I know the title of this post seems lofty and quixotic, but when you think about it, changing the world and making it a better place doesn’t have to be as grandiose as people may think.

It’s easy to believe we don’t have the influence and to tell ourselves, “I’m just one person.” “Who am I to make a difference?”

I say these are just excuses. We have a chance to influence thousands of people, if not many more, in our lifetime, and it’s our choice whether we exemplify and exude kindness, compassion, and love, or whether we leave our mark with anger, guilt, and disdain.

When it comes to making a greater contribution to society and leaving your mark on the world there are many principles from psychology, philosophy, and religion that can help us find direction in this pursuit.

Here are a few steps to consider.

Meaning and purpose – You are here for a reason. Finding this purpose and having a clear mission for your life will give you the motivation and propensity to give back and contribute in whatever way comes natural to you. This is how you can ultimately leave your legacy and positively affect others beyond your immediate reach.

Creativity – Everything in existence started with creative imagination. We all have creative potential. Learn to tap into this capacity and think outside of the box. Think “why not?” when it comes to creating something that will change your life, the life of those you care about, and even society at large.

Kindness – Doing caring and kind acts for others has positive benefits emotionally and physically for all parties involved. Whether we are simply observing kindness or directly engaging in helping others, it is a valuable source of spreading positive energy. Be the change you want to see.

Altruism/philanthropy – A step further from daily kind acts is engaging in more large scale benevolence. Connect with an entity or organization whose mission you believe in. Not everyone can give large monetary sums to charities, but we can all give of our time, do volunteer work, or start a project that allows us to have a bigger influence.

Love and compassion – The pinnacle of living life well is to fill your interactions and relationships with love and compassion. This is the true unconditional love where we look upon all people and things with respect and value. Living with forgiveness and mercy also falls in this category. Let go of past resentments so you can move forward with a warm spirit.

Optimism and hope – No matter what state the world is in, remaining confident that the future will be better is a major part of becoming a change agent. Looking for opportunity within challenges and finding value amidst the chaos allows us to see what is yet to come. I believe we live in an amazing time with unlimited opportunity and potential, and it’s up to us to look for it.

Take what you will from these tips and start making small changes today in how you influence the world. Remember that we all influence each other, so even the small things can add up to be great over time.

Photo by: Rikie Rizza




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Shake Off the Grind (February 4, 2012)

From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (February 4, 2012)

From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (February 4, 2012)

Mental Health Social (February 4, 2012)

M. Price-Mitchell (February 4, 2012)

Sam Witteveen (February 5, 2012)

Fred Cuellar (February 5, 2012)

Andrea Patten (February 5, 2012)

Linda Samuels CPO-CD (February 5, 2012)

From Psych Central's World of Psychology:
Best of Our Blogs: February 7, 2012 | World of Psychology (February 7, 2012)

    Last reviewed: 4 Feb 2012

APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2012). You Have More Power than You Think: How to Change the World One Small Step at a Time. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 28, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/positive-psychology/2012/02/you-have-more-power-than-you-think-how-to-change-the-world-one-small-step-at-a-time/



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