‘Tis the season to be PIFing, fa la la la la, la la la


“It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can just seem that way, depending who you do it for.”  PIF Foundation 

My first PIFing post was December of last year, rereading it the other day brought back fond memories of the moment described and then brought on the cold realization that I don’t do nearly enough of what I say I’m going to do – like PIFing: “Paying It Forward”. So, this post is more for me than you, but since you’re here . . .  

You see, the small things really do count, and there is no better time than the holiday season to reach out to others in teeny, tiny wonderful ways. Not only is PIFing a nice thing to do, it feels good, and studies show that altruistic behavior is a great stress reducer. (Anyone stressed at this time of year?) And, the positive effects of PIFing last far beyond the energy expended.

So this holiday season hold a door; pass-up the primo parking space by the mall; share a table; make the coffee or the copies; surprise a friend; call your mom; let the one-item guy go ahead of you; give up your seat; pay an extra toll or two; shovel the driveway; babysit; bake or buy the cookies; or even better – sit with, hold or listen – really listen to someone at little longer than you normally would. The options are endless; PIFing is fun, and in most cases free – or at least extremely inexpensive. 

The only rule to PIFing is you can’t PIF and expect anything in return. The goal is to PIF and let it go! 

If you like the idea of PIFing, share this post on FB or email it to friends – the goal is to making PIFing an everyday event in 2012 for as many folks as possible and the best way to do that is to keep it in front of as many people as possible. I really believe the nicer we are, the nicer the world becomes. I’ll be posting PIF reminders throughout the year, so I do not forget!

This week, I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of these warm and wonderful PIFs, each touched my heart and made me want to PIF more and more:

1. A ride to work with great conversation along the way

2. A seat on the bus

3. A hug from an anonymous coed holding “Free Hugs” sign in the center of Tbilisi, Georgia!

Happy PIFing. Get started today, and let us know what you are up to.

Wishful Thinking Works is on Facebook; visit for posts and other weekly updates, and to “Like”, if you like! 

As part of creating the life she really wants, Patrice Koerper is currently living in Tbilisi, the capital

of the Republic of Georgia with a wonderful host family on a 3-month Peace Corps Response Volunteer assignment.


The other day I was in a McDonald’s bathroom (hope this isn’t TMI – not sure what is worse: mentioning I was in a bathroom or admitting I have eaten at McDonald’s) anyway, because I was in the stall – yes, yes, I know TMI again, I missed seeing the women involved, but that really doesn’t matter, because it was their conversation that got to me.

One of the women had done something – I got the feeling she was a McDonald’s employee – and was apologizing profusely for it. I have no clue what she did, and it seemed likely from their interaction that they did not know each other. (No names were mentioned, and they left separately – these astute observations are no doubt a result of my listening to Sherlock Holmes old radio shows recently).

Here’s the thing – oh, and this was a few days before Christmas when everyone was rushing here and there trying to get all their last-minute-to-do’s done – the woman, who was at the receiving end of the apology said:

Don’t worry, honestly, there are some things we are responsible for and some things we are not, it is no problem.” 

Or something like that (I wasn’t exactly in a position to jot her words down – more TMI, I know, I know), but the point is, she responded with calmness and kindness when it was pretty clear from the other woman’s elaborate apology that she could have gotten uppity, acted snippy, or responded angrily, but she didn’t.

I liked that. It was nice. It gave me a warm and cozy feeling – yes, I am now admitting to having a warm and cozy feeling in a bathroom stall.  But I did.

Their brief conversation inspired me to be extra nice to people – you know the pay-it-forward (PIF) kind of little things:  I took a woman’s grocery cart back after I had already taken mine back, made sure I really looked into people’s eyes when I was talking to them in stores, and paid someone’s toll. (Yes, these are really little things. Yes, I should do them all the time. And, yes, I am embarrassed to admit I don’t always remember to do that.)

Being more aware of how I interacted with folks, instead of the upcoming holiday and what was next on my to-do-list, made me feel better and the people I interacted with responded with extra kindness.

So I hope before this year ends and throughout the new year, the reaction of a kind anonymous woman in a McDonald’s restroom inspires you to pay it forward (PIF) – in a big or little way, to someone you know or someone you don’t. It really doesn’t matter, because the bottom line is  – the nicer we are, the nicer the world becomes.

PS When writing this post I discovered there is a PIF Foundation started by the author of the novel that led to the movie.  I like this quote from the site:

“It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can just seem that way, depending who you do it for.”

Have a great day!

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