9 Ways you can Impact the World in your Everyday Life
There are simple measures every person can take in their every-day life that can make a difference for others, or for the planet. The most important thing is to be aware of the impact you can have. And also, that your measures, actions and words matter. Here are some simple tips on small things to be considered throughout your days that can affect the world positively.
1. How can you be there for others?
We often have a focus towards ourselves that makes us self-conscious. Thinking a lot about what people think of us. Try and ask yourself “How can I contribute to something positive for others?”. This does not mean to put other people’s need ahead of you own. Or to drain yourself because you try and fix someone else’s problems. It simply means changing your focus from yourself to open your eyes to a different focus. Focusing on how you can be there for others, can contribute to lightening up someone else’s day. It can also be beneficial for yourself, lightening anxiety by pulling the attention away from your own behaviour. Try and change your focus, perhaps only for a little while every day. See what effect this has on others, as well as on yourself.
2. Smile and say Hi!
Have you ever tried to be the first one to smile to a stranger on the street? In some places this might be easier than others, but give it a go! See how it feels. After all, what are you really risking? Great your colleagues with a 'good morning', give them a good start of their day. If you have something good to say to someone, say it. Give someone a compliment. The person receiving a smile might be having a bad day and this might be exactly what he or she needs. A smile and hello might help the receiving person more than you think.
With our culture of consumption, as well as big corporate companies fighting over the consumers with advanced techniques and tricks within sales, it might seem hopeless to have any power as a consumer. Don’t let this feeling of hopelessness stop you from being conscious about your consumption! As a consumer, you do have power. How else would the stores in some countries now be full of vegetarian and vegan options? How else would second-hand shops be as popular as they are? In the end, you are always the one making the decision, just be aware of it.
There might be options available that are more sustainable for the planet than the most obvious one. Think twice before you buy your next dinner, are there vegetarian or vegan options? They might be just as easy and just as yummy. Also, for your next outfit, explore second hand stores, this is where the original hidden treasures are found. Limit your usage of plastic, as well as water and electricity. In this way, you do not only affect production through your consumption; You also send out a signal to others, saying “it is possible to be more sustainable through your actions”, as well as “these are my values, and this is how I choose to act on them”.
There are endless volunteer opportunities out there. You can volunteer in your community next to your regular job. Or you can volunteer abroad as a part of a travel. To choose your volunteer organisations, take your time, do your research and look at valid reviews about the organisations. Then look at their ethics and if they are doing responsible volunteering. Many volunteer organisations are developed by skilled staff that knows the needs of the community. Through organisations like this, you can really make a difference. You will also gain experience, learn new things about the society you are in, as well as meeting new like-minded people.
5. Your voice has power
Know that your words can have a very powerful impact. Even though people might seem like they are not listening, you might still have planted a little seed. This can have an impact on them later on, even more than you think. So, if you believe in something, if you have a positive view about the future, if you believe the next generation will be a good one, if you have just learned something new and interesting about the environment, share it! We know that voicing our opinion is not always easy. It is ok to not always be comfortable to say what is on your mind. Perhaps try and ask yourself why. What is the reason why it gets difficult to voice your opinion in certain situations? Thereby you can find a way to voice your opinion that is comfortable for you.
Yes, sometimes it seems hopeless when it comes to navigating your way among the political parties, their opinion and their values compared to your own. Start early; Read and educate yourself about where they stand, and decide from there. Reading manifestos might be more helpful than watching debates on TV. Debates can be helpful to see if you like the way the politicians word their opinions. However, debates are often used to try and make the other party look bad, instead of promoting their own views. Voting it a great way for you to use the power you have, and be part of your country.
7. Join a clean-up day in your neighbourhood
On Facebook you can find clean-up events in your local area. You can do something great for your local community. Including by picking up trash with a group of motivated people. If you are traveling, this can be a way to meet new friends. You can also arrange an event on your own! Gather a group of friends for a day of making a positive impact. Our team in Siem Reap did just this after the annual water festival; organising a clean up to clean up after the celebrations.
8. A conscious mind
Make a conscious decision about how you spend your days. How are your actions impacting others? If possible, also think through what you choose to study, or work with. How will the path you choose will have an impact in other people as well as the planet? With this as a motivation your work is also more likely to stay exiting, rewarding and motivating.
Write down every day, one thing you feel grateful for. The feeling of gratitude can have an amazing effect. You’ll see!
Small pieces make the big picture!
You can’t do something big every day, but doing some small things contributing to change on a bigger scale will help greatly. The most important thing is to be aware of the power that you have through your actions and words, and the effect this can have on people and the world.