Make The World A Better Place: Where do we begin?
When thinking about making the world better, one of our first thoughts may be something like supporting recycling programs or cleaning up the trash around us. We may even think about being more kind and supportive of each other. Whatever comes to mind, before we can do anything to improve the world, we must be willing to reconsider how this is done.
Doing what we have always done isn’t the answer. Yes, there are things we have done which we should keep doing. For instance, we must still volunteer, give charity, strive for equity and inclusion, and support those who get marginalized or don’t have a strong voice in the world. We must be willing to innovate, make mistakes, fail, and continue to innovate. It’s a process. Just like life. The key is to keep going and try to do better tomorrow than we did today.
We may all have different thoughts and opinions about what will work best. Our views and ideas can also be wide-ranging and varied. Where we grow up, our circumstances and culture can also create even more diverse beliefs around how to move the world forward. Essentially, we all have a lot of ideas about how to accomplish this.
Some may say it’s a futile task. They may see society as stuck or even doomed to destroy itself. Often, it may appear to many as though the people with the money and power have the power and control. It may feel as though the elite dictate where we go and in what areas we place our focus. This can leave us feeling defeated or questioning why we should even bother trying.
The honest answer is that our future will be determined by our willingness and ability to work together, despite our differences and varied backgrounds, in order to move the world forward.
This may sound like a tall order, especially, when you listen to the media and how so much focus is placed on our division versus where we connect.
The real difference will be made when we become willing to let go of past and limited beliefs about what we think is the answer. It will require a shift in our mindset.
Shifting our mindsets towards becoming more open minded and solution oriented.
What we do in one part of the world impacts the rest of it. It’s a “ripple effect” and it works the same way for us. When we help other people, there’s a “ripple effect” of how they behave, how it impacts the people around them, and how those people behave as a result of this.
Something we can begin to shift is how we speak and act. Instead of complaining and polluting the world with toxic negativity, we can become more focused on solutions and exploring ways to improve things around us.
Fortunately, the desire to make the world a better place isn’t unique to you and me. Entire countries have committed to focusing on this. In 2015, the UN adopted Sustainable Development Goals with a target year of 2030. These goals range from achieving zero poverty to gender equality, and include goals like improving life on land and in water. Economist Michael Green dives into this in his 2015 TED talk and offers an updated TED talk in 2018. He also shared a personal video with an update towards the end of 2021.
Now, you may think to yourself, “How are we ever going to achieve this by 2030?” and that’s a completely understandable question to have, given all that transpired over the past two years.
It really comes down to us, as individuals, who can make the most lasting impact in our world. We can affect positive changes today, right now. We don’t need to wait for the slow moving machines of the government or action from large corporations to do this. Let’s explore ways we can make the world a better place today, which are also completely within our control. For example, using social media as a tool for creating positive change and connection instead of a soapbox or way to virtue signal.
We must learn how to listen better, share our stories, and work to gain a better understanding of each other. Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, said it beautifully in 2014:
Wherever I go, people understand me. They understand my soul. This continues to give me hope. When I read about clashes around the world – political clashes, economic clashes, cultural clashes – I am reminded that it is within our power to build a bridge to be crossed. Even if my neighbor doesn’t understand my religion or understand my politics, he can understand my story. If he can understand my story, then he’s never too far from me. It is always within my power to build a bridge. There is always a chance for reconciliation, a chance that one day he and I will sit around a table together and put an end to our history of clashes. And on this day, he will tell me his story and I will tell him mine.
Each of us has a story. Our lives unfold daily like the pages of a book. We have some unique experiences, some similar, and even learned lessons as we navigate through life. We are unified through the human experience. We share the journey of what it means to engage with life and feel the resulting emotions that come with it. Being human means finding your way on planet Earth, working to not only survive, but thrive. Learning, growing, feeling and creating the most positive existence we can with what we have. None of us do this completely alone.
There are others, whether we know it or not, who help us along the way. They may or may not even know this. Some of our greatest teachers and lessons come from those people and experiences that aren’t necessarily good or positive. We learn from and through each other. We are interconnected, just like the other animals and ecosystems of the world. Our world is the only one we have. We must take care of it and each other. This is the only way forward.
We may not know where to start or how to even make a difference. It’s all about taking action and no action is too small or insignificant. We need to do something positive each and every day, finding ways to be part of the solution. Together, we can do this and many small actions will add up over time. It’s a continual process which will have a lasting impact. We simply need to try.
Here’s some things you can do right now, today, in this moment:
- Actively seek to do good, give thanks, offer your time and services to help others.
- Start a sustainable garden and find ways to become self-reliant.
- Create compost and use xeriscaping.
- Go outside and get to know your neighbors. Interact with them and the world.
- Use less water, paper, and anything that creates more non-compostable waste or pollution, including your car.
- Donate used clothing and shop at consignment stores for used items.
- Treat people with respect and dignity. See them as equals despite their differences or circumstances.
- Explore legitimate charities and find ways to volunteer to help others.
- Become an organ donor and regularly donate blood.
- Be generous and express gratitude as much as possible. It will energize and sustain you as you give and help others.
Whatever you decide to do, whoever you decide to help, and however you choose to live, be part of the solution!