Changing the World Starts with You

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of people to change the world. In fact, it is the only way it ever has.” -Margaret Mead

Change is inevitable.  It is the only thing consistent in the world truly.  Comfort in life surrounds our ability to adapt to change.  Our jobs, friendships and opportunities look different year after year.   In high school we thought we had found our tribe. Our friends were life. We often prefer them to our family during these formative years.  Yet, look how many we know as intimately today. Very few have stayed in our circle.  We evolved and changed.  It was the nonviolent, civil rights leader Gandhi who stated “be the change you wish to see in the world.” What if we all made conscious choices in our lives with his words at the forefront of our actions? The change we desire is our own reflection.

Tragedy does not discriminate.   We are all vulnerable to heartache.  Illness, death, and untimely accidents are in every walk of life.  We can grow from change or remain stagnant.  The choice is always our own.

Leading actor Keanu Reeves grew up with an absentee father.  He struggled his entire childhood with the learning disability dyslexia. He met failure often in new schools. Keanu lost his best friend, fellow actor River Phoenix, when he was still very young. Soon after, his younger sister began a decade long fight with leukemia in the early 90’s.  It would appear the world was against him and he was set up to fail.  Yet, Keanu’s name is easily recognized in every corner of the world.   He embodies Gandhi’s words beautifully.   Keanu has said he’s made more than enough money to live comfortable for decades.  Keanu is a true humanitarian who helps change the lives around him.  He goes out of his way to learn the names on movie sets he acts.  On the set of his popular film, “The Matrix”, Keanu heard of a set designer who was struggling.  He paid them $20,000 dollars to help at Christmas.  He saw an immediate need and he acted on it.  He was the change this family needed.  Just imagine the difference his generosity made to this man and his family.

Additionally, Keanu often takes the subway.  One would assume a rich and wealthy public figure would have a private car service.  He has been photographed giving up his seat on the subway when crowds did not provide enough seats.  Pregnant and elderly women benefited from his act of kindness. He made a decision to be the change.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”  – Barack Obama.  We all possess the ability to make a difference and be the change.   Be the change the world needs.  The world will adapt around you. Changing the world truly begins with you!

Author: K.A. Potts

Your Smile Can Change the World

I want to change the world. Many people say that same phrase but usually it means something grandiose, like becoming president of the United States. But for me, I don’t have anything that big in mind. Partly because I’m realistic. I know that I will most likely never be the president of the US. I am also fully aware that I have no desire to be president of the United States, therefore, I wouldn’t even try. I want to change the world, but I think there’s an easier way than devoting years of my life to politicizing.

In fact, changing the world may be as easy as one small movement with my face muscles.  Just doing this one small thing can potentially make a difference in the world, not just for me but also for those around me. Some might say that this one small thing can affect change more than all the money in all the foundations in all the world. That’s a whole lot of power.

The one small movement that holds all this power? A smile. It seems grandiose to say that a smile can change the world. But I fully believe in the power of positivity; I’m positive that positivity can change the world and I’m positive that a smile can spread positivity. Just imagine how you feel when you smile. That happy, joyous feeling that floats inside you, bubbling to the top of your body and bursting out your face like the sun breaking through the horizon. Sometimes when I’m feeling pessimistic I almost don’t want to smile because I know that it can change my attitude almost instantly and sometimes I just want to be grumpy. But a smile has that kind of power. There’s a reason people say that a smile can light up your face.

Hello Happiness, Goodbye Sadness - AgoodcauseAccording to a 2009 study done at Wayne State University, a smile in a photograph can predict longevity and an overall better life. It states, “Emotions affect personalities and life outcomes by influencing how people think, behave, and interact with others…” Our emotions affect how we behave and interact with the world around us. The study goes on, “People with positive emotions are happier and have more stable personalities, more stable marriages, and better cognitive and interpersonal skills than those with negative emotions, throughout the lifespan…” So, positivity can change the world because it makes for a better home and life. Smiling is truly a worthy cause.

Sadness is an important emotion too, don’t get me wrong. Pixar’s “Inside Out” taught us that very important lesson–sadness needs to be felt and expressed because if we ignore it, it will cause a chain reaction and tear down all our islands of personalities. But when it comes to being sad or being happy, most importantly we should choose positivity. Because although we can’t literally change the world with just a smile, we can change our attitudes and interactions with others just by smiling.

So, let’s all smile a little more, we just might change the world.

Study: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797610363775

Author: Briana Pugh

Why Give Service

 

It’s seven A.M. and I have already retrieved my son from the neighbor’s yard. They woke up to find him staring in their back window with a toy sword shoved down the back of his shirt in the hopes that one of their kids would come out and play.

Just as I get the four-year-old back to the house I see my two-year-old’s tongue pressed against the glass of the sliding back door.

“Buddy don’t lick the window,” I say, mentally adding another strange instruction to my list of things I never thought I’d say.

Then, I notice the smell of chili powder and… curry? It’s coming from the kitchen. With the two-year-old safely removed from the horrors of my sliding glass door, which ironically actually looks cleaner than it did before, I hurry to find our six-year-old with every spice imaginable pulled from the cupboard and red puffs rising from the bowl she grips in the crook of her little arm, “Look Mommy! I decided to make taco seasoning for Poppy! Do you think he’ll like it?”

Before I can answer, she’s licked her finger, thrust it into the mixture and declared, “It needs more salt. Will you taste it?”

A strangled sound comes from my mouth, and based on my daughter’s face, I can tell she’s not sure whether I’m going to laugh or cry. I’m not sure either.

Welcome to my life. If I could sum it up in one word, that would probably be, “Messy”.

agoodcause - volunteer

I know I’m not the only one, just as you think you’re about to have time to do more, to volunteer, to spend time getting to know the community, life changes, things come up, it gets hard. I was once asked by someone about a service my church offers, he said, “I always hear people say they love doing it, but they can’t seem to find the time. If it’s really that great, why is it so hard to get out and do it?”

It’s tempting to say because I’m too busy chasing my son out of the neighbor’s yard to leave the house, let alone do service. Or, if I have some extra cash, I’m getting a babysitter!

And I doubt anyone would judge me if I did say that, but the truth is that the very reasons we have trouble leaving the house to volunteer or donate are the very reasons why we need to.

I’m reminded of a time a neighbor was sick and in need of some meals. At the time, we only had one vehicle and one child. I made dinner, packed my daughter into the stroller, and headed out to do some service. Five years later, I don’t remember the crazy details of that day, but I do remember how I felt when I left home for a moment and thought about someone else’s needs instead of my own. I remember thinking how much easier it was than I had expected, and I remember the joy on my neighbor’s face as she played with my daughter. The entire experience wasn’t an interruption to my day, it was a break.

I’m not advocating putting so much pressure on ourselves that we break from the burden of it all, but I’ve learned from experience that when we give where we can, our own trials seem lighter, and we can step back just enough to push the strangled laugh-cry into genuine mirth. Life isn’t going to get any less crazy, but by giving of ourselves the crazy is put into perspective, and it turns out, a little crazy can be a lot of fun.

Author:  Amber Mae

 

6 Small Things to do to Make a Difference

When we think of charity work and providing service to those around us, we may feel overwhelmed as we imagine labor-intensive and time-consuming projects such as rebuilding homes after natural disasters and cleaning up a run-down park in an older area of town. However, providing relief and help to others in our community doesn’t have to be anything difficult or extravagant. Think back to when you were facing something difficult in your life and remember what small things others did for you that really helped you. Maybe you received a thank-you note or were given a plate of cookies. Often small acts of kindness are all that is needed to be able to make a difference in someone else’s day. Here are six small and simple ways that you can help someone in need.

Donate

If you’re looking for something to do for others this week, make it a goal to donate to someone else in need; even if all you can give is $5. You can tip your waiter more than usual, give it to a homeless person, find a charity or good cause online, or tape a five-dollar bill to the vending machine on campus or at work. Even though $5 isn’t a lot of money, it can still help someone in need and brighten their day.

Initiate a Conversation

Whether you are on the bus or waiting in line at the grocery store, try starting a conversation with someone around you. You can begin by complimenting their outfit and then asking them how their day went. Make eye contact and pay attention to what they say. Having a quick but uplifting conversation can help raise that individual’s spirits for the rest of their day.

aGoodCause - Helping someone to enter the room

Hold the Door Open

It’s always nice when someone is willing to take a few extra seconds to hold the door open when you are entering a building or room. This small act doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, but your awareness of those around you can help them to feel noticed and valued.

Bring in the Trash Cans

On trash day, once the garbage man has done his rounds, bring your neighbor’s trash cans in from the curb and up their driveway. It won’t take you long, but your neighbor will appreciate the nice gesture.

Buy a Little Extra

Each time you’re at the grocery store this month, pick up a few extra canned goods. These don’t have to be expensive and you can even purchase ones that are on sale. After one month of buying a little bit extra food each visit to the grocery store, take these items down to the local shelter or to a neighbor in need. Even though you are donating just a little bit, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness and generosity.

Start a Fundraising Campaign

When someone you know is experiencing something difficult, it can be hard to know what exactly to do for them. However, starting a fundraising campaign can be a simple, but very helpful service to provide. Not only will the funds you raise provide some relief for them, in their time of need, but seeing the donations from their community members can help them to feel the love and support of others.

Even if you feel that you have limited resources or not enough time to volunteer, there are still plenty of ways you can help others in your community. Try doing one of these small acts and you’ll be surprised at the difference you can have on the lives of those around you.

 

Author:  Brindisi Olsen Bravo