Where do you start changing your life?

A Single Word Or A Single Action Can Change The world

It starts with you.

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Single Words. They hold little to no substance when they stand alone. Think of a couple words that are commonly used throughout the day:

-Officer

-School

-Car

-House

-Child

Nothing odd about these words, they make you feel protected and safe in most cases. Now let's add only one word to make each of these actions.

-Officer "killed"

-School "shooting"

-Car "accident"

-House "robbery"

-Child "abduction"

Now how fast did your heart freeze while reading those…

The fact is that a single word can make a difference to your impression, your attitude, and your day. So can a single action. See we build our days up to consume ourselves in the negative. Negative news, negative emotions, negative scenery. We as a generation are so used to the media showing blood and gore, informing us about missile crisis and new raids of terrorism. What happened to showing off progressive achievement in youth and adults. The tabloids now are filled with cheating husbands and weight loss kits for women who are starving themselves to fit into a size 2. We anticipate seeing police officers swarming the streets, yet we still speed. We understand the danger in distracted driving, yet that text just can't wait. We see the homeless and hungry sitting in street corners, yet we throw away whatever is left on our plates.

We would like to think we are the exception.

But we are not.

We are the root of the problem which drives majority of the population on this planet. We do nothing to change the world around us, but we will still sit and complain that it needs to be fixed. It shows in our bodies, in our health as it deteriorates, in our work ethic to just be average. We shy away from the hard truth and accept whatever is told to us at face value. No one researches anymore or looks deeper into an issue unless it is assigned for a grade. Popular opinion is driving a millennium and that is a scary and dangerous game. It isn't pollution or stupidity that will kill off this generation. It is arrogance and self-entitlement.

I am no exception by any means.

I wish I were. But everyone is victim to this cycle because it is the easy way out and we as humans glorify attempts on finding the easy way out in difficult situations. Money is not the root to all problems, nor is it the solution. It just depends on the sticky fingers which control it because in this world and this decade it is no longer about what is right. It is about who has the most control.

A friend of mine named Jodie is going through a nasty divorce. When I say nasty, I mean it will make you sick to your stomach to hear what her ex has put her through. She has a spotless record, was always a success story, raised beautiful children, and came up from the ashes one time after another. She didn't always have the most money, but she made sure that her children never went without. There was always warm food, clean clothes, and smiles from ear to ear in their house. One man's greed and wealth led to this woman being stripped of her lifelines - her children - with absolutely no solid reason as to why. Lies have been filling the air as this so-called father-figure ex-husband peels back a sweet innocent woman's life layer by layer. She is up to her neck in charges, court fees and lawyer bills while all they tell her is that she is at a loss, not because of her status as a human being, but because of her income.

We actually live in a world where your children can be stripped from you, lied to, and manipulated to stay away from you… and the judicial system says nothing? Where lying is conceived as interpretation to the prosecutor and a lawyer can demise the worthiness of a mother by one selfish man's statement? This man is abusing this women's freedom and rights just to keep control. Because he knows she will never give up on her children no matter how tight he spins this coil. And he is correct. She is too great of a person to allow her children to fall into this whirlwind spiral of insanity and she will lose everything, including herself, to ensure their well-being and happiness. She is a mother. A true-hearted, will squeeze the life out of anyone who touches her cubs, mother. And she is losing every ounce of fight that she has left in her because of a system which plays in the hand of those who can afford it. Like I said. It is a story which makes you sick to your stomach. But it is the reality of the world we live in today.

Fairness and equality are not what we see on TV and the hero does not always get the outcome they deserve. And while I sit here writing about this woman's life, I can't help but think, if it can happen to her, it can happen to any one of us.

I hate to expand one situation to explain an epidemic, but I don't think I could find a better example. The self-entitlement in this generational movement shows kids trying to slide by doing less than the minimum and expect that someone else will pick up the pieces they have dropped. You see young adults working at minimalist jobs and using whatever money they have to buy drugs and alcohol. You see, tenants being removed from their apartments for missing payments, but they make sure that they never miss a high.

Of course, I am making a generalization when typing all of this out. There are families which are safe and stable and happy. There are teenagers working their way into adulthood with a successful mindset. There are millions and millions of faithful relationships. And while those are sprinkled throughout the earth, that one bad seed can kill the crop.

We are allowing our bodies and our minds to give up, thinking that someone else will fix the problems we have enclosed ourselves in. Yes, the world is giant, but our actions speak louder than anything. We have the power to stop the terror and misery that we surround ourselves in, but we choose not to.

Lily Tomlin said it best, "I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody."

We all are somebody. We can all help others. We all have a voice which can change the world we live in, if we just direct our energy to a purpose and a drive.

It is time to not only make a stance, but to follow through in what we believe. As that friend of mine, Jodie, says, "be the Rosa Parks of our generation and create a movement to change the world." We are so used to someone else figuring out the big problems and just taking care of ourselves, but the fact is we are avoiding that exactly. We are trying to build our lives on top of this big pile of garbage and just stand and stare as parts of us fall out of existence. If a single action can change someone's day, why don't we double that and make it two positive actions.

Then a week, from now, triple that and have six actions which will not only help others but help yourself in the process. Hold open a door, compliment someone, remind those around you that you are there and that you care. We think it is harder than it really is.

One word can stop a teenager from pulling a trigger.

One statement can end a divorce.

One action can change the world.

But that one thing begins with you. And your commitment to channeling your stress and discomfort which life throws at you and create a movement within yourself to be the change you want to see in the world one day at a time.

Cover Image Credit:

Tish Cama

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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A Glimpse Of My Adventure In Germany & Poland

This why everyone should study abroad.

Learism
Learism
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Two days ago, I arrived back in the States from a two-week study abroad trip to Germany and Poland. This trip was entitled Experiences in International Justice. On this trip, we studied the Holocaust and its consequences through the lens of criminal justice. This trip changed my life in so many ways.

Firs, I really connected with all the other students on my trip, so I know that I can find friendship and understanding in them because we shared this experience.

Secondly, I discovered a newfound respect for life and need to work towards a more just world through learning more about Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and the Holocaust. We visited three infamous concentration camps: Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. I don't know if I can explain to you the emotions I experienced, but I would like to try since I think it is very important to share my experience with others. It was so surreal to be in a place where millions of innocent lives were taken away. Seeing where the many Jews, Roma, and many other groups slept, worked, suffered, and died really put my life into perspective.

It got me reflecting on what I have to be thankful for, and the problems that I feel are a too big deal to handle. Nothing I could ever go through can be compared to what those poor people went through. Because of this realization, I have become empowered to do what I can to help those who are suffering and who do not have anyone to stand up for them. I know I can't effect change all over the world, but I want to help others in any way I can, in my community and in my future career as a Forensic Psychologist, as well as with my friends and family.

I also have been inspired to be a torch-bearer for the memory of the victims as well as the Holocaust itself, so that something like it never happens again. Knowledge is power, and so being educated about what happened and how it happened can help us take a stand for what's right. Because not everyone has the privilege to travel to the concentration camps as I have so I have an obligation to share my experiences there with the world. I do not want the victims to disappear, from the Holocaust or any tragedy. From a criminal justice perspective, it was also very interesting to read more about the perpetrators, how normal people can be so violent and destroy fellow humans without remorse. I think it is beneficial to study them because it shows that anyone can become overwhelmed with power and let it go to their heads.

My trip to Germany and Poland was an amazing experience that expanded my mind and my world, inspired me to continue down my chosen career path, and gave me great friends. I hope that everyone has a chance to study abroad and always be curious and open-minded because it will do so much good for you.

Learism
Learism

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