51 Ways to Change the World

A man standing in front of a sunset.
Changing the world might be easier than you think.

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.

The List

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.

24. Forgive.

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?

11 thoughts on “51 Ways to Change the World”

  1. I love these!!! Another one that popped into my head was, “Buy a new box of 64 Crayola Crayons, some new coloring books and get busy with your favorite 4 year old breaking them in. There is no better joy!”

    I am going to share this list with my employees, friends and anyone else who will listen, Shola. As always, you are such a blessing!!!

    • Hey there Kathy! I’m so glad that you liked the list! As a daddy to a 4-year old little girl, there is no greater joy than spending time with her and a Crayola box, and then watching the creativity unfold. Life is truly all about the simple pleasures, that is for sure. Thanks so much for sharing this with anyone who will listen, that truly does mean a lot to me, my friend. Thanks for reading, as always Kathy!

  2. I LOVE this list, and I like Katho’s addition πŸ™‚ . Here is one of my own: Relentlessly teach your children all of these things! Raise kind children, they are our future!

    Also, regarding #18, about 12 years ago, I was going through a very rough time. I was being pulled in different directions by the people in my life. I was on-line constantly looking for advice and supportive groups. I read something then called “The Front Row” that talked about being selective about who you allow to sit in the front row of your life. There was a line that said “Some people need to be loved from a distance”. It was like a lightbulb turned on in my head. It was so profound. Since that day, I have been following that advice and it has made me a much happier person.
    As always Shola, I look forward to and love your posts! Have a wonderful week!! πŸ™‚

    • Spring, I absolutely love that advice because it is SO true. I use the exact same quote in my classes/seminars, except my minor tweak is that instead of the “front row” I use the “VIP section” :). Most importantly, some people aren’t worthy of getting a front row seat/VIP access to our lives, and they should be loved from a distance. In many cases, it’s the safest and most productive things that we can do for ourselves. It’s amazing how much happier we can get once we make the decision to be ruthlessly selective about who we allow to get special access to our lives. I’m so glad that you liked the post Spring, and thank you for your comment!

  3. I absolutely LOVE this! Number 19 is one of my favorites! One of my personal ones is to do one random act of kindness EVERY day. It doesn’t have to be big and extravagant, but it must be done every day without exception.

    As I have said before, thank you for always being one of my motivators to keep going! You have no idea how inspirational you have been in my life!

    “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” ~Margaret Mead

    • Valisa! Wow, I could do an entire post on random acts of kindness. I truly believe that the positive impact of a random act of kindness can stay with a person for a lifetime. I still remember a random act of kindness that a total stranger gave to me over 20 years ago, and it’s still vividly in my mind :).

      You are SO welcome for the inspiration, my friend–I feel equally inspired by your positivity and (of course) by your fabulous quotes. The Margaret Mead one has been one of my top 5 favorite quotes for much of my adult life–I can’t get enough of it. If I ever get discouraged for any reason, reading that quote always snaps me out of it quickly. Thanks Valisa for reading!

  4. These are wonderful, Shola! If everyone just chose one and lived it for a year, within 5 months our lives would be completely changed and so would the lives of everyone around us! Consistency would then be the “name of the game!” I love #14…do it all the time and it makes a world of difference in how my day turns out! By the way, did I ever tell you that your smile is contagious!?! Thank you for these!

    • Hi Jeanne, thank you so much for the kind words! I totally agree with you, all it would take is just to choose one of these things (#14 is one of my favorites too) and do it consistently for a few months, and I’m convinced that the world would change an instant. And like you said, “consistency is the name of the game!”

      And thanks for the compliment on my smile–you just made me smile again! πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

  5. Pingback: Blog Roundup (3-8-13) | Blonde & Balanced
  6. Wow! Thank you so much Shola for sharing all these wonderful, positive advices of what we can do to change the world. It’s great to know that every little things like the points you listed can help change the world. Now, I know why I smile so often every time I speak. πŸ™‚ Thanks again! πŸ™‚

  7. Thanks so much shola you’re a blessing to the world,keep up the good work. I hope I am able to implement some of these wonderful things


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Hi! I am Shola

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Over a decade ago, I was drowning in the despondency of yet another workday. My success as the top regional performer had been numbed by a culture of incessant workplace bullying. And, I’d recently made the situation worse by filing a formal complaint. In short, I was collateral damage in a company without the process or intention to address my experience.

Exhausted from the drama, with an unrecognizable version of myself at the wheel, I intentionally swerved off the interstate in an attempt to take my own life. But in that half-second, my reflexes responded, and I yanked the wheel away from disaster. As I clipped the guardrail on I 405, something changed...

I uncovered a power within myself

...a burning desire to reverse a trend that happens daily to sixty-five million people in this country alone. This catalyst has since become Go Togetherβ„’ Movement - a transformational roadmap of mindset, behaviors, and tools that transform workplace cultures and drive results.

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