I’ve always wanted to do something to change the world – in a positive way- and that desire has lingered at the edge of my consciousness for as long as I can remember. I’d read about others who are doing amazing things, discovering things, cleaning up things, recycling things, starting companies or movements that do great things, the list goes on and on. And every time I read one of those stories, I felt a pain in my gut because what was I doing? My life was whizzing by and what was I doing to make the world a better place?
I moped around for a day or two and then my intrinsic optimism would bubble back up to the surface and I’d get back to my reality. Recently, after watching a TED talk about a young woman who is changing her country’s government, slowly but surely, I had another “you’re a loser” episode. Despair notwithstanding, I had errands to run and stuff to do that couldn’t wait for my Boo-Hoo Bash to conclude, so I made my way to Costco. On my way out, I smiled at the lady at the door checking receipts and asked her how she was doing and she said “better now! If you keep smiling like that you’re gonna make everyone have a better day.” Whoa. Wait. The wheels in my brain slowed for a split second and then went nuts as I realized that I hadn’t been considering things I consider part of my personality as a way to change the world. Sure, I know that people come to me for a laugh or a shoulder to cry on or a no-nonsense “real” opinion they can trust, but I never thought about those things as, well, as important or impactful. How rude am I, right? As if the person whose spirits were lifted by my jokes wasn’t important or the person who needed comfort or advice, as if they weren’t important. They are VERY important.
I realized that my contribution to making the world a better place is a one-on-one thing, and that is more than alright with me.
We can all change the world with small, simple acts. Acts of KINDNESS. There is nothing more powerful in this world and beyond, than love. On that note, here are some ways that you can change the world every day.
Smile at people, smile at yourself, just smile. Smiles are free. Smiles are the oldest currency in the world and the only one accepted everywhere.
Give someone a sincere compliment.
It doesn’t have to be a super elaborate one. You see your co-worker with a new haircut and you say “nice haircut!” Watch their face. You just made their day and you just changed the world.
Be Present In A Conversation.
I know this seems like a weird one, but in all honesty, most of us are either crafting a response or thinking about something else while we’re in a conversation with another person. Today, resist the urge to do anything but listen in a conversation. You may catch something that you wouldn’t have otherwise and that something could mean everything. You never know.
Tell someone you love that you love them.
I know you think they know, but it’s never a bad idea to confirm it and it’s always nice to hear.
Hold the door open for someone.
No, really. Anyone. Depending on where you live, they may either smile in surprise or look very suspicious. Don’t worry, the suspicious ones will smile once they realize you weren’t trying to steal their wallet or their identity. Just try to stay away from this scenario:
Thank someone who probably wasn’t expecting it.
Like your bus driver or the cashier at the drugstore, or the person who held the door for you 🙂 The Unexpected Thank You is its own reward. I promise.
Ask someone how their day is going. And LISTEN to their answer.
Even if they say something like “great” or “very well, thanks,” and nothing more, just the fact that you asked them may have been the brightest spot in their day.
Don’t look the other way.
This is a heavy one, for sure, but it’s still one that anyone can do. Diffusion of Responsibility is what it’s called. We think that we don’t need to do anything because someone else had to have seen it happen. How many times have you looked the other way? Next time, don’t. Pretend that you are the only person who saw that person get slapped in the face. Don’t turn up the volume so you can tune out those kids bullying that other kid. This one is a heavy one because the impact it has is heavier. We’re all in this thing called life together.
Give a Shout-Out on Social Media.
This may seem lame and you may have already rolled your eyes at this one, but hear me out. Nowadays, social media is full of facetiousness, thinly veiled insults dressed up as memes, and just plain negativity. Be a trendsetter and give a shout-out to someone who’s your friend on FB but you haven’t seen in a minute. Start a conversation. Be real and interact instead of just “reacting” on FB.
Do something for YOU.
Do something that makes you soul-deep happy. This is something you should do EVERY DAY. YES, it will change the world because the better you feel about yourself, the more love you have to give the world. The more you love and take care of yourself, the less time you’ll spend thinking about how unhappy and unfair life is and the more you’ll want to share the feeling, cause it feels SO GOOD.
All of us, each and every one of us, has the power to change the world. How? As the Beatles say, “All you need is love.” It is the most powerful thing, period.
My best & warmest blessings with a generous, funfetti sprinkle of LOVE.