Anyone can make a difference in the world. You can have an enormous impact in the lives of the closest to you or even those miles away. While some might think that you need to go big in order to make a difference, the enlightening reality is that even small gestures can really change someone’s life drastically. In this article, we’re going to share how to make a difference in the world in simple yet powerful ways. So, let’s work together to make the world a better place for everyone involved.
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25 Ways to Make A Difference In the World in 2023
So many people care so much about helping other people. That’s amazing! But there is a slight problem. Sometimes, we want to change the world before we’ve changed ourselves. If we’re not mentally at our best, we won’t share the best version of ourselves with the world. The result? We might unintentionally cause more harm than good without ever realizing the catastrophic impact. Guided meditation helps you calm your mind, find inner peace, and make you mindful of your behavior in all interactions. The most important first step of having an impact is making sure you’re in the right mindset. So, if you’re volunteering for a cause but a jerk to someone who hurt you, you’re not performing at your best. A meditation practice will help you kill your ego, your hatefulness, and undo the pain of past traumas. You’ll become better at seeing the hurt in someone’s eyes when someone is rude to you allowing you to be compassionate with those who need it most.
2. Start providing scholarships
You can change a child’s life by paying for scholarships or bursaries for their education. Not everyone can afford an education, but an education is valuable and can change lives. You don’t need a lot of money to help out with this. Offering one $250 scholarship or bursary can help someone pay for textbooks to lighten their financial burden. This donation for someone’s education can ripple out in multiple ways depending on the field they pursue. You never know how your donation will help someone out and ripple out to help others.
3. Praise others in daily interactions
Have you ever worked in a toxic environment? You’re surrounded by bullies and people who’d rather be anywhere else. So many people in the world suffer from work stress. If you’re set on making a difference, starting with your workplace is a great way to have a positive impact on others. In meetings, you can support other people’s ideas by being vocal about good ideas from anyone (even people you aren’t necessarily close to). When a coworker does something positive, let their boss know the incredible work you see them doing. Focus on being a source of positivity for people by calling out the best in people. You can do this outside of work too. When your kids come home from school showing off a cool project they’re proud of, instead of rushing to give them feedback to improve, let them know how wonderful it is. People often give negative feedback to improve instead of high fiving people. So to make a difference be the person who’s lavish with praise instead of looking to improve an idea. The world has enough advice givers and too few high-praisers.
4. Champion a mission
If you want to make a difference, champion a mission you’re proud to stand behind. How can you make life meaningful for others, help people on their journey, or gift something that’ll spark the growth someone needs. For instance, if you’re a mental health counsellor, recommending brain scans for your patients might help them realize their personality is fine but they have a biological issue with their brain. Being angry all the time isn’t a personality trait, it’s usually an issue with temporal lobes. Repeating the same story ad nauseam, is typically a sign of OCD or being stuck in a thought loop. There are these little missions you can champion to help people actually solve their problems instead of beating themselves up all the time. Think outside of the box on what your mission could be, because you have have an impact in more than 100 ways.
5. Speak positively about yourself and others
When people aren’t doing well, they tend to speak negatively about themselves and others around them. When people are happy, they tend to speak poorly less often. So when you’re speaking in your mind or to others, mindfully speak positively. Rather than allowing someone (including yourself) to put themselves down, immediately say the reverse to them. If someone says “I’m messing up with everything I’m doing,” you can say “You’re doing the best you can with the information you’ve got and sometimes things are a bit more complicated than we initially thought.” In every interaction you have with yourself or another, use positive language to help people going through hard times heal. But still, you’ll want to be considerate of the needs of someone struggling. Often, there’s a practice of mirroring that helps people struggling feel heard. So, while you’ll want to incorporate some mirroring practices, you’ll also want to flip their perspective a bit so that they can learn to rewire their brains.
6. Spread kindness
Most people think about kindness occasionally. I challenge you to practice kindness daily. Every day, look for opportunities to be kind to someone else. If you pass a homeless person on your way to your morning coffee, buy them a cup too with a simple breakfast. If you notice your kids keep pestering you for attention, put your phone down and give it to them. If you notice someone crying on a bus on your morning commute, hand them a tissue. If you’re on the lookout for acts of kindness you can do, you’ll be more likely to find many throughout your day each day. Even something as simple as logging into Facebook each day to wish every person a happy birthday can go a long way to make people feel special.
7. Volunteer at your local charity
If your goal is to make a difference in the world, consider volunteering. There are many local and international organisations in your community that can help people on scale. If you have a special skill, such as social work, marketing, fundraising, or even just free time on your hands, you can help a considerable number of people. You can help your local charity by working on promoting their cause, reaching out to businesses for donations, or running fundraising events, you can help the charity make enough money to help people in need. You don’t need to invest all your spare time, there are many charities that only require 2-5 hours per week of help, which you can fit into your week.
8. Spread awareness and then some
There are so many things people don’t know about that they should care about. For instance, instead of spreading awareness about cancer, spread awareness about cancer prevention and which medical examinations people should do to check for cancer. You might create events around healthy eating or lifestyles. For instance, maybe you host a walkathon to raise funds for cancer research where you encourage this healthy lifestyle for others. Raising awareness isn’t enough, you should also be helping people to adopt the habits that’ll help eliminate the problem in the first place.
9. Donate to an important cause
Did you know malaria is a treatable illness that kills hundreds of thousands of Africans each year? Yet, most people never hear about these types of charities because they spend most of each dollar raised on helping people and practically none on marketing. Many people donate to causes that do research but never actually solve the problem because they have good marketing appeal. So, instead of donating to the most hyped up charities, do your due diligence to see which charities you’ve never heard about before that actually donate most of their money to helping people directly. If the charity has millions of followers on social media, it’s unlikely that their charity rating is high since much of the money they raise goes into marketing.
Education is so crucial to making a difference. Investing in your own education to understand other people’s perspectives, to build empathy for others, and to be able to have a positive impact is key. You can also help educate others based on what you learn, so that more people can improve their situation. For instance, if you notice someone has violent tendencies, you might recommend a brain scan of their temporal lobes. Or if someone you know keeps living pay check to pay check, you might help them budget, work on increasing their income, and helping them figure out how to set themselves up for success financially, so they could save for their future and have cash in the bank when they need it.
11. Start a business
Entrepreneurs help solve burning problems with their businesses. If you’ve recently noticed a problem and came up with a solution for it, you can help thousands or even millions of people by introducing it into the world. But that’s not the only way that starting a business helps people. You can also hire people to help eliminate poverty or joblessness in your community. Businesses tend to earn sizable profits that you can donate to charities and causes that help even more people. Businesses also help local economies through paid taxes, supported organizations, employment rates, and by paying people who will spend money on other local businesses.
12. Become an organ and blood donor
You can make a difference for dozens of people by being an organ and blood donor. Blood donations can be done every 56 days or so provided that your blood is healthy (high in iron, etc). And organ donation happens when you die in a hospital. If you die anywhere else typically your organs can’t be donated. So, it’s very difficult to find organ donors, whose organs are in good condition, and who die where they can be salvaged. You can help people get a second chance at life through your donation and that can make all the difference.
With the internet, every single person with a wifi connection can now use their voice in a public forum. If you’re setting out to make a difference, why not use your voice for good? So many people turn to social media to share their outrage with things that aren’t going well. Maybe you can use for voice to make people feel good, loved, valued, appreciated, heard, or supported. If you notice a kind action someone did, share that with the world. Positive news and voices are so rare in society. The more good news you share with others, the more you can help people see what’s right with the world when the media is desperately trying to showcase all the chaos of it all.
14. Improve yourself
If you want to make a difference in the world, there’s only one person you can change: yourself. Making changes to become a better version of yourself will allow you to help more people, achieve life changing things, and make the world a better place. The only person on the planet within your control is yourself. You can only inspire people to take action once you’ve started a new path, but even still you can’t change others. Improving yourself will allow you to look at the world differently, better understand what’s possible, and allow you to step into your power to make a difference that’s positive and effective.
15. Make someone happy every day
Every morning when you wake up, tell yourself “I’m going to make someone happy today.” You can do this a number of ways. You can surprise the person behind you at the drive thru with a paid for meal. You can surprise a friend with a dozen balloons on his or her birthday. You can praise someone publicly on your instant messaging service at work. You can randomly message someone to tell them how much you appreciate them. Or you can send an article that helps solve someone’s burning problem in the best way possible. You can go for a run in your neighborhood in a dinosaur suit to make your neighbors laugh. Sharing a hilarious video to a friend to make them belly laugh can also be a great way to cheer someone up. You can make a difference in someone’s life just by going out of your way to make them smile, laugh, or simply feel appreciated in life. It doesn’t take a lot to be a good friend.
16. Spend time with your family
Most people look outward to help people in the world without helping their immediate circle. But the ripple effect of helping those closest to you can have a powerful impact. For instance, if you spend phoneless time each day to hang out with your family, you can help show your kids what a healthy relationship looks like. If you play board games with your family every Saturday night, you show your family how much you appreciate spending time with them. Making sure your family eats meals together is a healthy way to hang out. Even if you’re all watching the same television show together. Every day when your kids finish school and your husband or wife finishes work, ask them what they did at work that day? Get to know what’s bothering them or what made them really happy. Enjoy the little moments with them. Doomscrolling social media is nowhere near as fulfilling or rewarding as hanging out with the people closest to you. And while family time might not result in a huge legacy, it can still ripple out to so much good in the world.
17. Lift people up
Most people give “constructive” criticism to others. The reason why they do this is because they feel superior to them and so giving feedback “helps” the other person. Most people fall apart if they get too much negative feedback. It doesn’t ever benefit people, it only allows you to vent or get something off your chest. Instead, look for ways to share praise and lift others. Give out those high fives when someone is crushing it. Be generous with praise. Support people on projects they need help on. Be the person who just lifts people up so they succeed and make a difference. You might not always score the big goal, but the assist can help people win.
18. Show appreciation to everyone
Telling everyone you know why you appreciate them and why they matter is an easy way to make a difference. You can speak one kind word and change someone’s life. It doesn’t matter if it’s your students, volunteers, coworkers, friends, or family, spend some time every day letting people know you appreciate them, value them, believe in them, and more. Give people hope that they’re unstoppable and can achieve big things in life. Because it’s true they can. Sometimes all you need to do is believe in someone and they’ll achieve success because of the confidence you instilled in them. The outcomes are out of your control, but you can still plant good seeds in their minds just by appreciating and believing in others.
19. Give people the benefit of the doubt
It’s so easy to cut someone out of our lives. All we need to do is hit block or delete on a social network and they’re gone. But ultimately, most of our problems with others boil down to miscommunication and being in the wrong mindset. On social media, everything gets misinterpreted. No one can see our body language, hear our tone, or even see the tears in our eyes as we pour out our frustrations. And that can result in some messy and unnecessary arguments. Compassion is so important in our world but there’s so little of it. Before you get outraged by a post a friend or random on social media made, consider giving them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they mean well but they suck at communicating. Or maybe their mental health isn’t at peak performance right now. Use your voice to check in on them to see how they’re doing instead of picking fights.
20. Listen deeply
You can make a difference in so many lives just by listening. While hearing the words people communicate is easy, listening is a bit more challenging. Active listening will require that you read between the lines of what someone says. If you’re not naturally good at picking up these subtle cues, it’s okay to directly ask people questions to know for sure. Many people struggle in life. To best support someone, make sure you understand what the actual problem is so you can help them meet their needs. That doesn’t mean solving the problem for them. For example, your husband is burnt out at work, you can help ensure that homelife is stress free. That might mean giving him a few hours to unwind away from you and the kids in the evening as he relaxes after a stressful day. It might also mean that you ensure homelife is extra positive. Maybe you get the kids to write dad a card about how they love them to make him feel special. And while you won’t directly interfere with their problem, you’ll make the person’s life a bit better.
21. Be there for others
To make a difference, sometimes all you need to do is be there. With recent job losses, divorces, first babies, or mental stress, there are millions of people who desperately need a friend. And you might realize that the suffering is in your inner circle. While you might not be able to solve their every problem, sometimes just showing up is enough. If you know someone recently lost their job, you can help send them listings or look over their resume and cover letter for applications. New moms often talk about how isolating being a new parent is so be sure to send cards in their mail, send them messages, or surprise them with diapers every now and then. Taking the time to do some video chats with those closest to you is a good way to keep tabs on people’s life states to ensure you’re offering support to those who need it most. If someone’s mental health is worse than you can handle, bring in a professional while still showing up for daily or weekly chats.
22. Ask people how they’re doing
It doesn’t matter whether they’re students, youth, volunteers, seniors, or your spouse, asking someone how they’re doing and not letting them get away with a “good” or “ok” is crucial for making a difference. Create a safe space for people to be honest when answering how they’re doing. By being the person who can support them because you actually know how they feel you can make a difference in someone’s life. If someone’s going through a hard time, you might send them a daily compliment via text to help give them one good thing to look forward to every day.
23. Take away someone’s stress
Nobody wants stress in their life but so many of us are filled to the brim with high stress levels. If you see someone with stress, be the person to remove obstacles for them. That’ll make a difference in their life! You can remove stress by replacing it with a fun solution, providing positivity, or melting their worries away with a surprise. Being a good listener is also a good way at combating someone’s stress. Often, when people are stressed, they’ll cycle the same thoughts over and over again. This becomes wildly apparent when you realize they keep bringing up the same story repeatedly. In this case, you’ll need to call this out so that they can catch their thoughts better to prevent spiraling. If they need some help with problem solving, be there ready to offer any help they might need.
24. Connect with the elderly
You can make a difference in the lives of the elderly with your words, compassion, and quality time spent with them. Contact a local retirement home for volunteer opportunities for you to interact with the elderly. Often, people placed in retirement homes are left there to die. Their children are unable to care for them and rarely visit them. This can cause them much grief as they’re growing older and left alone, mostly neglected. The nurses are overworked with countless other staff members unable to give people the attention they need. Giving them your word that you’ll show up for them when you say you will matters.
25. Notice when people are in pain
Finally, the last way to make a difference on this list is to become aware when people are in pain– even if they don’t directly state it. The people you’ll need to help to make a difference are those who are struggling. The easiest way to have an impact on others is to be an expert at spotting suffering in others. You’ll need to be well aware of noticing when someone’s thought process isn’t healthy to help shift their perspective to prevent a mental collapse. You’ll also need to be able to call bs on people who pretend they’re doing fine when they’re really not. By recognizing suffering in others, you’ll be able to make a difference by stepping in and being their bright light in darkness.
In 2023, you can make a difference in the world in so many ways. Using some of the ideas in the list, you can have an impact on your family, community, or around the world. But first, it all starts with you. By bringing out the best in yourself first, you can then bring the best in your inner circle and then globally. Make sure you’re treating everyone closest to you with so much love and kindness because that level of positivity can ripple out too. There are millions of people who would love to have your support and kindness in their tough times so be on the lookout for opportunities to help people in need.