“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
If you’ve read the news or watched television, you’ve certainly seen some dark moments. Living in the United States, we’ve seen our fair share of tumultuous times. In just the last decade, we’ve witnessed two wars, a recession, racial conflict and upheaval, government ineptitude, mass shootings, terrorism, and multiple other crises.
Suffice to say that our world is, well…troubled.
While the majority of us begin and end the day with positive intentions, there is no getting around the unavoidable: bad things can happen. In many of these circumstances, these events are beyond our control. We simply find our bearings and persevere.
That being said, do not underestimate the positive impact you can make. You can make a big difference in a world that desperately needs it. This doesn’t require large sums of money or a news camera…just a willing heart and mind. With a collective effort, we can leave the world in a better place than when we entered it.
Here are 5 ways to bring light to the world when it needs it most…
1. Give your time
Time is our most precious gift that we can give. Time is highly valued, it is limited, and it can be used to truly better the lives of others. Many of us struggle with the demands that are placed on us…work, family, academics, and etc. However, volunteering isn’t something that needs to be put off until we “have the time.”
There are many volunteer organizations that operate on weekends and you only need as little as one hour… a trip to the grocery store in exchange for bettering society. Not a bad deal.
If you need further motivation, consider this:
– Volunteers live longer and are healthier. “Health and longevity gains from volunteering come from establishing meaningful volunteer roles…”
– Volunteering establishes strong relationships. “Working alongside people who feel as strongly as you do about supporting a particular cause creates a path to developing strong relationships with others…”
– Volunteering is great for your career. “People who volunteer make more money, partially because the relationships people create while volunteering can be leveraged for financial benefit…”
2. Mentor children
If we want to create a better future for mankind and for our planet, it all starts and ends with our children. How we care and advocate for, educate, and prepare our children in heart and mind will ultimately determine humanity’s direction moving forward.
Are we going to care for our environment? Provide for the needy? Defend the innocent? Protect human liberty? Ensure equality? Promote peace?
All of these questions, among others, will be determined about how we prepare our children today. These are our future scientists, doctors, artists, educators and leaders who will answer these questions for us.
Mentoring a child is one of the most powerful things that we can do. Non-profit organizations exist that need capable, intelligent, driven individuals willing to step forward and provide guidance. There are many children who have been neglected, abused, and otherwise mistreated that need the positive influence of a responsible adult.
Men are especially needed. According to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, seven out of ten children that need a mentor are boys; while only three out of every ten who mentor are men. A disproportionate number of these children happen to be of African-American and Hispanic descent who are in strong need of a role model to provide a path both in and out of the classroom.
3. Donate blood
How many opportunities will you have to save someone else’s life? If you donate blood, this becomes a very real possibility.
Medical emergencies are a fact of life. At some point, chances are that either you or someone you’ve met or known will need blood. Due to unforeseen circumstances such as accidents, sickness, natural disasters and other events, there is a demand for blood that often exceeds supply.
Consider these facts and statistics from the American Red Cross:
– Blood cannot be manufactured. Only donors can supply the need.
– Someone needs a blood transfusion in the U.S. every two seconds.
– 41,000 blood donations are needed every day.
– Just one car accident can require as much as 100 pints of blood.
– A single blood donation can save the lives of up to three people.
4. Broaden your perspective
So much negative energy is created in the world today, simply because of a narrow perspective. How can we know where to direct our loving energy if we’re walking through life with the blinders on?
As the female artist group En Vogue once stated, “Free your mind, and the rest will follow.” Turning a blind eye to another person due to their color, race, religion, spiritual views, or innocent private habits only creates a void in their heart and yours. There is an equal chance for loving energy to fill the void – give it the chance it deserves by broadening your perspective of the world around you. Through a broader perspective, you’re creating a ripple effect of positive loving energy that can have exponential effects.
Make a decision to learn about someone’s culture. Show compassion and kindness for their lot in life. Ask about their history, their family, or what makes them most proud. Through understanding each other more, we can create world peace, true freedom, and benefit from many other windfalls of an expanded perspective.
5. Donate money (doesn’t have to be much)…
Of course, there are instances where money is needed for the benefit of someone or something else. Animals, charities, education, healthcare, memorials…these are just a few categories where a generous donor can have a big impact.
One of the most common misconceptions is that you have to give a significant amount to make any type of difference. This is categorically false. A small donation, even if it’s a few dollars, is a tremendous act of kindness that can make a difference.
There are many donation websites where you can find a cause to donate any amount. The world’s #1 donation website, gofundme.com, offers donations for nearly every cause from animals to “wishes” (generally non-emergency money raised for individual and family causes). There are no fees to sign up and just a small administrative fee of 5% for each donation (a $5 donation would be a 25 cent charge).
6. (Bonus) If you can’t do these things
If you find that you’re unable to do any of these things, there is always the opportunity to pray, meditate, or send positive energy into the world however you see fit. Remember, all things physical come from the non-physical – so you can always, always, always send out positive, non-physical energy into the world any time you wish!