This essay is written in collaboration with Lucy Kaplan.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve got a roof over your head, you’re educated, and have enough food to eat every night. This essay is a gentle reminder to appreciate all that you have.
So if we’re all taking advantage of the efforts of others helping us, shouldn’t we be doing something to make sure we’re helping others right back?
So… what can you do?
Below, we take a look at a number of ways you can give back to a world that has given you so much.
You don’t have to look very far for people who need help. While it’s completely fine if you want to look across the oceans and help the people in countries that are less developed, sometimes people are more likely to stick to their helping routine if it’s more local.
If someone you know needs something (be it a tool, or a ride, or a babysitter) why not help out?
Unfortunately, we’re often used to thinking about what we can get in return.
But it’s far more rewarding to help out someone just because you’re able to – and it’s the right thing to do!
small acts of kindness will always be appreciated. It helps if you have a volunteering schedule – a built-in routine – where people depend on you to be somewhere on a given dayDoing .
After all, when you know people depend on you to show up as a volunteer, then even if you’re in a lazy or bad mood that day, you’ll still show up for the good deed.
If you don’t know where to volunteer, think of a cause that’s close to your heart. Call up related organizations. See what they need – then bring your energy and enthusiasm – and your presence will be greatly appreciated.
It can be kind of shocking to discover just how little people know about some of the issues that affect the world. They’re just out there living their life, not realizing that there are people suffering and so on. This is where you can come in.
In the process you’ll be raising awareness and money for that charity. Sometimes the best thing you can do for the world is to simply put a spotlight on the issues that need be discussed. Plus, charity days aren’t only effective – they can also be bags of fun.
You might have all the intent in the world to make the world a better place, but lack the time or resources to do so. But fear not, because it’s typically the way that the biggest impact we have on the world depends not on what we do, but what we don’t do.
Are there any aspects of it that make the world a worse place? For example, if you’re a business owner who gets products from their company from Chinese factories that have poor human rights records, then the answer would be yes.
You don’t necessarily need to change the world for the better.
Just make sure you’re not actively pushing it in the wrong direction.
Apart from a lucky few, everyone needs to work. But the sad truth is that there are many people out there who don’t only believe that the job has no positive impact on the planet; but that the world might be even worse because of the work they do. Think about that!
Fortunately, while there are plenty of jobs that might have a net-negative impact on the world, there are plenty that improve the world, including scientific research, medical work, and jobs in the charity sector.
If you want to make the world a better place – and also have a job that’s future-proof – then take a look at nurse practitioner programs online. There’s a reason why nursing and other healthcare jobs typically get high satisfaction scores from the people who work in the industry; there’s no denying that you’re helping others, and there’s a lot of pride that comes with that knowledge.
If not healthcare, then how about teaching? It’s a cliche to say that the kids are the future, but it’s true, they really are! By becoming a teacher, you’ll be able to shape their minds and make sure they go on to become fine citizens. If you don’t want to work in a school, then fear not, you can still teach – as a hobby.
You might have been well educated, but that’s not true for everyone.
There are plenty of people who need a little bit of help becoming the best version of themselves.
Be the person who gives them that help.
It’s just a fact of life that we don’t always have the time to give as much as we’d like to give.
We’re all busier than ever before, and especially so if we work in a professional job, which has seen an increase in working hours over the past few decades.
If you’ve got a well-paid job, then look at donating a portion of your salary to worthy causes. You can check out the Give Well site if you want to find out the most effective ways to give.
Do you have drawers that are just overflowing with goods?
The average American home has something like $3000 worth of unused goods just sitting there.
It’s not like you’re going to miss them. But it will make a big difference to the charity you donate them to.
There’s the idea that the small acts of kindness are the ones that make the biggest difference. If we all did a few small random acts of kindness, the world would be a much better place!
It’s simple. The next time you buy a coffee, pay extra so that the next person can get theirs without having to pay. It’ll cost you a small amount of money, but the person you’ve bought it for will be so touched that they’ll perform a kind act of their own. Just imagine how far that small act of kindness could spread!
Ultimately, no-one has all the answers when it comes to making the world a better place.
A good starting point, however, is to do whatever you can to contribute to goodness.
You’ll soon realize that doing good is satisfying and effective!
This essay is written in collaboration with Lucy Kaplan.
Need some extra inspiration and support?
Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.
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