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How To Make a Big Change in the World with Small, Everyday Actions

9 simple ways to make a difference

By Margaret PanPublished 3 years ago 7 min read
How To Make a Big Change in the World with Small, Everyday Actions
Photo by Valdemars Magone on Unsplash

Throughout our lives, we've all been asked questions like “what do you want to become when you’re older”, “what would be your ideal profession”, or “where do you see yourself in 5 years.”

“I just want to make a difference in the world.”

Those ten words have always been my answer to people asking me questions like these.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Who do I think I am, believing I could actually change the world, right? Well, here's the thing: each and every one of you can make a significant change in the world.

Yes, for real. Most people underestimate their ability to make a positive change in the world.

Every day, we’re bombarded with stories about how the world is, basically, going to hell. There's war, poverty, criminality pollution. Stories like these are enough to draw even the most lighthearted person into an endless pit of despair.

Fortunately, a great way to counteract all the ugly in the world is to be the change we want to see.

You don’t need a million dollars to change the world. All you need to do are small actions of kindness.

1. Show More Kindness

If you want to make a difference in the world, showing more kindness to the people around you is the easiest way to achieve it.

And hey, I know that there are days when everything goes wrong and you can barely keep yourself from screaming at every single person near you.

We all have bad days when being kind can prove to be quite the challenge. But, those days should be the exception to the rule.

Now, implementing small acts of kindness in your daily life is far more simple than you think:

Holding the elevator door open for someone hurrying to catch it.

Picking up something the person in front of you dropped and hurry to give it to them.

Letting the person standing behind you in line at the grocery store cut ahead of you.

Helping a handicapped or an elder person cross the street safely.

Giving someone an honest compliment.

Showing kindness to the people around you is simple and easy. Plus, from my experience, kindness has a ripple effect. It’s bound to come back to you sooner or later.

2. Give Food to Homeless People

You don’t have to wait until Christmas to give food to a homeless person.

What about those leftovers you’re always throwing away? What about that cereal bar that’s sitting in your backpack for weeks?

There’s always extra food in our homes we can give for someone in need. But, most of us, out of boredom, carelessness, or insensitivity choose to throw it away instead.

Imagine what life’s on the streets must feel like. You’re always tired. There’s no air-conditioning during summer and no heat during winter. Simple things like taking a shower or watching TV are non-existent.

Despite all that, nothing can be compared to feeling hungry and helpless.

Now imagine what a person experiencing this big wave of misery must feel when, unexpectedly, you bring them some real, homemade, tasty food.

You instantly become their hero. And that definitely equals making a difference.

3. Share Positivity

If I had a dollar for every negative comment and complaint I hear every day, I would be richer than the Kardashians right now.

We live in turbulent times, that’s true. A lot of bad shit is happening every day. That’s also true.

But, the amount of people complaining about money, life, or other people, has gone out of control. How about seeing the positive aspect of life for a change?

For every bit of horrible news you come across on the Internet, there’s an amazing, beautiful story to counteract it.

There’s still beauty in the world. Choosing to focus on, and share the positive aspects of life — and believe me, there are many — instantly makes you the kind of person that truly makes a change.

4. Buy Fair-Trade Goods

Just as conscious companies using ethical practices make a difference in the corporate world, you buying fair-trade goodies has a positive impact on the real world.

That’s because fair trade guarantees farmers a fair price for their products and aids to eradicate unethical practices such as slave labor and poor working conditions.

Turns out, being a better, and more conscious, consumer matters for the good of the world too. Or, in American author and educator Anna Lappe’s words:

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

5. Rescue an Animal From an Animal Shelter

“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” — Immanuel Kant

Look, I understand that Bengal cats or Chow Chows might be exceptionally beautiful animals. I actually have a crush on the former.

But, why spend thousands of dollars to buy one, when there are dozens of animals waiting in animal shelters to find a home and crave your love and affection?

Animals are living beings too. By rescuing one not only will you invite plenty of joy and laughter into your home, but you will also make a difference.

6. Defend Someone Weaker Than You

Remember that kid in high school, who was skinny, weird, awkward, and was picked on a lot by the school’s bullies?

There are always kids like these in high school. I used to have one in my class. He never bothered anyone, he was always minding his own business. And yet, he was the easy target.

Kids with shitty parents and a lot of psychological traumas would choose to bully him because he simply couldn’t defend himself. And the rest of us wouldn't do anything because we didn’t want to invite trouble into our lives.

We didn’t want to take his place.

Unfortunately, that’s the way the world functions in general, and not just in high school. We rarely care about the weak ones. We may feel pity for them, for sure, but we don’t take any action towards defending them.

Defending someone weaker from you is a hugely important act of kindness and courage, that makes a difference in today’s cruel world.

If I could go back to high school, I would stand up to those bullies. I would defend my poor classmate. I would be the kind of person who makes a change.

7. Pick Up Trash

There’s no need to elaborate on the huge environmental issues humanity has to deal with at the moment. I know them, you know them, aunt Mary next door knows it.

The thing is, being kind to the environment is as equally important as being kind to each other. Without earth, there’s no life.

Such a small act as picking up trash in your neighborhood or at a local park can have a huge positive impact on the environment, and consequently, the world.

Just walk through your neighborhood on a Sunday morning with a trash bag and pick up any trash you find on the ground.

Even better, invite some of your friends or people close to you that live near you to help you as well.

Caring for the environment means caring for yourself. Never forget that.

8. Volunteer

“But I don’t want to work in kitchens!”

That’s what my best friend used to tell me every time we talked about volunteering.

There are many different ways to donate your time to others, so there’s no need to put yourself in a position you’re uncomfortable with in order to make a difference.

Some people might be happy working in soup kitchens while others may not, and that’s totally okay. There are other volunteer opportunities for people of every age and physical ability.

For example, if you like nature, you could do some volunteer work to help clean up parks. If you’re an animal lover, you could offer to care for animals at an animal shelter a few times a month.

There’s always something each and every one of us can do in order to help others, without expecting money or any other kind of reward in return.

9. Do Something for An Elderly

Old age is something we unfortunately cannot escape from. Although some have it better than others, it usually comes with constant tiredness, sickness, and great loneliness.

We rarely think about the elderly, unless it’s our grandmothers or grandfathers.

Well, my grandmother used to live alone. At the time, my mother and I were super busy. She worked for endless hours and I was preoccupied with college, my studies, and work.

There was little to no time for visits. And I always wished she had someone close to her who could help her.

Your elderly neighbor might be in the exact same position as was my grandmother. Why not drop by and see if they need any help, like watering their flowers, or buying groceries?

It won’t cost you a thing and you will make them extremely happy.

Final Thoughts

You don’t need money, power, or important connections in order to make a difference in the world.

Small, everyday actions are enough to leave a positive impact.

Of course, none of us can change the entire world all by ourselves. But, by committing to implement these simple actions into our lives and encouraging others to do the same, we could drastically change the entire planet for the better.

Your actions matter. Even the smallest ones. That’s why you should try to be more conscious of your choices and always remember:

If not now, when? If not you, who?

how to

About the Creator

Margaret Pan

Words have power.

I write about relationships, psychology, personal development, and books.

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    Margaret PanWritten by Margaret Pan

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