We want to have an impact. We want our lives to touch other people. We want our work to endure. We want the world to be a better place because of our presence in it.
But in the day-to-day rush of life, it’s easy to think that “changing the world” is an unachievable huge, even arrogant, goal.
In a world of seven billion people, we can feel very small.
Today, let’s shift the focus slightly. Instead of changing the world, let’s look at changing your world.
Here are six simple things to try. Don’t dismiss them as “too small” – they could have more impact than you’ll even know.
1. Say “Thank You” More Often
At work and at home, make it a habit to say “thank you” regularly. A genuine thanks can mean a lot to an employee who’s gone the extra mile, and it can strengthen relationships with your family.
Your “thank you” can be very simple:
Thanks for sorting out the train tickets – I really appreciated it.
Thanks for making dinner – that was delicious!
Thanks for doing the dishes.
You could also take it further: a thank-you note, or even a small gift, can make a huge impact.
2. Offer Encouragement
The people around you – friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family members – all have their own goals and dreams in life. Take every opportunity you can to encourage them.
Many people don’t get much support from their loved ones. Perhaps you’ve got a nephew whose parents don’t see the point of college, but he’s keen to study medicine. Maybe you’ve got a friend who’s trying really hard to lose weight, but her colleagues aren’t at all supportive. Your encouragement and your belief in them could mean a huge amount.
3. Learn to Listen
Are you a good listener? Most of us aren’t: we talk over other people, we interrupt, we nod along while daydreaming, we don’t hear what they’re saying because we’re too busy thinking what we want to say…
Practice listening – really listening – when someone’s having a conversation with you. That might mean putting down the paper and looking at your kids and partner when they’re talking. It might mean asking questions to encourage a friend to dig deeper into their own thoughts and feelings.
4. Help Someone Out
Look out for opportunities to lend a hand. That might be with something incredibly small – like holding a door open, or taking in a package for a neighbor. It might be something more significant – like babysitting a friend’s kids so she can have a much-needed break.
The help you provide might not seem like a big deal in itself – but the kindness behind it can really have an impact.
5. Give Away Unwanted Possessions
Is your house a bit cluttered? Do you have old computers, games, books, furniture, exercise equipment or anything else that you don’t need?
Give it away. You’ll clear up space in your home, and you’ll make a difference to someone else. Look for friends or colleagues who’d really appreciate it. You might also try local charity shops, or your local Freecycle group.
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6. Share Your Time
Time is one of the most precious resources we have. Sharing your time is one of the best ways to impact your world.
That might mean playing with your kids instead of taking work home at the weekend. It might mean volunteering. It might mean spending time with family and friends instead of simply being in the same room as them: switching off the television and doing something together.
The world might seem too big to change – but your own world isn’t. How could you start making a difference today? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments…