Changing the world can often seem like a job that’s too big to take on by ourselves and it’s not uncommon to feel confused about where to start. Sometimes we feel as though we don’t have the time or resources to make a noticeable difference. But the real truth is that you do have the power to make a positive impact, and no matter your time restraint or accessibility to resources, taking that first step is a lot easier than most may think.
What if we told you there are simple, easy ways to make a positive impact right now? No fancy skills or special titles or life sacrifices required. Everyone has the ability to make a positive impact, regardless of their background, past experiences, or limitations.
Whether you’re interested in Aspiras or just seeking simple ways to take action, here are 6 ways you can render a positive influence in the world right now (and how exactly it helps).
1. Start small
Creating big goals to help every person and solve every issue is great by conventional terms, but it can often set us up for failure as it becomes a goal that is too big to achieve. However, there is a solution to this: start small. The saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” could not be more relevant in the sense that it takes small steps to achieve the bigger picture. Think of it as “every step counts” because it truly does. Whether that means you donate $2 or give 30 minutes of your time to volunteering, it all adds up, one small piece at a time. And when we all do our part (invite our friends, family, and peers to partake), the result becomes much more noticeable. Rather than attempting to tackle something large all at once and feeling let down when we fall short, try creating smaller, more manageable goals. They are more realistic to achieve and we feel more satisfaction in our efforts when we see these goals being met.
2. Make a plan
Stay curious about the world around you and do your research accordingly. If you wonder why certain things are the way they are, challenge the norm and let your values guide you. Take a stand for what you believe is right and take part in a good cause or start your own). Devise realistic goals for yourself and/or your group with specific, actionable steps towards improving the matters you are passionate about. Whether it’s planning your volunteering efforts for the next three months or organizing a fundraiser, creating a plan will help incorporate efforts into your schedule and will feel more rewarding in the end when you’ve seen how far you’ve come.
The number of ways volunteering benefits society and humans, in general, is astounding. In volunteering, we help communities both locally and globally. Think of it like a chain of events, where even at a local level, the effects can be felt on a global scale over time (again, the power of small strides). It contributes to the global economy by bridging the gap between governments and public sector services, where additional attention to an area is needed. Volunteering also helps create a strong social structure within a community, which promotes a healthy, safe and cohesive society overall.
Volunteering helps us on a personal level, too, by creating a human connection, which improves health in both the body and the mind by providing a sense of purpose and improving self-esteem. It can also help you learn valuable skills (like communication and organization) and advance you in your career. It can even offer opportunities to travel abroad (learn about our volunteering abroad program here).
4. Donate your spare change
Every contribution, both big and small, build up. Every penny counts. Don’t let numbers become an obstacle when every contribution has the ability to make a difference. Think about how much spare change we collect in the cup holders of our car, in our jean pockets, or the collection we find after cleaning the house. Often this change lies around waiting to be used when donating just a handful of change can help organizations in immense ways. Donating to a good cause doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. Instead, set aside a jar or special place where you can collect extra change to donate. It will feel a lot more rewarding to put those loose coins to use rather than let them lie on the floor unused.
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5. Attend or host events
Hosting events help spread the word and inspire and empower others to follow the trend of making a difference. They help inform the public about active organizations, teach them how to approach and think about obstacles in our society, and develop a “giving” mindset and actionable habits to improve the world around us. When others see the tangible results of an event and its outcome, what seems like a distant dream becomes reality.
6. Invest in future generations
Future generations determine just that: our future. The outcome of years to come is dependent upon our youth. It’s our job to direct them in a positive direction by ensuring the building blocks of our world is built on solid ground. There are many ways you can invest in their future like donating unused books, volunteering some of your time at a local school or library, or signing up to become a youth instructor at an organization. Remember to think small -- even 30 minutes of your time can make a big difference.
7. Pay It Forward
The Pay It Forward movement isn’t always about money. If you’re a college student or tight on money, try paying it forward without spending anything. Hold the door for someone, help carry supplies, clean up trash at your local park, speak up when you see something you know is wrong. The point of paying it forward is to better both ourselves and the world around us by thinking outside “outside of the box” (the box being our own perspective) and get in the giving mindset. Try to make it a habit to be mindful of the people you encounter from day to day. It will change your perspective on things and help others in the process.
8. Smile more
It seems silly yet straightforward. And believe it or not, it’s where positivity begins. Studies show that smiling not only improves our own health, but it inspires happiness in others. Think of this as a chain effect. The more of us who can benefit from shared joy, the greater our world will be. Give it a try and see for yourself.