1. Be kind to those that are rude to you
Our knee-jerk reaction when we are treated unfairly by others is to respond in kind. We are instantly offended. Unfortunately, this response doesn’t benefit anyone. There is pain and suffering in the world, but we don’t have to let it touch us, and we don’t have to be perpetrators.
When we are meek and gentle with those who are rude to us, we help to interrupt their pattern of abuse AND we set ourselves on the pattern of greatness. Taking offense for petty things will destroy you, not build you up.
2. Be thankful for your blessings rather than complain about your trials
In the good ‘ol USA we are spoiled by wealth and comfort. Unfortunately, this has done nothing to increase our gratitude, but rather lends us an air of entitlement. Not only is that ugly, but it keeps us from happiness! If we focus on the positive and keep the negative in proper perspective, we can influence others for good.
Do you have a weight-loss story or were you miraculously set free from addiction to drugs and alcohol? Share your story! There are so many others struggling with the things you have triumphed over. Even if your journey isn’t finished, telling it to others, whether in person, through a book, or social media, can make a difference in someone’s life.
4. Volunteer at a local charity
It may not seem like much, but if everyone would volunteer just a few hours a month even, the impact we could make on the needy in our community is staggering. If you are local to the Chicago area, consider volunteering at Starfish Learning Center, where we provide tutoring and other services to at-risk youth. If you are interested, contact us here or visit starfishchicago.org for more details.
5. Consider the impact of small decisions
Every day you are contributing to something. It could be garbage to a landfill, emissions to the atmosphere, or pounds to your waistline. If you take the bus instead of your car, you lessen your negative impact. If everyone made small decisions for the better of society, our world would look significantly different in the next twenty years or so.
Even if it’s just a small amount, it’s the habit that counts, especially when people are watching you. Are you afraid to share what you have because you think you won’t have enough? God provides supernaturally for those who are generous. Whether it’s a buck to the homeless person on the street, or a small one-time donation to Starfish Learning Center to help at-risk youth, your sacrifice makes a difference in their lives and yours.
7. Choose a career that directly helps others
When you’re deciding on a career, obviously you don’t just want to choose the biggest moneymaker. You also want to pick something that will bring you fulfillment, especially since it is likely you are going to spend a lot of time on this activity. Meeting the needs of other people is one of the most satisfying things you can do. Sure, people aren’t always easy to get along with, but particularly if you are making a big difference in someone’s life, your work can really be worth it. Deciding to work for Starfish was one of the best decisions of my life. Seeing the impact I make on inner city youth has been extremely rewarding.
It’s so easy to live closed-off in fear, not approaching the people we brush against every day. However, it’s a huge investment to reach out and build a relationship. It’s best to do this the first time you move in or start a job. Bring over some homemade cookies, or pay them a compliment. Let them know they can trust you. It works in your favor, in case you ever need them to be favorably-disposed towards you, but also, this world needs more friends and fewer neighbors who ignore each other.
9. Thank the people who help you
People help you every day, at the grocery store, online, on the phone, in your house. Don’t forget to thank them. It brings a little sunshine to their day, helps them treat you favorably, and it helps craft in you a heart of gratitude. It doesn’t take that long, and it’s definitely worth it.
The greatest impact most of us will have is through our children. You are crafting the kind of people they will be and how they will treat others. If you model to them that it’s okay to be impatient and rude, you are sowing into the world a crop of inconsiderate people. If you teach your kids to serve others selflessly with joy, they will each impact many for good. It’s not just how they interact in your household, it’s how they will interact when they leave your home and interface with others. Train them to be kind.
It’s easy to think that one person can’t make a big difference in the world, but your choices impact you and the people around you. Choose wisely and selflessly, and you can change the world, even if it’s in a small way.