"You Are Therefore I Am": Free Compliments At Stanford

Posted by Tim Huang on Jun 5, 2013
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This past weekend, at the ServiceSpace retreat community night, I commented on how nice Bhoutik's shirt (which says "You are therefore I am" on it) was. He immediately, without a second of thinking, took off the shirt and gifted it to me out of pure love. I was so honored because I knew he really valued that shirt, and it was amazing to see how he was so nonattached to it and just wanted to give. I wanted to pay it forward in the same way that he did, to give with what I had. Serendipitously, Audrey sent me an email after the retreat about two guys at Purdue University who give free compliments, and with that, I was inspired. I knew that by giving compliments I could spread some love right before finals week here at Stanford.

Today, my good friend Kareem and I (as you can see from the picture, I'm actually wearing Bhoutik's shirt) made a sign and went out to give free compliments in front of the library, where Stanford students are spending a lot of time studying and stressing out. We decided to brighten their day with lots of smiles, lots of positive compliments, and lots of love. Everyone who passed by us on the way into or out of the library was breaking out into a smile, trying not to laugh, and looking much happier. Several people said that we made their day and one guy even said, "I love you guys!" and came back for a second round of compliments. Even those who chose not respond to us couldn't help but crack a smile. One of my friends later commented that we were "disruptive" in a positive way. I like to believe that we were disrupting the "ME" paradigm of "I have to study and do this and that for me to be successful" for a "WE" paradigm of "I am therefore you are...I can share love with others for all of us to be happier and more successful" - I hope the ripples keep spreading as people find joy in the here and now. My friend Kareem and I feel really blessed, and we even decided that we're going to continue spreading the love during finals week and beyond.

Thank you to Bhoutik and Audrey (as well as everyone at the ServiceSpace retreat) for sharing your insights, your compassion, and your stories. I've been inspired by your servant laddership, and I plan to keep serving with these values, directly from my heart.

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Comments (6)

  • Yoo-Mi Lee wrote ...

    What a wonderful way to give love and brighten people's day! Tim and Kareem - you guys rock! Nice shirt, Tim. :)

  • Audrey Lin wrote ...

    That's so awesome! :) And speaking of compliments-- awesome shirt! :)

  • Mia Tagano wrote ...

    I love you guys!

  • Kishan wrote ...

    simply incredible !!! What a way to realize "you are therefore I am"...Thanks so much for sharing :-)

  • Rahul Brown wrote ...

    Love the story, Tim! You wear that shirt well :-)

  • Vinya Sankaran Vasu wrote ...

    Tim and Kareem, you both rock :). What a beautiful idea :)