“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” – President Barack Obama
These two powerful quotes set the perfect stage for perhaps two of the greatest aspirations of humankind: to change the world and to change ourselves.
As fallible human beings, it’s too easy getting into a mindset in which we think making a difference is impossible – but it’s not. It’s too easy to get discouraged about things going on in the world and to complain that things are going downhill.
This problem is that we have a tendency to try and take on either too much or too little.
However, there are little things that you can do on a daily basis to make yourself feel better while also making the world a better place!
11 small things that you can do right now to improve your life and change the world:
Small thing #1: Say Hello to a stranger.
Being so busy and stretched for time, we are all wrapped up in our own little worlds. Once in a while, you are on the receiving end of a friendly person’s warm greeting, and it feels magnificent. Reciprocate that feeling and give someone a warm “Hello!” or “Good morning!” You could just be making someone’s day!
Small thing #2: Donate something.
Most of us have stuff laying around the house we no longer use. Look in your closets, on your desk, or in your drawers. Do you have any old clothing or stuff that doesn’t fit? Take it to a Goodwill or Salvation Army. Most places are happy to take your discarded items, and there is probably someone in need that can find good use for it.
Small thing #3: Visit someone who’d like some company.
Someone at a nursing home, retirement center, or a relative close by would love to see and hear from you. Visit an orphanage or a facility for the disabled, if you’d like. Unfortunately, there are people who feel alone or abandoned by others who could use the company of a friendly person such as you!
Small thing #4: Volunteer.
Find a cause that’s near and dear to your heart and spend some time there. There are wonderful sites like www.voluntermatch.org and www.serve.gov that will match you with great causes such as feeding the homeless, caring for pets, reading to children, helping disabled veterans, rebuilding our neighborhoods, and much more.
Small thing #5: Pick up trash lying around.
This is our earth, our environment, and our responsibility. When you are strolling somewhere, and you see a piece of trash lying on the ground, what do you do? Do you take a few seconds to pick it up and dispose of it properly or just walk by? If you walk by, please pick it up. We’ve been given this beautiful planet, and we alone are responsible for keeping it beautiful.
Small thing #6: Grow a garden.
Not only will this give you something fun to do, you will be doing your part for our environment. Think of walking outside and seeing a beautiful array of flowers or plants, knowing that you are responsible for their creation and upkeep. Pretty cool.
Small thing #7: Buy a stranger’s coffee or tea.
Small gestures like paying for an unknown person’s beverage at a restaurant or café can make a big difference. Not only are you saving them the expense and quenching their thirst (or caffeine craving), but you are also instilling or strengthening a “pay it forward” attitude. Random acts of kindness are special, and benefit you and the other person greatly. What do you think the chances are that they will buy the next person’s coffee or tea when they get a chance? Congratulations, you’ve created a positive domino effect!
Small thing #8: Smile at someone.
Speaking of powerful, smiling at someone is one of the most powerful things you can do. We all come across someone at times that look as if they’re having a bad day, or days… smile at them. Better yet, smile and say “Hello!”… Whoa, you just did two little things in one awesome gesture. And you probably made someone feel better about themselves in the process!
Small thing #9: Set the example.
There’s something to be said about a person who sets the example for others. Whether it’s at work, home, school or out and about, there are people who are consistently well mannered and set a positive example in their attitude, speech, work ethic, and in other areas as well. This is not to say that you need to be perfect… but conducting yourself with dignity and class is something that can have a very powerful impact on others.
Small thing #10: Commit to self-improvement.
This is easier said than done, but it’s possible. Nobody changes overnight, and you shouldn’t expect to either, but great thing is that by doing any of the above nine steps, you are already committing yourself to the noble goal of self-improvement. The real challenge lies in doing the little things on a consistent basis and by taking advantage of all opportunities to change the world – one little step at a time.
Small thing #11: Say “I Love You”
These three small words create one VERY big statement. When you say I love you to someone, or in the mirror to yourself each morning (highly recommended practice), you are sharing the greatest power in the world. Love stops wars and starts lives, and according to some, love is all you need!