Most people think the best way to change the world is to do something grand or spectacular, like cure cancer or put an end to human trafficking.
Those are needed and noble pursuits, no doubt, but you’re probably not the one to do them.
I seriously doubt that you will ever become president, start a worldwide movement, or make a great scientific discovery.
But you can still change the world if you want to. And you can do it today.
We all have a touch of the Disney Syndrome.
Most of us suffer a bit of the Disney syndrome, the idea that we’re all special. Everybody is destined to be a prince or princess, standing for truth, bringing justice, and finding love at the same time.
We hear stories of Gandhi and Dr. King and other world changers and believe that could be us. We could single-handedly rid the world of weapons of mass destruction. We could be the ones to put bullies like Putin in his place, or at least the school superintendent.
If we would just be passionate enough, loud enough, mean enough, we could rid the world of loudness and meanness.
In the first place, shouting louder is the worst way to improve the temperature of a room. And most of us don’t have the moxie to be great leaders.
An incredibly small percentage of individuals have the passion, determination, and hubris to accomplish something truly remarkable. The successful ones are called leaders; the rest are just narcissists.
Most of us have a different gift, and it’s far more powerful.
We have enough special people.
Honestly, we don’t need any more people who think they’re special and everyone should bend to their will. We need more people who believe others have innate worth and should be treated accordingly.
In other words, we need more citizens, not more chiefs. We need more people who tell the truth work hard, and treat their neighbors with respect, not more people who want to be in charge.
Dreamers will dream without any prompting. Leaders will lead. Innovators will jump out of the box all on their own. But nobody will overcome their internal drive to put self ahead of others without an example and guide.
By acting with kindness and respect toward every person you meet, you will do more to change the world before noon than most presidents, astronauts, and Disney princesses do in a lifetime.
Small acts, over time, have great power.
Start by doing the simple things that create a culture of kindness.
- Refrain from taking offense at small insults, and even great ones.
Speak pleasantly to people who can do nothing for you, including children.
Smile at everyone you meet.
Take greater delight in doing something for others than for yourself.
Work hard without complaining.
Trust people until they prove you wrong, then forgive them.
Don’t allow anyone to feel embarrassed or shamed in your presence.
Share your food.
Avoid complaining, even when circumstances are unpleasant.
Allow others to go ahead of yourself, especially while driving.
Treat older people with respect.
Discipline your children.
Overlook little problems, solve big ones, but don’t whine about either.
It isn’t the big things that make the world more livable. It’s the little ones, and you can do them today. The ripple from your actions will change your home and community, even the world.