Once upon a time, you woke up and decided to become the hero of your own tale. You decided that what you have to say matters. You decided what you had to give could make a difference. And you decided that you could make this world better. There would be a happy ending.
That hero is in all of us.
Sometimes, you may forget how much you have to offer. Even the smallest good deed has a ripple effect. When you give, you develop a better perspective, peace of mind, and appreciation for life. You stop focusing on all your problems when you go out and help others. You take on tasks that others may not feel like doing. You show kindness in places that need it. You don’t overlook anyone or anything around you. There is always something you can do to help.
The key is to start where you are. And once you start helping others, you’ll want to do it again and again. There’s a study in 2012 where researchers found that upon reflecting ways one had helped another, it motivated them to want to help more people.((GoodNet: 7 Scientific Facts About the Benefit of Doing Good)) So, helping others is a little addicting. Enjoy it.
The good news is that it’s good for your health and reduces stress increasing life-expectancy, making you feel good and happier each day. If you’re a better you, there’s no telling what the world will benefit from you. And sometimes, that good comes right back to you.
Volunteering is not just a way to help others and make a difference—it serves your soul. You just feel better when you do good for others. You have a chance to uplift your community and walk into a situation shedding light on solutions. You give hope, and when that happens, you also feel better about yourself. The world can be a little better because you walked through it.
Find a cause. Find an organization. Find an interest. Take it upon yourself to seek out opportunities to make a difference. You can both volunteer and advocate for issues touched upon by an opportunity. You can become invested. The tools are right on your fingertips—a quick search online will lead you to many things. Doing good was never this easy!
Here are just a “few” places you can search for volunteer opportunities:
- American Red Cross – Volunteer
- American Red Cross – Give blood
- The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) or Americorps
- Habitat For Humanity
- Volunteers of America
- Ready – compiled list of disaster relief opportunities
- Do Something
- UN Volunteers
- Crisis Text Line (become a crisis counselor)
- Peace Corps
- Become a Poll Worker
- USDA – Earth Team Volunteer
- Human Rights Campaign
- Boys & Girls Club
- Humane Society
- The Gentle Barn
For a continued search of volunteer opportunities, try searching on Idealist.
There are many other sites to search for opportunities as well. Check out your local organizations and find some that need you.
You could also start your organization, drive, or event. There are always people looking for involvement, so you can find help. Shop around a little, get some ideas that will motivate you. This is your time!
2. Find Your Calling
Your calling is what captivates you. Whether it’s through helping others or achieving something, your goals give you a better life. And your life touches the world making it better, too.
There’s nothing that you can’t do and achieve. But many people get stuck somewhere in life. Along the way, wrong values, priorities, or even people can disrupt your life’s calling. It’s easy to get distracted and lose your way.
Your calling is made up of living your principals and taking action on your plans. It’s something everyone has, but not everyone rises to the occasion. You may have a goal in mind that you set to achieve.
So, how do you find your calling? Well, what’s something that you can’t live without doing? It’s like eating, breathing air—just natural. It’s what you most want, even if others tell you not to go for it.
When you find your calling, you start contributing. And that contribution affects everything. A fire that started in you can fan flames in those around you. You get others inspired. You wake up each morning ready to go, and you know you can do it because, after all, you’re the hero of your tale.
A calling can be a job, a kindness, a status, an achievement, an investment, a gift, an action, a perspective—anything that gives you satisfaction.
You then find that you’re not alone. You step out of your comfort zone, out of your little bubble to help others. You find out that you do matter. What you do for the world matters, even if it’s little. It all matters.
Don’t feel defeated because you didn’t invent the next great thing or don’t have absolute celebrity status or influence. If you did a kind deed today as part of your calling, you are moving mountains. And that shifts the world.
Your best self is when you let go of the self—you are selfless.
According to Psychology Today, selflessness takes sacrifice.((Psychology Today: Altruism)) There may be a cost for being kind, but altruism is what changes the world. Altruism is an attitude. It an assertion of value and goals to make the world and the people around you better. It’s assisting others when they most need it.
It’s fulfilling in and of itself because you are not looking for a reward. The reward is knowing that how you treat people will leave a smile on their faces and make a difference. But sometimes, you do not get to see the benefits of what you start.
“A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit.” —Greek Proverb
You may not know where to start. Just start by planting a seed. A seed of kindness that can grow over time, whether you are there to see it or not. A giant tree will come of it—a great experience, a great connection, a great solution.
A small seed of kindness becomes a tree that offers everyone shade. You may not get the shade in your lifetime, but you will be happy knowing you were the planter. That’s the beauty of altruism.
You don’t need to wait to start being altruistic. You just have to be kind. Kindness, love, compassion, support, understanding—these are the tools that an altruistic person uses, and they all come from within.
You don’t need formal training to become altruistic. You just have to put someone or something greater than yourself before your interests. You have to move towards things that light up the world when there is so much dark.
The next time you pass that stranger, say hello. When you ask someone how they’re doing, add ”How are you, REALLY?” When you stand in line and pay for someone’s groceries or just a coffee, say “Just pay it forward” with a wink.
When you choose to be kind to one person, you turn their day around, and they WILL pay it forward. That’s how powerful altruism is—it gets everyone wanting to spread the good feeling that you gave them. Kindness is contagious—in a good way!
4. Share Your Story
Your part to play in this world isn’t insignificant. You take up space—you are allowed to have a say. Your story may be the only thing that helps someone else through similar struggles. Your pain may be someone’s point of reference for how to survive. Your passions may be the only thing that saves a life.
Yes, save a life. Sharing your story may save a life. That’s because, at the end of the day, people need hope. Hope is the reason behind great acts of kindness and good in this world. Hope can be given through the hardships you have faced.
What have you gone through that impacted you in any way? What lessons did you learn? How did you get through it? What was healing like? What have you accomplished since then?
Look to your story; you have everything you need to change the world. Your story itself will make the world a better place. You can share it however you want—a blog, an article, a video, an interview, a book, a speech, or just something you share between you and another person.
However you want to do it is up to you. It will take vulnerability and courage, but it is worthwhile because on the other side, you’ll find people who can relate and you need to know your reasons for holding on. Your resilience can be a motivator. In that way, you become a mentor.
Lives will change just because they look up to you. That’s an incredible power! And it’s yours to use anytime. Just open up—don’t worry about being perfect. Welcome flaws. Welcome failures. They are all tools for learning and growing.
If you want to make a difference, start by seeing the value in your own story. Start by using what you’ve been through to change the world. When you do, you’ll find others following your footsteps. You may be the leader.
What’s more motivating in using our negative experiences for a positive impact? If you can’t change the past, use it. Don’t ruminate on it. Don’t live in it. Just let it be part of how you help others. This will help you heal.
As you teach others the lessons of your life, you reteach yourself. This is how to save yourself and others and serve as a reminder that we are all in this together. So, what’s holding you back?
In a way, just by BEING you, you are already doing good. As Wayne Dyer says, “you’re a human being, not a human doing.”
Just having been here, that is felt by someone. That is held onto by someone. You are making some sort of impact with your choices, your character.
Why not focus that energy into a cause you love, finding a calling, being altruistic, or sharing your story? You CAN make a difference. The world is waiting for you to shine. Let go and live through love.
More on How You Can Make a Difference
- 10 Things That Even You Can Do to Change the World
- The Simplest Ways To Inspire People And Change Their Life
- Love Can Change The World: 6 Ways To Make An Impact In Your Community