect, and the effort you have put into it will no doubt make the meal taste even better.
Washing up and cleaning the house are also fantastic ways to help at home and take the pressure off others, but nothing brings people together like good food.
Hopefully, this list has given you some useful ideas of how to help others and keep your karma in check while living in New York City. If you are looking to do more there are always charities and functions that need volunteers so check out your local neighborhood for opportunities.
No matter where you are in the world there is always opportunities to help others if you know where to look. Compliments are always popular and mean far more than a cash donation, and something as simple as buying your groceries from a small business will provide you with that weekly dose of karma and keep you feeling good.