As much as we might like to join the Peace Corps or give up a job that pays the bills to volunteer full-time, for most of us this just isn’t realistic. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make a difference. In a world as connected as ours is today, every little thing we do affects the lives of many, and so when we change ourselves, we really do change the world.
Educate yourself. Awareness is always the first step; we can’t solve a problem that we don’t know exists. You don’t have to go back to school to get an education; find a subject and hit the Internet, the library, the bookstore, and lectures. Then share what you have learned with friends and family. Even better—start a group and learn together! Get to know people from other cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. We have opportunities every day to gain understanding and compassion. Take the time to ask questions and really listen. With understanding comes tolerance and a more peaceful world.
Be a role model. Live your life as an example for your children and for those who know you. We all have a sphere of influence, whether we realize it or not—it reaches even beyond our family and friends to the people we meet or share a traffic situation with during the course of our day or the people who read our posts on Facebook. We touch other people’s lives all day long without even realizing it.
Don’t wait for the “perfect time” to do something. There will never be any time more perfect than the present moment. In fact, it is all we have. The past is gone and the future is only a result of what we do with this moment right here and now.
Know your gifts and then share them. We all have talents that we can use to be helpful. Make a list of what your gifts are and give them away generously. There are so many individual organizations that need your help.
We all have a story of survival to tell—share yours. You never know who needs to hear it at that very moment or whose life you may change.
Believe. Believe. Believe. There is more power in what you believe than in what you dream about or hope for. Anything is possible if you believe. This is just as true for us as individuals and it is as a country.
Lots of small changes ultimately equal big solutions. By taking action, we can immediately go from feeling helpless and frustrated to feeling hopeful and empowered.