Monday, May 7, 2012

10 Ways You Can Change the World Today

People always want to know what they can do to make a change in the world... not just making the hippie "peace, love and harmony" sign and putting it on the back of their car but REAL, practical change. I have composed this list of things that I personally have found DO work. If you have more that you would like to add please comment because the more we share, the more we promote change.

1. Give yourself to your family. 
As Mother Teresa said, "Love begins at home." With the massive expansion of technology in today's world, it is now more important than ever to focus your attention on PEOPLE. Yes, it sounds weird to take your eyes and ears away from the television, computer and smart phone... but donating your attention and time to the ones you love can be one of the most powerful things you can do. Take some time every single day to get present in the moment with your loved ones and spend quality time with them. LISTEN to what they have to say without all the background noise of the day going through your head. Get present to them and focus your energy on them.

2. Volunteer your time.
The most important thing we can give to other is our time. We all have the same amount of time given to us per day, per week, per month etc. We all can afford to give a little more of our time to others. Think of all the hours you spent this week checking emails, tweeting or watching your favorite re-runs on TV. Use one of those hours volunteering your time at a local charity, shelter, organization, church and just give your TIME to others. This can be one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself in the long run (try it).

3. Spend part of your day with the young and the old.
All of us want to be young, vibrant, energetic... and yet we all still want to be wise, experienced, "in the know." While we all can't exhibit these traits at every interval in life, we can certainly spend time with those who do exude these attributes. Spend time with people who are younger than you (could be children, teens, young adults) as well as people who are older than you every single day. The young will bring out that energetic spirit in you and rejuvenate your heart while the elderly will be able to share priceless wisdom that you can only get from experience. Whether you are the younger or older in this situation... remember that you bring more to the conversation than you think!

4. Choose to be positive.
If you are like me, then you watch 5 minutes of the local news and get disgusted with the negativity. Media outlets are like leaches on the negative happenings in the world today and amplify them to the point that the public is drowning in it. Go against the grain. Be the person who sees the positives in the world and its people. Don't give in to the Armageddon-speaking people who will tell you that humans are doomed and this life is simply hell. Don't give in. Be firm with how you live your life positively and always try to get others around you to see the beauty in things they might overlook.

5. Self-Educate.
Access to information is now easier than ever. We have all heard the phrase "people are afraid of that which they don't understand." Don't fear anyone or anything, get educated. Learn about other cultures, religions, languages, rituals, beliefs etc. In the end, we all breathe the same air, share the same Earth and have the same blood flowing through our veins. Our differences should be what fascinate us, not scare us. LEARN about others by asking questions not only of others but of your own beliefs and assumptions. Ask yourself where that assumption stems from and look into how it got there. Once you learn more and internalize the facts, your perception changes.

6. Adopt a pet. 
If you are looking at getting a pet for you and your family, look into adopting one from your local shelter. Thousands of animals are orphaned every single day, week, month and most are barely alive when the finally reach a shelter. Look out into your community at the respectable shelters in your area and visit them. Not only will you be saving a life but you will be saving money. Adopting from shelters is a fantastic way to make a big change in the life of the pet and the lives of your family members. Our family adopted a Great Dane/Mastiff mix (we think) named Gus and he has become one of our most beloved pets. Millions of animals worldwide are looking for a home, if you are ready for a pet.. answer the call!

7. Keep "spare" food and water in your car for the homeless.
I'm sure you know someone (if you aren't already this person) who says "I would give money to that homeless person but I don't want them to use it on alcohol or drugs." Coming from a person who has worked in numerous homeless shelters and soup kitchens, homeless people certainly don't all want to use money on those things. Most don't know where their next meal is coming from and haven't for years. Start keeping spare fruit, granola bars, candy bars, food from the meal last night that you were going to throw away and water in your car or handbag. The next time you pull up to that homeless man/woman you will have something nourishing and helpful to give them.

8. Share your talent.
We all have talent. I don't care if it's athletic, artistic, musical, lyrical, small talent, big talent... we all have something that we love doing and are pretty good at. Look at your own talents and ask yourself which talents you want to share with people. The world is WAITING for people to share their talents every single day and yours needs to GET OUT. I found that my talent and passion for soccer could take me worldwide and share the beautiful game with youngsters in different parts of the globe. SHARE your talent with others in a way that leaves them inspired and ready to share theirs.

9. Go that extra 1%.
When someone last asked you to do something, what was your reaction? Did you do what most of us do... take a deep breath, think of quick ways to get out of it, realize you can't get out of it, say yes you'll do it in a half-hearted way and then complete the task in a half-hearted way as well? This reaction leaves the you, others and the world UNINSPIRED! The next time someone asks you to do something or the next time you volunteer to do something, go the extra 1%. Do what they asked and OVER-produce. People who get angry with those who go above and beyond are simply upset at their unwillingness to do it themselves. BE INSPIRING.

10. Be kind.
This should be #1 in every list but being kind is one of the most underrated things we each can do to change the world. When was the last time you graced a stranger with a smile on the street? When was the last time a stranger made your day by a simple random act of kindness? We all know that when we are on the receiving end of those acts, we feel warmth in our hearts and our day instantly changes for the better. Do that for others and inspire them to pay it forward. You will be remembered for what you gave, not what you got. 

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