40 Little Pieces of Purpose

People thrive with purpose. When you are working or have kids at home, your purpose is often derived from those things. When you early retire or become empty nesters, you need to find new sources of purpose. Some people do non-profit work, some get involved with their church, and some work on improving their community.

People spend a lot of time looking for the right formal, structured activities to get involved with in early retirement. That said, there is also purpose in small, informal everyday activities.

Recently, I ran across a Reddit thread where people commented on the small things we can all do everyday to make the world better. I thought many of the ideas were worth putting together into a list and added others contributed by friends.

  • Pick up trash in park
  • Donate at blood drive
  • Be polite to servers
  • Say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’
  • Move turtles out of road
  • Leave extra coupons on grocery shelf
  • Smile at strangers you pass
  • Answer obvious questions politely
  • Compliment restaurant servers
  • Teach kids manners
  • Wait for people who fall behind
  • Leave spare quarters in vending machines
  • Put the toilet seat down!
  • Pay for someone else’s toll/meal
  • Use your turn signals
  • Pick up after your dog
  • Give money to a street musician
  • Talk less, listen more
  • Plant trees & flowers
  • Wave at kids on school buses
  • Let people merge patiently
  • Upvote posts in social media
  • Eat the ends of the bread
  • Be friendly to the janitor
  • Report potholes to your city
  • Leave positive review for business
  • Double check your posts for FakeNews
  • Put weights away properly at gym
  • Pay more attention in traffic
  • Wait for people to get off elevator first
  • Leave an extra big tip
  • Hold door open for someone
  • Be quick to say ‘hello’
  • Return shopping carts
  • Write someone a thank you note
  • Sign up to be an organ donor
  • Pick up nails/screws where people drive
  • Pay for a stranger’s coffee
  • Share cookies or jam from your kitchen
  • Put books in a ‘Free Little Library’
  • Give up your seat on a bus or train

These ‘Little Pieces of Purpose’ read a bit like things you would teach your kindergartener. That doesn’t mean they are trivial, it means they are so important you wish everyone knew them from an early age.

While they are small things, the add up to a great deal of ‘purpose’ to incorporate into your life and will make the world a better place for everyone you encounter. If you can’t find time for these simple activities in early retirement, when will you find time for them?

What ideas would you add to this list?


6 thoughts on “40 Little Pieces of Purpose

  1. I’m happy to say that I’ve done 23 of those. I also noted that putting shopping carts away was on there twice. If you can’t do that one, I think you’re a pretty selfish person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a car guy, so loose shopping carts & door dings are an ongoing frustration. No wonder I included it twice!!


  2. This is a really cool post MrFireStation. Taking baby-steps to find purpose daily makes it seem so much more approachable; almost like saving & tackling debt. All purposeful activities don’t have to be social-media level style events.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you think about how much time all of these “little pieces of purpose” would take to do on an ongoing basis, it’s actually a bit of a time commitment! 🙂


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