Yes We Can. Simple Ways You and I Can Make a Difference.

make a difference

Some people naturally care about their community, the environment and other people. For others, like myself, this caring does not come so naturally despite knowing that we should care. We need a little push to help us take action. If this is you, I would like to share some very simple ideas that will not only helps others and the environment, but also help you.

Recently I completed a driving test to attain my Canadian driver’s license. When I received my license in the mail soon after, I also received a request to sign up as an organ donor. I wasn’t an organ donor back in Australia, I guess because when I was initially given the option at age 17 (when I received my Australian driver’s license) I didn’t really care that a simple decision on my part could save the life of another human being.

Anyway, with my new outlook on life I have realized that being an organ donor is one simple way I can potentially make a difference in the world. After all, my organs aren’t much worth to me if I’m dead, right? Now if you don’t like the thought of being an organ donor, or you have some other reason not to be, that’s cool. There are many other ways we can each make a difference.

Before I go on, though, I want to make clear here that I am certainly not perfect, and there are some things in this article that are “to do” rather than “am doing”. If nothing else, writing this article has helped me by providing the little push I needed to take one small piece of action. Also, I would be very interested to hear your responses in the comments as to anything I may have missed. After all, we is truly greater than me.

First Aid

I just mentioned there is something I have been meaning to do for some time, and this is it. As a parent, I have actually been feeling guilty that I have little to no first aid knowledge. Yesterday, however, I registered for first aid training in the middle of March. It is not just parents, though, who will benefit from receiving first aid training. You just never know when a situation may arise where you having knowledge of first aid could prove the difference between a happy ending and a tragedy.

Donate

This is one thing I was doing back in Australia that I have stopped doing since the move to Canada. Perhaps this is because money has been a bit tight, but when I think about it there is always someone in more need than you and I.

If you would like to get some ideas for what charities need a hand, try:

As an alternative to giving money, you could donate household goods you don’t use any more, or you could also consider donating your time…..

Volunteer

One of my successes in 2007 was to start volunteering on a regular basis. I volunteer for an organization that helps to provide men with suitable attire for interviews and work (the male equivalent of “Dress For Success” if you have ever heard of it). To be honest, I still often find it hard to motivate myself to go. But once I am there I really enjoy myself. The men that come in must have a referral, which means that they have already taken the first step in helping themselves. And anyone who has ever volunteered will know that it leaves you feeling very good about yourself.

Stay Informed

Is ignorance bliss? Probably. But I, for one, choose the red pill that has me staying informed and in search of the truth. This does not mean you have to consume copious amounts of that garbage that passes for “news”. I like to use filters (such as Reddit or even simply other people) and then do my own reading into topics that are of interest or importance to me. And if you are well informed on an important issue, take it upon yourself to help inform others.

Vote

These days it is easy to take the right to vote for granted. But when you reflect on the struggles that people in the past have been through to attain this right, and the fact that still there are many people worldwide who don’t even have it, you begin to understand its significance and importance. So I strongly suggest not taking your right to vote for granted (yes, I have been guilty of this one in the past).

Then again, if your inclination was to vote for Bush maybe you could do more good by not voting.

Be Green

No, I’m not an environmental fanatic. I do believe, however, we could all treat Mother Earth a bit (hang on, make that A LOT) better. Here are a few things that Kathryn and I do: often use modern cloth diapers (that is our son Xavier to the right modeling one of his), share one car between us, recycle, eat certain organic foods (we can’t afford to buy everything organic), and very recently we purchased some energy efficient light bulbs.

Be Happy

Finally, don’t underestimate the difference simply being happy can make. If you want to see some really happy people, check out the self-proclaimed “happiest blog in the world”: Smiles That Make My Day (found courtesy of Al from 7P Productions).

Photo by nosha

make a difference

Recommended Resources

Looking for more ideas and inspiration? The following are some of our favorite resources:

Audible - audiobooks are a great way to listen to books while commuting, working out, cooking, or doing any other activity. Click here to try Audible free and choose any title from the world’s largest audiobook library.

Best Books to Change Life – recommended books on everything related to personal change and growth. The selection is a mix of time-tested classics and more recent bestsellers. Click here to see our Recommended Reading list.

Online-Therapy.com - online therapy offers effective, confidential, and convenient access to a licensed therapist at a relatively low cost when compared to traditional face-to-face services. Click here to try Online Therapy.


17 thoughts on “Yes We Can. Simple Ways You and I Can Make a Difference.”

  1. Great stuff, Peter! We don’t all have to become rocket scientists or visionaries to start effecting positive changes in the world.

    I like the being happy part the best. It seems hard to believe, but if more people just did that ONE thing, it would create radical shifts.

  2. Hi Peter – it was a pleasant surprise to see that you gave me credit in helping you find the “Smiles That Make My Day” site!

    This is a great post – it helped reinforce my desire to do more good in this world. I think we all want to do more than what we’re currently doing, and this post makes me feel optimistic that we can still plug away and indeed eventually help to make tomorrow better.

  3. You forgot to add “raise a wonderful child”. I begin to think that it is almost the most important thing someone can do to create a good tomorrow.

  4. I’ve only just started reading this blog in the last few weeks, but it’s definitely one of my favourites – so thanks for putting this stuff out there in the world for us to see.

    This is a great post – I think it’s a wonderful example for people who perhaps aren’t naturally inclined to worry about things like this, that there is always room for improvement & development. Even if you aren’t quite ready to do some of the things that are identified as development needs, at least having a “to-do” list for them is a fantastic approach to your own personal development.

    I always say that I want to know what people’s ideals are, what they dream of for the world – rather than what they know can be done practically. We can work out the practicalities of everything but if you at least put the ideals/values on your “to-do” list you can come back to them & iron them out into something practical when you’re ready.

    Anyway, I’m going on. I just wanted to say I enjoy reading you.

  5. Thanks for the positive comments everyone. I thought I might have gone a bit too Kumbaya on you with this one…. so I’m happy to hear you liked it.

  6. Kim and Peter,
    I don’t see how you can raise a “wonderful child” if you don’t have a spirit of making a contribution to the wider world. Xavier is a bit young to understand much right now, but it’s worth thinking about how you can include him in the giving/sharing process. We’re all in this together, and including the children is one of the best gifts we can give them.

    Again, great post. :)

  7. Peter:

    Thank you for discovering my happiness project at SmileMyDay.com. I truly believe that smile at someone will bring the smile on their face. They will smile back at you.

    I like your happy smile photo in your About page. I would like to invite you to submit your happy smile and story about you and your blog to SmileMyDay.com. In that way, you can definitely change more people’s life with your happy smile.

    Looking forward to seeing your happy face on the happiest blog in the world.

  8. Great article Peter. I think there are many little ways that we can make a difference. I’ve recently started smiling to everyone I see on the street that I pass by. Some of the reactions I get are surprising and it’s always wonderful to see someone genuinely smile back at you. =)

  9. I always try to bring a smile to strangers…by holding a door, letting them ahead of me in a line, giving a small purchase or passing along a freebie I received. I am currently unemployed due to an unfortunate occurrence, but still find ways to make people smile and they too make me smile! I love people!

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