I’ve always wanted to change the world. And have always believed that I could, and would, so when Anita told me that I couldn’t, I wanted to argue and fight back and the stubborn streak in me was shouting “just watch and see!” But then I gave it some real thought and I realised that she is right.
As sad as it is to admit, we can’t change the world.
Off the top of my head I can actually only think of one person (in modern history), that changed the world, and it wasn’t for the better. You may argue, but Adolf Hitler is the one person who changed the world. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa and all the other countless philanthropists and humanitarians have made the world a better place in their own way, but they did not change the world. If their acts of kindness and courage were able to change the world, we would not still have injustice, poverty, inequality and greed. But sadly these things still exist and I will continue to stand against them, but in a slightly different way.
Yes, I will continue to try make big differences, but when I can’t, instead of working endlessly to change the world, I will work to make someone’s life better – even if it is just one person, and even if it is for just one day and I will do it by paying it forward and with random acts of kindness.
Here’s how (without having to spend a lot of money), and if you can, I encourage you to do the same:
If someone is wearing a name badge, call them by their name – that acknowledgement means more than you know
If you go to the same shops often, ask the car guard you see every time what their name is, and call them by it when you go there again, and if you can maybe buy them a loaf of bread instead of a tip
When you’re buying groceries (and you can afford to, of course), buy a few non-perishable items for someone and keep them in your car and hand them out when your heart tells you to
If it’s hot outside, buy the car guard a cold drink instead of giving a tip (the thought is so greatly appreciated!)
If someone behind you in the queue is buying something small (a loaf of bread, some milk), offer to pay for it for them
Support your friends and family members’ business ventures (your support will mean more than the money you pay for their good/service)
If you have children - ask their school if they know of any families struggling financially and offer to pay (anonymously) for the little things like civvies day or an outing (which children sometimes can’t attend because their parents can’t afford it)
If you’ve got any leftover food or old clothes/shoes the day before your rubbish is collected, leave it out for the people who sort and recycle our waste for a meagre living – they are doing tireless, humiliating, thankless and honest work to earn a living.
Giving is not something you do to get something back, but you will be surprised how the universe often rewards acts of giving. The universe IS energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed (the first law of thermodynamics) giving is therefore, simply, an energy exchange – what you give, you also get.
There are many other small acts of kindness we can do every day, which do not cost a cent, but will make someone’s day better and may just be the encouragement they need to keep going when things are tough. We never know what battles people fighting, so just remember to be kind. Kindness and love matter.
I leave you with the wise words of Lily Tomlin: “I said "Somebody should do something about that." Then I realized I am somebody.”