A whole lot of people believe that the only way to have a positive impact on the world, to make their life count, is to do something really BIG. You know — BIG — like finding a cure for cancer or eliminating poverty. The truth is that some people are going to do something so grand, so sweeping, so wonderful that it shakes up the world, but most of us won’t. The majority of us will work our “magic” on a smaller scale. And yet, every single one of us — no matter what our ages, finances, or circumstances happen to be — has the power to make our lives count. Small acts have the potential to create a ripple of positive change in at least one person’s life. And if you ask me, that’s pretty darn BIG!
9 Ways to Start Your Own Ripple
All of us have a need to be heard and understood. Everybody wants to feel valued. When you have a conversation, make eye contact and really listen to the other person instead of focusing on what you’re going to say. next. By giving your full attention, you communicate to another human being, ” I respect you. What you have to say matters. I may not agree with you, but you are important and I’m listening to your opinion.”
Go out of your way to be kind and courteous to those who work behind the cash registers. How often do we go through check-out lines without even acknowledging the hard-working men and women who wait on us? A few simple words and a smile from you can lift the spirits of someone who is too often treated with rudeness as if they were invisible.
Donate to a food bank. What seems like just a few cans of fruits and veggies to you is a feast to someone who worries about where her next meal is coming from. Knowing that strangers care enough to provide a meal or two doesn’t just fill empty bellies, it’s a ray of hope for someone who feels desperate and forgotten!
- Give an hour every week to lend a helping hand to a neighbor, a local charity, or a good cause you believe in. Think giving just an hour won’t make a difference? That’s 52 hours a year, my friend. Would that many hours make a difference? You bet it would!
Your Voice Matters!
Speak up for those who have no voice whether it’s abused kids or animals, the elderly, the homeless, or the poor. Speak up instead of turning away muttering that “Somebody should do something about this.” Yours may be just one voice, but it matters. By courageously speaking out against cruelty, violence, oppression, and injustice you can make a difference.
Hold your tongue when you’re tempted to be harshly judgmental, contribute to the latest gossip, or make sarcastic comments. I know, there are times when frustration boils over, you’ve had a horrible day, or you just feel plain crappy and feel like lashing out at the world. We all have moments like that but spreading negativity and meanness won’t improve your situation. Hold the complaints, the criticisms, and the snarkiness! Instead, at least for today, deliberately find something positive to say and look for the good in others.
Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. They aren’t just denizens of elementary school playgrounds. Bullies show up in work places, restaurants, shops, offices, anywhere people come together. Their stock in trade is intimidation, name-calling, sabotage, humiliation, fear. and ridicule. They use these tactics in an attempt to control, threaten, or exclude others and make themselves feel more important. When you take a stand against bullying, you’re telling the world that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. By speaking out you encourage others to do the same. If you can prevent even one person from being the victim of a bully, you’ve made a difference. You’ve changed someone’s life!
Spread a Little Happiness
My husband, Jack, decided several years ago to change the way he interacts with other people. He goes out of his way to get everyone to smile or laugh and tries to brighten their day just a bit. Not everyone appreciates this but the response from most people is amazing. For one full week make it your mission to be a ray of sunshine for everybody you meet. Smile, share a joke, or a sincere compliment. By spreading a little happiness and good cheer, you can change your tiny corner of the world and inspire others to do the same.
Write a note of encouragement to someone who’s going through a tough time. Not an email! A real, honest-to-goodness handwritten note. Sure, it takes a few minutes longer but the person on the receiving end will appreciate that you took the time to show that you’re thinking of her. When life throws rocks at you, just knowing that someone understands and cares is priceless. That little handwritten note speaks volumes.
- What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment and join the conversation.
There are dozens of small ways to have a bit impact. Want more ideas about how you can create a more meaningful, fulfilling life? Get your free copy of 5 Keys to Making Your Life Count here. I’d love to hear what you would add to this list.
Bonnie Pond is the founder of the international Make Your Life Count Movement. An inspiring speaker whose mission is to motivate women around the world to live their purpose, love their lives, and make them count. She’s the author of The Power of Three: How to be Happy and Get What You Want in Life (Without Doing Anything Illegal, Immoral, or Unethical) and Unlock Your Creativity: 30 Days to a More Creative YOU!, and self-described “Bahooda Kicker” who helps women stop settling for less than they really want in life.