Changing the world is a tall order. Where to begin? Here are 7 easy things you can do today, and they won’t hurt a bit.
The world is a huge place. I’ve never measured it, but I’m pretty sure it’s at least 10’x10′, give or take a couple of inches. It’s filled with people, too, and with lots of people come lots of problems. The sheer magnitude of the thing is overwhelming.
As Alvin Lee said in the Ten Years After classic, I’d love to change the world but I don’t know what to do. Perhaps you feel the same way. How do we tackle such a big problem as making the world a better place? Well, we start small. Change is like football: It’s a game of inches.
So here are 7 teeny tiny things that you can do beginning today to change your world. Some are weird, some are obvious, and some will cost you a little pocket change, but I promise that at least at an atomic level your world will be a little nicer:
1. Forgive somebody. We’re starting small here, so make it an easy one. Forgive the dude who cut you off on the freeway without signalling. Forgive the waiter for forgetting your sweet potato fries. Forgive Nickelback. It doesn’t really matter: It’s the act of forgiveness that will make you feel better.
2. Say nice things to a dog. Crazy talk, right? What kind of a whackadoolittle talks to a dog? Well, here’s the thing: Dogs love whatever you have to say, so they’re a great audience for developing a habit of kindness. First Fido, tomorrow Francine in finance.
3. (Don’t) Keep the change. Buying coffee for a stranger might be outside of your budget, but what about that 38 cents change on your $4.62 cup of double half decaf vanilla mocha latte joe? Tell the barrista to apply those coins to the next person’s order and feel the warmth of a random act of kindness.
4. Get on the ground! Now! Have a kid? Grandkid? Neighbor kid? Can you pick up a rental kid somewhere? Play on their level for a little while. Get down on the floor with him or her and let the little runt dictate the action. You’ll have a blast, and you’ll strengthen your bond with your kid.
5. Laugh at something, preferably yourself. Great Odin’s beard, the world can be a bleak place. Between our social media feeds, the news, and whatever it is that radio pundits do, we’re inundated with negativity. Find something—anything—to laugh at honestly, open heartedly, and affectionately.
6. Pick up some trash. This doesn’t need to be an event. You don’t need to head out the door with a giant garbage bag and clean up the neighborhood. Simply pick up some wayward piece of something and deposit it in the nearest garbage can. There’s 7 billion of us walking around—do the math on how many cheeseburger wrappers that would be each day.
7. Turn off your electronics for an hour and be with whomever you’re with (even if that’s just you). The thought of it throws me into a cold sweat, but I can’t deny the benefits. Shutting down and tuning in is a beautiful thing.