It would’ve been effortless to find a quote by some multi-billionaire or millionaire to introduce this article about making a positive difference in the world. But that would’ve defeated most of its purpose.

It’s commonplace to flip on the T.V. and hear news about some celebrity or public figure giving a bunch of money, adopting kids, or starting foundations. Make no mistake; these things are great – really great. In fact, this article mentions a couple of wealthy philanthropists. (Ironically, they don’t care too much about money.)

Then there are the people who sit on their money, waste their time, and do absolutely nothing to help make any difference.

But many teachers, police officers, social workers, nurses, janitors, mechanics, farmers – and many more – make a living (and/or a lifestyle) making a quiet but distinct difference in the world.

“It takes each of us to make a difference for all of us.” – Jackie Mutcheson – Teacher

Let’s use a couple of examples of everyday positive people from the list above.

  • Most of us would be illiterate without teachers.
  • Our world would be saturated in violence and mayhem without police officers.
  • We’d have dirty buildings and less productivity without custodians.
  • We would have little to no food without farmers.

We could keep going, but you get the idea. The point is that we all have a role to play.

And all of us make a difference. In fact, you’re probably making the world better without being aware.

Let’s talk about 7 ways you’re making a difference in the world:


1. You’re dedicated to your work – and do it ethically

It doesn’t matter what kind of sector you’re in; nonprofit, for-profit, manufacturing, industry, technology; if you engage in work with a dedicated mind and heart, you’re making a difference.

This type of dedication has nothing to do with money – and everything to do with how it benefits others.

2. You always seek out the truth

Here’s the truth: there’s a mix of good people and bad people. Fortunately, most Americans seem to believe this as well. In a poll taken by YouGov, 45% of the public believe that “bad people are quite rare.” Only 25% believe that one in every two people are “bad.”

Regardless of what stories the mass media may try to sell us, there are plenty of good, honest people. If you happen to be among this group, you’re making a difference.

3. You’re committed to self-improvement

Ask yourself this question: why do people try and better themselves? Think about it.

Here are a few things to consider improving:

  • Enhancing one’s opportunities.
  • Garnering more respect and admiration.
  • Bettering the lives of other people.

Are there some narcissistic, self-serving folks in this group? Sure.

But if you’re improving yourself, you are likely doing so for a noble reason.

4. You try and “reach” others

Individuals that make a difference comprehend the importance of human connections, engagement, and relationships. Perhaps most admirable is that some people will push beyond any perceived limitations (shyness, laziness, etc.) to make these positive connections.

As a result, others get to learn from their knowledge and talents. Many counselors, social workers, and teachers had to expand their “comfort zone” before being able to pursue their passion: helping people.

5. You lift others up

What’s quite amazing about many people who make a positive difference is that they don’t “clock in and clock out.” In other words, inspiring others isn’t seen as a “job” (though it could be), but a way of life.

If you spend a good chunk of your time making others smile, you are indeed making a difference. For you, every authentic smile is a byproduct of benevolence and love.

6. You happily share your knowledge

Most likely, you’ve never heard of Tan Le, the CEO of Emotiv. Emotiv is the first company to make commercially viable headsets capable of using brain waves to manipulate objects.

“Imagine what this (device) could do for a quadriplegic or someone with loss of limbs.” Passionate about her vision, Ms. Le open-sourced her company’s proprietary technology for medical experiments at no cost.

You don’t have to be a CEO to share your knowledge. Thousands volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, a non-profit organization. These people share their knowledge and build positive relationships with children in need.


7. You give

If you’re finding a way to donate a bit of money to charity, spend some time at a hospital, or go out of your way to help someone – you are making a difference.

Giving of oneself is something we can all do in some way. We needn’t be wealthy or have a lot of free time. Odds are, if you have a givers heart, you know this already.

In closing, consider the positive and uplifting words of Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”