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Photo by Prixel Creative

When was the last time you went online and had a meaningful interaction with someone? Was that someone a stranger?

Probably not. The truth is, outside of work or school, we tend to do the same things online every day: Check our email, check Facebook and maybe a handful of other social apps, consult Google Maps for directions, Yelp for a review, and Amazon for a good deal. It’s understandable, really.

Due in part to the internet speeding up life, we’re all very busy. Due in part to the internet being as anonymous as we want it to be, we’re all understandably cautious. And, due in part to the political and social climate, many of us are skeptical if not downright cynical these days.

It’s simply easier to hop online and stay within the confines of our network or to “yell” our own experiences and opinions into the void. It’s OK, almost everyone is guilty of it and who can blame us? We are, after all, the first people in history to have such technology at our fingertips, readily available 24/7.

But.

In 100 years, when future students are learning about our generation, don’t we want them to see how this technology expanded our humanity, not hindered it? Don’t we want them to look back with respect for the ways we used it to help each other and improve our world, not just make a quick buck? This is no trick question. As a Conscious Magazine reader, you clearly have an interest in using the world wide web to better our world now for future generations. This is why I’m excited to share a project that is helping people to do just that - I think you’ll love it.

GoodKarms is an app that helps you keep the positivity flowing in multiple ways. It’s currently available to download in the iTunes store. There are four ways to use the free app to spread positivity:

1. Seek Help: GoodKarms is a network of positive users who want to help each other selflessly. Rather than completing tasks for money, users complete tasks for GoodKarms and a more enriching lifestyle.

2. Offer Help: Offer assistance based on the areas and skills you feel comfortable with. Think TaskRabbit-type projects except free of charge (and filled with good karma!)

3. Gratitude Log: The gratitude log lets you do what every scientific article seems to suggest is a good idea: Keep stock of all the things you’re grateful for. It is a wonderful way to become inspired and can be used as a virtual journal to extend your gratitude to the Universe.

4. Positivity: Whenever you’re feeling a little bit off or your energy isn’t where it should be; you can ask the generous users who make up the GoodKarms community to send you positive vibes through the messaging options.

So, whose brilliant idea was this? His name is Rohan Duggal, and he is a 32-year-old who resides and owns a wine shop in Manhattan. When he isn’t selling fermented grape juice, he’s dedicating his time and energy to growing GoodKarms.

Like some of the best ideas, Duggal’s came to him after sweating through another packed yoga class. On his way out, a sign caught his eye - “GOOD KARMA! Donate your time to the studio in exchange for FREE classes!” While he appreciated the motivation behind it, their use of the word “karma” bothered him. This offer, while clearly beneficial to anyone who took them up on it, was also clearly a barter and had very little to do with “karma” in the ways that he understood it.

For Duggal, karma is about doing good to create good, not to get something in return. He continued to practice at the yoga studio and to go about his weekly routine, but he couldn’t shake the thought that there should be a place people could go to build real karma, not because they “earned” it but because they created it. A great idea was all that he had, however, and he was at a loss as to where to go or how to get started on such a project.

Fortunately, the son of a friend of his mother’s was an entrepreneur and offered to teach him the ins and outs of developing an app since he had recently done it himself. His helpful insight and an introduction to an app developer were exactly what Duggal needed; throwing himself into the passion project, Duggal took this unexpected assistance as a sign that he was headed in the right direction. It was not an easy feat, however, and this admittedly non-technical tech founder considers simply following through with his idea the first accomplishment. It is precisely this positive attitude that pervades the app, making users feel the sense of optimism and goodwill that was required to get it off the ground in the first place.

Since day one, GoodKarms has picked up users and encouraged many new connections. Take, for example, a woman whose dog had cancer. A few of her “real life” friends were on GoodKarms, so she expected to hear their words of sympathy and condolences. She was surprised that so many strangers on the app also reached out, even months later, just to follow up with her. While still technically “strangers,” they provided empathy when she needed it most and they formed real connections. Or, as another example, take the story of the woman who asked the GoodKarms community to assist her in studying for her GED. Not only was she provided with tutoring, she had a group of complete strangers all over the world cheering her on as she worked towards this life-changing goal.

“GoodKarms can be as transformational as you want it to be,” says Duggal with a smile. He’s correct. You can utilize all four of the app’s features, or you can choose to use only some (or even just one) of them. Duggal shares that many people start out using the Gratitude Log to establish a daily habit then quickly move onto other features.

So, should you give GoodKarms a shot? This writer and Conscious Magazine community member says yes. It’s a free download, so there’s nothing to lose. It’s also a really nice way to reconnect with humanity and be reminded that behind our screens, we’re all just people with hopes, emotions, dreams, and needs. Thirdly, although related, GoodKarms can take you out of your own headspace. Things often bother us, and there are only two things that can make us feel better: Time and helping others. It is time well-spent, and you may find yourself with a whole new perspective on your own problems after focusing on others. Lastly, and truly the underlying premise of the app, you’ll be creating wonderful karma!

CONNECT WITH GOODKARMS:
App on iTunes / GoodKarms.com / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that cause us to think differently and think big-picture, and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers within the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you join as a member.

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