Can I ask you for a favor?
I want you to change the world.
Really, I do. Are you ready to do this?
Before you answer, it’s usually at this point where I start to lose some people. Changing the world by making it a more positive place always sounds like such a big deal. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very big deal, but maybe not in the way that you might think.
You don’t have to build a new school in West Africa, donate half of your yearly salary to a homeless shelter, start a non-profit organization to fight against global hunger, or give up one of your major organs to a complete stranger who needs it (although, if you were to do any of those things, it would be unspeakably awesome).
Making the world a more positive place is so much easier than that. It’s something that you and I can do right now. Actually, it’s very likely that you are already doing it.
Big changes are not always about doing big things. In fact, big changes usually happen by doing the seemingly little things consistently.
For example, it is impossible to lose 100 lbs in a day. If you ever talk to anyone who has lost a lot of weight, he/she will tell you that it happened by doing the small things consistently. They likely didn’t go to the gym for 3 hours straight/6 days a week or eat nothing but parsley sprigs all day. Instead, they probably took the stairs instead of the elevator once in a while and chose to skip dessert a couple of times a week.
The key is that they did those seemingly small things consistently–and as a result, big things happened.
Changing the world by making it a more positive place is no different than that.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you probably know what I’m all about by now.
More than anything, I want to make the world a more positive place–and one of the ways to make it happen quickly is to make it less daunting of a task for anyone else who interested in joining me.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about how we can do this, starting today.
The Guide To Changing The World
Below are some of the ways that we can make the world a more positive place right now. As you’ll see, it’s nothing more than a simple Do’s and Don’ts list. But please don’t make the common mistake of reading the 51 points below and think “Duh, Shola. Everyone knows this stuff.”
Sure, that’s a possibility. But let’s be real–knowing this stuff doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot. What I truly care about is people actually doing this stuff.
For example, for anyone out there who deals with customers for a living, I’m sure that most of your customers are aware of the unspoken 21 Laws of Customer Epicness, but how many of them actually follow those laws?
So, let start here with a pledge to move past “knowing” and into doing. Because knowing may be cool, but it’s doing that will change the world.
1. Smile often–not only to your friends and family, but to strangers as well.
2. Refuse to involve yourself in mindless drama (either someone else’s or your own).
3. Enthusiastically support someone else’s dream.
4. Give firm handshakes and powerful hugs.
5. Reject the idea that it’s cool to be aloof, detached, or unemotional.
6. Pause to look at a retail employee, valet, nurse, cashier, coffee barista (etc.) in the eye and sincerely thank him/her for assisting you.
7. Stop comparing yourself to other people, and instead, only compare yourself to the person who you were yesterday.
8. Surprise a coworker with a handwritten note letting her know much you appreciate her.
9. Expect the best outcome, and reject the idea that optimism is naive and unrealistic.
10. Lead by example.
11. Use “please” and “thank you” always.
12. Don’t allow anyone to tell you what you’re capable (or not capable) of doing.
13. If someone trusts you with a secret, guard it with the same dedication that you would want a secret of yours to be guarded.
14. Laugh at yourself often and refuse to take yourself too seriously.
15. Challenge yourself by going 24 hours straight without complaining about anything. Seriously, try it–it could change your life.
16. Always view kindness as a strength, not a weakness.
17. Live consistently in the moment, and refuse to be obsessed with the past or the future.
18. Ruthlessly cut out the people in your life who do not honor the best of who you are.
19. Sing, even if you can’t sing. Dance, even if you can’t dance. If it makes you happy, then do it as often as you can while you’re alive and able to do so. Most of all, don’t allow the people laughing on the sidelines (who unsurprisingly, don’t have the courage to do the same thing) to rain on your parade.
20. If you’re having a bad day, don’t take your frustration out on your loved ones (or anyone else either).
21. Say hello to a stranger at least once a day.
22. If you screw up, make a mistake, or do something that hurts someone else–own it quickly and apologize without hesitation.
23. Find a cause that you believe in with all of your heart, and fight for it.
25. Be yourself–always and unapologetically.
26. Choose influence over attention.
27. Listen to others with sincere interest instead of simply waiting for your turn to talk.
28. Say “I love you” often to the people who you love. Don’t forget to say it to yourself once in a while too.
29. Stand up to a bully.
30. Tip your waiter/waitress well.
31. Do something that scares you, and then bask in the awesomeness of knowing that what you feared really wasn’t as scary as you thought.
32. Call your parents often.
33. Be willing to help others in any way that you can.
34. Write down a list of the friends who you’ve lost touch with over the years, and then spend an afternoon reaching out to each one of them.
35. Spend time every single day being thankful.
36. Become intimately aware of the boundary that exists in your mind that can never be crossed by anyone, ever.
37. Give your significant other a real kiss at least once a day.
38. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to do, or a place that you’ve always wanted to go, then by all means, take action today to make your dream a reality. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to you, me, or anyone else, so why put your dreams on hold for a moment longer than necessary?
39. Celebrate other people’s success with sincere excitement.
40. Ignore haters, trolls, naysayers, and random asshats who bizarrely find joy in taking away yours. Don’t give them the satisfaction that they desperately want, but absolutely don’t deserve.
41. Know at least one ridiculously good joke, and be able to tell it at a moment’s notice.
42. Remember that you always have time for the things that are important to you.
43. Every time that you receive excellent service, tell the employee’s supervisor and/or send an email to the corporate office to sing the employee’s praises in detail. You will make the employee’s day more than you could ever realize.
44. Get a good night’s sleep as often as possible.
45. Accept all people regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other ridiculous reason that some people believe is a legitimate reason not to fully accept another human being.
46. Take good care of your body, your mind, and your soul. It’s much harder (if not, impossible) to be truly good to others if you’re not truly good to all aspects of yourself.
47. Decide that a life that’s just “good enough” really isn’t good enough at all. Demand more.
48. Don’t quit, ever. Especially when things get tough.
49. Believe in the goodness of people, and equally as important, believe in the goodness of the world.
50. Hold the door open for people, volunteer your seat on the bus, pick up litter that’s not yours, and never think for one moment that those seemingly small acts don’t make a big difference.
51. Be the friend who you have always wanted to have. Be the spouse who you want to spend the rest of your life with. Be the coworker who you want to work with. Most of all, be the change that you want to see in the world.
Like I said in the beginning of this post, I want all of us to change the world.
Making the world a more positive place is not as difficult as you might think, as time-consuming as you might believe, or as unrealistic as many people say that it is.
It can be done and we can do it.
The excuses are gone, but the question still remains.
Are you ready to change the world?