Make a difference. But how and why? If you could ask a lot of people what they wanted to do with their lives many of them would say that they wanted to help others, be remembered for something or just make a difference. It seems to me that making a difference ( a positive one, of course) is a very valuable thing to do and it would make you feel happy and great about yourself. Who doesn’t want that? John F. Kennedy believed that we can ALL make a difference and we CAN.
I have read hundreds of books and what I have learned is that there are lots of ways to make a difference in this world. We can probably think of people that can make a difference easily. Most will think of doctors, firemen, police etc. But what about the people like inventors, teachers, parents or even volunteer workers? The first group may save lives but I read that over their lives the average number of lives saved is around 2. This is because there are so many doctors out there and lots of medicines and treatments that already work. Now think about inventors like Edison who brought electricity to our houses, or the work of people like Marconi who brought us wireless communication. These people have influenced millions of people’s lives. These are people you don’t see everyday, they may have even been ridiculed by you for being strange or geeks or told they were mad for their ideas. I’m very glad that they decided to not give up and act.
I will go into this in more detail later. The key is that everyone can make a difference. Small things can make a massive difference too. Just being there at the right moment, a single conversation even a smile may change the world.
How can YOU make a difference?
Where do you even start? Well if you want to make a difference you start be looking at what you CAN do. What CAN you offer to make a difference. It all comes down to 3 things;
These are things you can use to benefit others. You don’t need all of these things, just one would be enough.
Time – you could help by volunteering, find a charity or charity events that appeal to your values and got involved. You may even choose to help directly at the locations that the charities work for. You could sit with people for a few minutes (or more) in hospitals and care homes or even help them live normal lives, you could help disabled in the same way. There are those who travel to other countries and spend years in these pursuits. A good way to decide where to help is to look at the second item on the list.
Talent – some talents easily give ways to benefit others, eg teaching skills, building, medical, survival skills all give direct results. Being athletic, good with marketing, sales, organisational skills even administrative skills lead to ways to help with charities and charity events. What can you do if you think you don’t have any valuable skills? Scientists may want to invent something that will benefit others by solving a problem in the world today, maybe new medicines or solutions to help with food, water, transport or energy. Gardeners could sell plants, ushers could help guide people at places with lots of people or cars, with a bit of imagination you could find a way that all roles in life could benefit others.
Money – this is sometimes the first way we think we can help, donating to charities. We also think that if we can’t donate much we won’t make much difference. We’ve nearly all been approached by people on the street telling us that to make a difference we NEED to sign a direct debit to pay money to their charity every month or nothing. If this was true then we would probably not bother at all, but just think about how many people are talking to these people and how many are walking past. All those people may give their odd change to the charity boxes on shop tills, thousands of people donate their small change. There are actually 43.5 million people in the UK alone. If all of these gave £1 that would be £43,500,000 per year (now tell me that doesn’t make a difference!) A massive way to make life changing differences is to give a proportion of your wages to charity. I know, this sounds like the direct debit deal again but I know that some people’s wages can change from week to week and from month to month so they just can’t commit to a set amount each month. There are schemes out there that take a percentage of your wages ( say 10%) each month and donate it to families in different countries. The government would have us believe that the average wage in the UK is around £27,000 per month however if you remove the top 15% this falls to about £16,000. In the UK the minimum wage is £13124 per year (based on 160 hours work per month) and it is believed that we can live off this, in the poorest countries the wage is as little as £21.96 ( I think this is in Uganda). just think how many people you could help with your 10% (£1312). I’ll tell you. You could provide full wages for nearly 60 people, you could help villages dig wells or plant crops, or pay for medical care or schools. You may make a huge difference to many people’s lives, you may even save some in the process.
All you have to do is ACT because Action Changes Things.
Here is a list of small acts you can do every day to make a difference
- Take time to talk to each other.
- make friends
- look for ways to help and actually help – don’t leave it to others
- play with your children
- be there when people need you
- understand that everyone we meet is on their own journey and if they are rude or unfeeling or angry they may have good reason( it could be their worst day ever), you just don’t know.
- tell those you love that you love them.
- find a cause that ignites your passion and sense of values and make a plan to make a difference. Help with events and don’t forget that you can plan them too.
- use what you have and have a great time doing it.