Improving the world might seem like an impossible task. But it’s actually quite simple, if you know where to look. Slow-going—no doubt. But simple. Here are five ways to change the world, starting in the very village you live in:
- Keep learning. To change the world, you must first change yourself. Learning is the first step in doing this. Sometimes that includes formal education like grade school or college. But it mostly involves a curious mind, asking lots of questions, talking with people from different cultures, seeking answers to questions that inspire you. To be clear, reading news is not learning—it’s staying informed, which is much less important than learning. So focus on learning. Need help? Here are 13 things I learned from the world’s greatest thinkers and 5 things dance class taught me.
- Practice gratitude. Gratitude is the secret to happiness. It’s why so many people in Africa are the quickest to smile whereas depression in wealthy countries is at record highs. Point being, gratitude changes our perspective of the world, and gives us hope to keep learning and growing. Better yet, gratitude is contagious. The more blessings you count, the more you see how blessed you really are. Need a good place to start? Here’s how to write a gratitude letter.
- Spend less time online and more time in-person. I wrote an entire book on the benefits of doing this. In short, spending more time online denies your ability to make meaningly social connections. And no, online social interactions are not meaningful. They are an illusion. To overcome this (and the related problem of FOMO), commit to spending time in-person with friends and family over meals, daily activities, and phone free periods (especially on mornings, nights, weekends, and during meals). More than anything, living offline lets you live in the present more, which is the only place you can even change the world.
- Be kind to everyone you interact with. That inlaces people that look and act like you. But it also includes people who need extra love, such as these 8 especially vulnerable groups. Not only is it this the right thing to do, it connects us to one another and lifts all boats like a rising tide. If you encounter someone who is rude or unkind, simply ignore them or gently remind them they are being rude before walking away.
- Donate your time and money. It’s easy to feel powerless when it comes to changing the world. But in addition to the above four ideas, donating your time and money to worthy causes is a proven way to make a difference. As a bonus, volunteering boosts our productivity, self-worth, and happiness. And it reminds us that someone always has it harder than us, that we can make a difference, and that together we can make it happen. So please donate your time and money.
Let’s do this!—Blake Snow