You don’t need to be a Nobel Laureate, a head of state or even a celebrity to change the world. Your actions need not be monumental or even that original.
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Your impact does not need to be felt far of field, but rather right here, right now. We can all change the world, one moment and one interaction at a time. Each and every one of us should feel a personal responsibility to do so. It is not complicated, frankly requires little effort yet, our actions can be transformative for others. Here are 3 simple ways that you can change the world.
1. Unleash The Power Of A Smile And Say Thank You
Let me paint you a picture. You have been waiting to place your order at your favorite coffee shop. It is the morning rush, people are hurried, stressed and in dire need of their caffeine. One after another, like automatons, people place their order for their quadruple shot, skinny, extra hot, pumpkin spice Macchiato, doing all of this while deeply engrossed playing Flappy Bird on their iPhone. No one ever makes even the slightest eye contact or small talk with the young man behind the register.
Just the basic banalities of placing their morning coffee order. It is your turn, you look that young man in the eyes, smile and place your order. When he completes your transaction, with sincerity and that same smile, you say “Thank you”. What happens next is amazing, a smile unfurls across his face. Together, albeit briefly, you share a moment of kindness and goodness. You leave, coffee in hand, feeling more awake and vibrant, and you have not even received your first dose of caffeine.
The young man greets the next person in line with that same lingering smile, and changes that person’s experience as well. You see, a smile and a simple “Thank You” can change the world.
2. Perform Simple Acts Of Kindness
It is really easy to be kind. The opportunities abound for kindness. Hold the door for someone. Let the person behind you, with far less in their grocery cart, go first. Give up your aisle seat on the plane, so a mom and her child can sit together. These simple acts of kindness don’t only apply to strangers, but, also your loved ones. My wife and I have a routine, at least once per day, we send each other a quick check-in text to see how the other is doing. It is not a rule or even a voiced expectation.
Rather, just a simple act of kindness. A way to acknowledge that we are thinking of one another. Let’s go back to that same coffee shop mentioned above. You could buy that person who is behind you in line a cup of coffee. Unless of course it is that quadruple shot, skinny, extra hot, pumpkin spice Macchiato. That could get a little expensive.
3. Listen Fully
Listening fully is something we have forgotten how to do. The constant bombardment of information we face has created a cultural shift, creating a multi- tasking society. You need only to go to a restaurant and watch. You will see tables and tables of people sitting together, talking but looking not at each other, but rather, at their phones. When is the last time you set everything down and just listened to the person sitting before you? By everything, I don’t just mean our electronic distraction devices, but also the stories we are telling ourselves in our brains and our internal task lists that we are running through. If you want to validate someone and make them feel important, just listen to them intently, without distraction, be those distractions external or internal. Of the 3 simple ways to change the world, this might be the most challenging. But, the potential impact it can have, especially on those closest to you, can be enormous.
So, there you have it. Now go out and change the world. Take these 3 steps everyday. Make a conscious effort and allow yourself to feel good about doing so. Maybe I am just an optimist, but I believe that if everyone made an effort to take these steps, our world would be a better place.