What did you do to make the world a better place today?
Seriously, take thirty seconds to think about it.
Well… what did you do today to make the world a better place?
A woman I met during a family vacation was asked this question during her Spa visit. She had just experienced a deep tissue massage, something I haven't been brave enough to try, and she saw this question in a cute little book in the spa lobby.
She read the comments in the book before she "put in her own two cents." When she was talking to me, her eyes had that light in them people have when they have experienced something really positive.
As we talked about the question, someone else at the table said dejectedly, "I did nothing." It bothered me because I had been with this person for most of the day, and they had done many positive things that day. So I offered this small tidbit to her.
"Well, you could make the world a better place by helping someone smile, or even helping yourself smile." Commenting on this led to a more positive conversation than letting her think about herself negatively. Therefore, by helping her change her perspective on her day, I was able to make her world a better place.
We often forget the world doesn't always need a superman to make it a better place. Sometimes, it's as courageous to make the world a better place by choosing to do the laundry when you got in a fight with your spouse or reach out to a distant friend just because (for someone odd reason) you can't stop thinking about him. Sometimes, sticking close to someone while he/she is suffering is just as courageous as being a superhero.
I know there are so many ways to make the world a better place, but I have a few ideas. If you want, you can read them below:
Reaching out to someone going through a hard time
Doing your roommate's dishes
Smiling at a stranger
Helping carry the groceries inside
Sincerely apologizing for a past mistake
Paying your bills ahead of time
Telling your role model how much you appreciate him/her
Purchasing a stranger's meal/drink (in the fast food line, at a restaurant, at a coffee shop)
Volunteering at a local food kitchen
...and the list goes on and on.
It's up to you how you act in and react to the world. You won't get it right all the time, and that's okay. But when you get it wrong (or not all the way right), assess the moment kindly, forgive yourself for what was lacking about it, and try to do better the next time.
By intentionally committing ourselves to "just do the next right thing," we are living our lives with more virtue. By sacrificing our comfort to make someone else's life better, we are also practicing for future moments when we are called to sacrifice more. As a young lady, helping my friend while they are sick could prepare me for when I help my kids through their sicknesses in the future.
Let me just brag about my roommate for a bit. She bakes delicious cupcakes. These cupcakes have the perfect blend of gooey cake and creamy icing. She also has a super generous heart. This summer, for two weeks straight, she was up late baking and icing cupcakes every night of the week to give them away to her coworkers and friends.
When I saw her spend so much of her limited free time serving others… it helped me reflect on what it means to be sweet and kind. Seeing others sacrifice their time and resources to make someone else's life better inspires others to do the same.
Making the world a better place means making yourself a better person in the world. It means practicing patience, kindness, trustworthiness, and more when we tend to be impatient, mean, suspicious, and more.
I believe you can do what is right, even if it isn't easy. The world needs you to do what is right, especially when it isn't easy. That's how you become a hero not only to me but the people in your world. People think the world is a big place, and sure - it is. There are lots of continents and people out there. But your world - your coworkers, friends, family, and more - they need you to rise up and make the community you all live in a better place.
So... how are you going to help your world be a better place today?
Now get out there and do it.