You don't have to have affluence to have influence...
Oprah Winfrey was a chicago-based legend.
She gave "The Windy City" more clout and class. She ushered in a culture of empowerment for women; inspiring millions to live their best lives. No doubt, her memory will be etched in the hearts and minds of many for decades to come.
When Oprah hosted her daily talk show, I remember tuning in and thinking how gratifying it would be to randomly gift brand new cars to unsuspecting audience members. To create such joy. To bring such meaning into the lives of others. The world would be a better place if we had more folks like her.
As the years have evolved, I've had a paradigm shift. I recognize that you don't have to have "affluence" to have "influence". We each can make a positive difference and elevate the lives of others, even with limited resources.
John Kennedy once noted:
"One person can make a difference. And everyone should try."
HERE ARE 10 WAYS TO MAKE THE WORLD BETTER WHETHER YOU'RE RICH AND FAMOUS OR JUST THE AVERAGE JOE:
1. USE YOUR WRITER’S PLATFORM TO RAISE CONSCIOUSNESS OF AN IMPORTANT CAUSE OR COMBAT AN INJUSTICE.
Writing is powerful. It has the ability to mold minds, shed light, embolden and inspire others. Pen with a purpose.
2. LEAVE A LEGACY OF KINDNESS.
It’s such a small act with major impact. If we can create an environment of kindness, peace and respect for all mankind, there would be fewer wars; less protest; less hate; less police injustice; less violence.
3. RAISE KIND KIDS.
So often, I see adults excusing the bad behavior of children, guided by the philosophy that: “kids will be kids.” Not true. Not always. It depends upon the age and the severity of the behavior. Kids need to be held accountable at an early age, because quite often kids who bully others grow up to be mean-spirited or bullies as adults. And the cycle continues. Keep in mind that children are our future leaders. The lessons we impart now will follow them.
According to findings reported at Greater Good: “When they grew up, bullies were more likely to have been convicted of felonies and to have abused drugs, and they actually tended to be poorer and lonelier than their former victims. However, when researchers controlled for childhood hardships like divorce or psychiatric problems, they found that a bully’s situation didn’t look quite as dim. In other words, bullies tended to have more troubled childhoods—and that may explain both their bullying and the greater likelihood of engaging in illegal behaviors down the road.”
4. BE COMMUNITY-MINDED.
Patronize small businesses; particularly now. Doing so can help save jobs; keep the doors to local resources open and revive our collective economy. With restaurants, for example, you can order take out or buy gift cards from their establishments.
5. SHARE RESOURCES, INSTEAD OF GOSSIP.
Consider the following quote: “ Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
6. BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR.
Every city/state is comprised of numerous neighborhoods whose citizenry defines their particular corner of the world. Why not be a positive reflection? Do your part to make sure your area is clean, safe, well-maintained and has minimal violence. Look out for your fellow man. Try to get along despite differences. Our survival hinges upon it.
Sometimes, it takes so little to mean so much. During the holiday season, why not donate a warm coat to a coat drive? Or canned goods to your local food pantry? Or volunteer your services? Be a blessing to those less fortunate. One thing that I like to do is collect quality items I have at home (movies, books, decorations, etc.) and drop them off at our local Goodwill Store. You can also get a tax write-off.
8. END A GRUDGE. TODAY.
Most people don’t truly realize just how harmful carrying a grudge is to all the parties involved. And I am often amazed that some folks can hold a grudge longer than they can hold a job. Go figure.
I personally don’t believe in wasting energy with grudges. Doing so gives the other person control over you, in a way.
WebMD.com reports that “Besides the emotional toll, researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University and Edinburgh Napier University, in Scotland, found that holding a grudge can also heighten feelings of physical pain, even if that pain has nothing to do with the incident in question. So, if your lower back is bothering you or you have the achiness of arthritis, your pain can feel worse if you're stewing over the grudge.
Letting go of a grudge starts with forgiveness. That doesn't mean you're excusing the behavior the other person exhibited, and you may never forget it, but if you can forgive the person for their mistake, you can break free of the hold he or she has had on your life.”
Don't be bitter. Be better.
9. WATCH YOUR WORDS.
Back when I was growing up, our elders used to say “If you ain’t got nothing nice to say, don’t say nothing at all.” That philosophy is still applicable today.
Keep in mind that many battles have been waged over words spoken. Don’t add to the drama.
In the book, 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, the author, Deborah Smith Pegues, offers an array of fun alternatives to using our words, here are a few:
- SHARE YOUR FAITH
- EXPRESS GRATITUDE
- TELL THE TRUTH
- ADMIT A MISTAKE
- ASK FOR HELP
- OFFER TO ASSIST
- GIVE A SINCERE COMPLIMENT
- SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE
- KEEP A SECRET
- SING A SONG
- SPEAK OF GOD’S GOODNESS
Get the idea here?
10. BE OF GOOD CHEER.
There’s enough negativity in the world. There’s enough hatred and discord that confronts us each day. You would be surprised at how much people typically appreciate being around others who have a positive perspective, a warm smile and an engaging conversation.
Here's one more for the road...
Share your gift. Whatever that might be. Everyone has something he or she does well; some people have several things. Give it some thought here.
Find out potentially what your "gift" might be and then find ways to use it to enhance the lives of others.
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
WHAT IS YOUR PASSION?
WHAT DO OTHERS OFTEN TELL YOU DO WELL?
WHAT QUALITY OR SKILL DO YOU THINK SEPARATES YOU FROM THE AVERAGE PERSON?
Whatever it is identify it. Share it. Show it. Make it your mission.
Make the world a better place.
There’s no better time than the present!
Image credits: Pixabay.com