image by eflon
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
To make a difference in this world, in other people’s lives does not always require grand heroic gestures. It is possible to make a difference, to positively contribute to this world by simple acts of thoughtfulness and of kindness.
Donate time. Donate money. Donate skill. Donate whatever you are capable of donating, and feel comfortable doing so. Go volunteer; whether far away, or in a local place that needs help. When you give something to those who need it, you receive unexpected rewards in return, not the least of which is the joy and the knowledge of having contributed to doing something good.
Lose the negativity
Most of us do this, whether intentionally or unintentionally. We are negative when speaking about others; we are negative when talking about something that went wrong for us; we are negative about the misfortunes and about the opportunities missed; we are even negative about the weather. The more time you spend being negative, the more life you are wasting. Life is made of moments, and each moment wasted is a moment gone forever. So lose the negativity. Instead, focus on being positive, on thinking positive, and on acting positive.
Accept that No One is Perfect (Including You)
The only people who don’t grow are the ones who don’t want to. You can’t change anyone else, even if you only want to do it for their own good. The only person you have the power to change is you. But you can’t begin a conscious process of positive change within yourself if you don’t even see the need for it. Sure, there may be an accidental growth through circumstances. But unless you accept, at least to yourself, that you do have faults or aspects of personality that need improvement, you can’t and won’t do anything about it. Accept that no one is perfect. No matter how good you are, how successful you are, or how many people love you, you are and will always remain a work-in-progress.
You have the power to brighten someone’s day with a few simple words. You have the power to boost someone’s confidence, and make them feel good about themselves. Make a habit of complimenting people. But do it with sincerity, and honestly. I’m not asking you to be a kiss-ass. Pay attention, and you will find reasons for honest compliments. Did your spouse/mother/housemate make a tasty meal? Does your co-worker look great with her new hair? Is your friend’s punctuality a blessing? Do you know someone who has excellent handwriting? Someone whose taste in books gave you good reading material? Did someone’s household tips solve your household problem? Does someone’s cheerful disposition make you smile? There are numerous opportunities for giving genuine compliments to people around you.
Encourage people where you see potential
Being a mentor doesn’t require an official position, or a long-term commitment. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, including those only influence us with a sentence or two. Encourage people where you see potential. Don’t attempt to boss anyone around, or try to change people’s views to fit your vision. Offer simple, honest encouragement. If you see someone who is great with kids, say so. If you see someone who is great at public speaking, say so. Point out people’s strengths to them, so that they may realise it, and perhaps use them to fulfil their own dreams, or even to form their dreams.