The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. ~ Steve Jobs (Tweet this)
Change the world? I haven’t even had my coffee yet. Seriously, changing the world seems like one of these huge, impossible things that no man can possibly achieve. And yet, throughout the history of human kind, there have been certain people that have moved us forward in unthinkable ways. Great people that we all admire: artists, scientists, leaders.
It’s no wonder that when we’re even thinking about how to change the world, we don’t feel worthy of doing so. We’re not that genius, we’re not that special. How could we change the world?
19 ways to change the world you can start today
How, indeed. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the progress of society is defined much more from the decisions and the actions of the majority, than the breakthroughs of any one man.
I also see that many people in the world—not just in the change the world camp—think in “all or nothing” terms. It’s either an entirely healthy life or burgers and sodas every day. It’s either an entirely environmentally-friendly existence or it’s all plastic bags, wasting of water and keeping the lights on in the entire house even when you’re not home.
But what difference would we make, right? And do we have to? Isn’t there some genius—or a team of geniuses—that are preparing to save us all? No, there isn’t. This isn’t a Hollywood movie. Wake up! The world needs changing. Here’s how you can help change the world starting right now!
1. Create peace around you
It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things. ~ Terry Pratchett, Jingo (Tweet this)
We all talk about how we want peace and we’re afraid of war and terrorism, but most of us are more than happy to create a conflict over the stupidest thing. I’ve seen unbelievable fights over a parking spot.
Or the fact that someone has to spend an hour without Internet. Whether you believe in the law of attraction—or whatever it is that you call it—or not, everything that goes around, comes around. And when everyone is so willing and ready to pick a fight in order to defend their ego, this energy builds up into hatred, into separation, and ultimately, into wars.
It may sound silly and too easy to be true, but if you just try to create peace around you, to live in peace with your neighbors and colleagues, to find the good in people and to overcome your ego at least from time to time… Well, imagine the world we’d live in.
2. Help people
You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ John Bunyan (Tweet this)
I love it when people say that they would help people if… If they had more time, or more money, or more knowledge. Help can be so simple. If you see that a mother with a stroller needs to come up stairs: help her.
If you see an old lady who can’t cross the road, help her. Get off your seat in the subway and offer it to someone older than you. Give a dollar to that homeless guy you pass by every day on your way to work.
Take your mother to a surprise vacation when you see she’s been too stressed at work. Or at least smile at the cashier in the bank. The line you had to wait in for 15 minutes isn’t her fault and she’ll appreciate someone being nice to her.
3. Express your emotions in a healthy way
When our emotional health is in a bad state, so is our level of self-esteem. We have to slow down and deal with what is troubling us, so that we can enjoy the simple joy of being happy and at peace with ourselves. ~ Jess C. Scott, Clear :A Guide to Treating Acne Naturally (Tweet this)
We all get angry or sad sometimes and that’s ok. We’re people. But can you imagine what a great place the world would be if emotions were expressed the healthy way? You’d say to your partner “Honey, I’m really mad about something that happened at work. I feel like all my hard work is not appreciated. I need to get some rest and I’d love it if you take care of dinner tonight. Is that alright?” And you just saved yourself a huge fight that seems to be about one thing, but is really about another.
Or how about finally telling to your colleague that you’re not sure you’ll be able to help her with that project, because you’re busy. Or to your boss, that you feel like you’re doing more and more for the company and deserve a raise, and at the very least ask him to come up with a system where the results you achieve are awarded.
If all just say what’s really wrong in a calm manner, proposing a solution, we’d save ourselves troubles and stress, and we’ll raise children who do the same. So start expressing your emotions the healthy way… or if you can’t, learn to let them go by focusing on the positive of a situation.
In some countries—the UK for example—recycling is made super easy. You just have to get separate baskets, put separate garbage bags in them, throw your trash in a smart way and the council does the rest.
In other countries, it’s a bit more difficult. In Eastern Europe, for example, there are certain recycling depots and if you want to recycle, you have to throw glass, paper and plastic in three separate bags and then bring those to the nearest one.
Whatever the situation is in your country, and even if you’re not sure precisely how to recycle, please do, starting right now. Our planet is so full of waste and even though we can’t clean it all up within a single generation’s lifespan, the least we can do is not add to it. For your kids and their kids, for the nature and all other species, don’t add to it.
5. Save water
Over 60% of the human body is water. There are people in the world we live in that die because of lack of clean water. The least you can do is turn the water off when you’re brushing your teeth, don’t you think?
And here are some more ideas: take a shower with your partner; enjoy bubble baths more often; get a shower that sprays mist. Whatever you can do to conserve water makes huge difference.
You may wonder why is that so important, considering the fact that 71% of Earth is covered in water. Well, hold your horses. All but 3% of that is salty water that we can’t currently use—although technologies for turning salty water into fresh water are constantly being developed and improved, so that they’re cheap enough to use worldwide.
And that’s not all: 2 out of those 3% is locked in ice caps and glaciers. So that leaves us with 1% of the water available on our planet. With growing population and increasing need of nature preservation, we have to be really careful with that limited resource. Unless you want to leave your children a nice big desert, that is.
6. Save energy
Another thing you can do to change the world right now is save energy. Because energy is always there when you need it, most people forget where it comes from and what it can cause.
First of all, the energy sources we count on are limited, just like water. In fact, most wars and political conflicts in the world start because of lack and/or need for energy resources. In America alone, the consumption of energy rises every year, and it doubles every 20 years.
In addition to causing international tension, energy consumption contributes to an enormous part of the pollution of air and soil.
So how can you help? Well, if you can afford it, driving an electric car and living in a house powered by sun or wind power would be the best way to go—not to mention cheaper. But if you can’t do that, there are still small things: turn off the lights when you don’t need them; walk more and drive less; close the refrigerator door.
Remember, small things add up and can truly change the world!
7. Use roll-ons and not deodorants—preferably all natural
This one I could’ve just mentioned in a paragraph about the environment, but it’s too important and so it’s a separate to-do—or rather not-to-do point.
First of all, deodorants are almost always tested on animals. And while many other cosmetic products are tested on animals too—if you can, always look for products that are not simply by reading the packaging—deodorants are particularly nasty.
Why? Because, second of all, they are extremely unhealthy. Formaldehyde, which is a key part of the formation of smoke and is used in every deodorant on the planet, is also found in cigarette smoke. Parabens—another ingredient of deodorants—are found in excessive amount in the bodies of 70% of the women with breast cancer. After all, our skin absorbs everything we apply on it.
In addition to that, the aerosols contained in deodorants inflict serious damage on the Ozone Layer.
In short, say no to deodorants for good. And who knows, if enough of us do that, companies may stop producing them all together!
No one has ever become poor by giving. ~ Anne Frank, Diary of Anne Frank: the play (Tweet this)
The concept of giving is simple, and yet it is lost on many people. A few months ago, right after the UK voted to leave the European Union, I talked to a friend from London who was one of the 17-million people that voted out. I asked her why and the very first thing she said to me was that she felt screwed because part of her money were going to poorer regions in Europe.
This person isn’t poor. She’s doing well, she’s from a middle-class family and lives in a nice neighborhood. She loves her job and pays her taxes. And she’s pissed that a small part of what she pays in taxes—what she would’ve paid anyway—is going for education and infrastructure in smaller, less wealthy countries.
And I say less wealthy, because the truth is that there are no really poor countries in Europe. It would be silly if we claim there are.
Anyhow, it was in that very moment that I realized how giving is just not a part of everyone’s lives—something I would’ve never believed! People, there’s always something you don’t have. You could be living a great life, but maybe you’d like to get a brand new car, or a bigger house, or a boat, or a plane.
And maybe you live a not-so-great life and you’d really like to get a car at all, or a house, or just have the money to go out more often. But always—absolutely always—you can afford to give. You can give the clothes you don’t wear to people who need them. You can donate food. You can give to charity, even if it’s little.
For God’s sake, you can feed a dog on the street. Give! And be happy when your community gives to other communities and when your country gives to other countries. It’s what we give that makes us truly happy, not what we get.
9. Be grateful
For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen. ~ Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Tweet this)
It’s funny how often people forget to be grateful. They keep their focus on what’s not happening and never even notice the blessings in their life.
Being grateful means being happy, it means being energetic, it means living your life with no expectations about what you “deserve,” and instead open your heart to the joy of what a wonderful miracle everything you have is.
And it is! If more people were focused on being grateful, imagine what a happy place the world would be. Just spend a minute every day listing all awesome things in your life—there must be some. In fact, I’m sure you wouldn’t even fit them in a minute. And when you’re grateful, you’ll inspire others to act the same way… which is how the world gets changed from the inside out.
10. Say no to plastic bags—and plastic in general
Did you know that France forbade plastic kitchen utensils all together? Some states in the US are on that too. Plastic is one of the substances that is killing our planet. In the manufacturing process of plastic goods corporations pollute the environment in unthinkable ways. In addition to that, plastic is not biodegradable. Well, it is, if you’re willing to wait for your plastic bottle to decompose in 450 years.
Unfortunately, plastic is all around us—bags, bottles, all sorts of packaging, single-use products. And even though companies will produce and use plastic perhaps for a very long time still, if we use less plastic products, they’ll make less. So every plastic bag or bottle you can spare is a step forward.
11. Be the best at what you do
You only need to dedicate each day to expressing your absolute best and making a fantastic difference in other human lives. ~ Robin Sharma (Tweet this)
In his book “The Leader Who Had No Title,” Robin Sharma explains it perfectly. Whatever it is that you do, you have to give it 100% of yourself. Every job in the world provides value for the community and the world. If we all do our jobs perfectly, we’ll live in a perfect world.
Because of people’s hunger for money and power, and our huge egos, many of us spend too much time to become managers or business owners, or a get a “better” job… when we need so little to be happy. Just great relationships, a job that represents us and big smiles on our faces.
That’s not to say you can’t be ambitious, but be ambitious in what you do because you love it. And if you don’t love it, change it. There’s no way you’ll give 100% of yourself when you’re not crazy about what you do.
Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do. ~ Byron Katie (Tweet this)
No matter how hard we work for things or how careful we are, there are certain things that are a matter of luck. Or maybe everything is a matter of luck up to a point.
The thing is, there are too many people out there who don’t really understand what luck is, which is why they think they’re not lucky. Everything you do is lucky. Everything that happens around you is for the best. Even if you don’t see it right now.
And every person in your life is there for your own good—even if they make you mad or hurt you. Everything is there to help you grow. All you need to do is let go of your prejudice and trust. Just trust the universe. Because when you trust, you’re happy. And when you’re happy, you’re creating a better world by just being in it.
Most of the countries in the world are now democratic, which means that the people have a say in who’s ruling them and how. This is a privilege that men used to fight for and die for. Yet, many people nowadays are too lazy to go down and vote for their own future. Of course, that doesn’t stop them from complaining about it when something is not to their liking.
Every time you have the chance to vote, vote. Have a say. Even if you’re outnumbered, have a say. Because not voting means not caring. And do you really not care?
14. Speak up
I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. ~ Audre Lorde (Tweet this)
Speaking up is almost the same as voting, but it’s done in tighter communities. During my corporate career, I noticed something strange. Many people quit their jobs without ever asking or suggesting for something to change. Without ever saying what the problem was—even when they were asked.
However, what they did do is complain about the company they worked in and the way it was managed to all their friends.
How is that helping anybody?
Whatever it is that you have to say to your colleagues or managers, to your neighbors, to your friends, to your partner or roommates or to anyone really: say it. Make suggestions, offer your opinion, give ideas.
It doesn’t mean that you’ll be heard, it doesn’t mean that you’ll affect the way things are. But do it anyway, because it’s a great habit. And when, one day, your speaking up does change things for the better, it would all be worth it.
One of the big secrets of being happy and confident is growth. And in order to grow, you need to learn. Keep learning always. Never stop.
Because of the popular educational system, most people have grown up to resent learning. They feel it’s boring and it’s unnecessary. After all, a grown person already knows everything he needs to know to survive.
Growth is imperative for our world to prosper; and since we are the world, growth is imperative for each and every one of us. When I say “learn” I don’t necessarily mean go back to school—though that’s an option if that’s what you want to do—but keep your mind open and try to learn at least a few new things a year.
Read non-fiction; go to trainings and seminars; travel. Get better at your job and get better at your hobbies. Get better at everything! I recently read a book about how to better understand and support my husband, because my husband deserves a better wife.
Of course, the fact that you’re reading this article shows you’re among the people who do want to learn—learn how to make the world a better place, for example. So for you, I’d say just keep it up!
16. Ease up on time and money
For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons. ~ Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Tweet this)
We all think time and money is so important. But are our health, peace and happiness not more important? The horrible thing about time and money is that once they get you, they don’t let go. You’re always in the pursuit of one or the other, never completely satisfied with what you do have.
Here’s a breakthrough for you: you have time. It’s ticking right now and it’s limited, so use it wisely (doing what you love). And when you do that, money will come on its own.
17. Don’t watch the news. Watch comedy
Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws. ~ Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless (Tweet this)
I know that the news is there to keep us informed, but I must say I find absolutely no pleasure in watching it and I learn nothing new—so why waste my time on that?
In the high-tech world we live in, news travels faster than ever. And of course, it’s the bad news that sells, so that’s what the media focuses on. As a result, watching the news on the TV or even reading a newspaper may result in a deep, deep depression. Murders, crashes, crises, unemployment, wars, nuclear weapons… Do we really gain from hearing about that over and over, and over again? Because from where I’m standing, it only seems to be bringing stress and fear.
If you want to be happy and if you want to change the world, stop watching the news and stop believing it, too. Just create your own reality and trust that humanity is becoming better by the second. It’s just that we didn’t know about all the problems before.
18. Think before having babies—and think after that, too
When it comes to having children, there are so many opinions. There are many pros about having kids, because having kids and raising them right is the way to build a great future. But there are also many pros to not having kids, because it means not adding to already excessive population growth and focusing on being a better person and contributing to society in another way.
Whatever it is that you choose to do, I urge you to think it through. Make sure your decision is positive for you and make sure the people you’re bringing into our lives are good people, happy people, smart people. And make sure not having children won’t turn you into a miserable, selfish person who picks up fights on every corner. Just make sure things work for you. If they work for you, the work for us too. “Us” being the rest of the world.
19. Forget your prejudice
Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones. ~ Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (Tweet this)
Even though we live in the 21st Century, it’s unbelievable how much prejudice we all have. There’s racism, homophobia, nationalism. There are still classes in our society, even though not as clear as centuries ago. And people still judge other people based on… Well, absolutely everything, which, when you think about it, is… nothing!
Quit it right now! We’re all brothers and sisters—almost literally. We don’t all have to like each other, we don’t all have to understand each other, but we do have to respect each other. And if you have a problem with someone, you should know that’s a problem you’re having with yourself. It’s never about the other person, it’s about you! So deal with it and stop blaming him or her, or anybody for all that’s wrong with the world.
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. ~ Theodore Roosevelt (Tweet this)
And in the end, I just want to say don’t forget that we’re in this together. Whether I chose to do some or all, or none of these 19 simple tips does affect you. And whether you choose to do them does affect me. So for the happiness of everyone—including yourself and all future generations, make the right decision. And make it now.