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8 Ways To Change The World (That Really Work)

8 Ways To Change The World (That Really Work)

Many of us dream of changing the world from a very young age. We want to make a difference. Here’s 8 ways that will help you to achieve your dreams.

As you get older, that need to make that change usually becomes greater. Maybe you want to be a musician, tour the world and use your influence to give back. Or perhaps your goal is to start a company that will transform the business world or a non-profit that will end poverty. You might just want to help make some kind of positive change, whatever that looks like.

Big ideas are never easy to make reality. Changing the world doesn’t happen by accident. But achieving your dream will give you the greatest satisfaction you’ve ever felt. So here’s some advice to get you started.

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It Will Be Harder Than You Ever Imagined, But Still Worth It

This is not meant to bring you down, but to prepare you. It’s going to be harder than you think, it will cost more than you think and will take more time than you think. Be ready for that and you’ll be less likely to fail when the going gets tough. Don’t give up when things don’t happen quickly. Try not to overestimate what is reasonably achievable in the short term, but look more to what can be achieved through a life time of hard work and motivation.

Be Willing to Admit You Don’t Know It All

An up and coming ‘world changer’ should be humble and hungry. Humble enough to know that they don’t have it all figured out, still needing to ask plenty of questions and likely more wrong than right. But be hungry enough to break some rules, be bold and throw out tradition in service of chasing creative impulses wherever they might lead.

Listen to the stories of those around you, who share common goals. Identify the brokenness of our world so that you can be transformed through the stories of restoration and healing. Respond to the injustices of our world by working with others.

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Jon Foreman, lead singer of Christian rock band Switchfoot said, “In the effort to improve the art or craft of your work, don’t become so focused that you lose sight of the bigger picture: the humanity, the humour, the beauty, the pain of those around you”

Remember The Small Things, They Matter

Start from exactly where you are. You can’t change the world in a day, but there are small things that you can change. And small things add up. You might start off just doing something you’ve always wanted to – like a skydive, but for charity. This could lead to you organizing charity events with many people involved. And then before you know it, you’ve founded your own charity, supporting a cause that you feel passionately about. Don’t discount what you can do locally, regionally or for just one person. One random act of kindness can change the world for that one person. Every day you change the world. Even a lack of involvement is a decision with lasting ramifications. No matter who you are, your actions and thoughts every moment of every day have powerful implications for not only your life but the lives of others.

Allow Yourself To Grow

If you are going to help others then it is necessary for you to care for your own soul. Don’t overestimate your importance and take adequate time off. You are no use to the world if you are overtired, over-stressed and overrun. Discover yourself. Spend time alone. Turn off your phone and computer. Get involved with the messy humanity that lurks within and around you.

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Don’t Take On Too Much

Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO of GoldieBlox said, “Something I would have done differently is that I would have asked for more help from the start. I also thought, in the beginning, that [GoldieBlox] had to make a range of products. I had this idea that as a start-up, we had to work around the clock all the time until we were just about ready to drop. It spread my team really thin and wasn’t realistic.”

Instead of focusing on changing the world, focus on inner renewal, day by day. Set realistic goals and keep progressing all the time.

Never Be Afraid to Speak Up

One of the biggest challenges you might face is convincing other people to believe in your ideas. Constantly remind yourself to make your voice heard. It starts by speaking up in meetings and ends with going way outside of your comfort zone and establishing relationships with people you normally wouldn’t. Don’t sit on the sidelines. You have to get out there, make your own luck. See your dreams become a reality. You’re destined to succeed, if you believe your mission is greater than the company and you work hard toward that end. Put yourself out there in a big way and you’ll never be disappointed. You will find people who believe in your cause, and these are the people you want to be surrounded by in the long run.

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Don’t Worry Too Much About the Opinions and Expectations of Others

Don’t spend too much time obsessing over what others think about you. It is a waste of your energy and your assumptions about other people’s opinions will usually be wrong or irrelevant. It’s best not to guess at others’ thoughts, opinions and motivations and simply operate in love with all you encounter. Figuring this out will save you a lot of time and a lot of stress.

Let the Problems Lead to Change

Start by looking at what’s wrong and then figure out how to make things right. In particular, what most offends your sense of justice or breaks your heart? Where do you feel the pain of the world most passionately and personally? Once you discover that, find the other people who feel the same passion and pain for the same causes as you and work with them to make a difference.

This is how every movement for justice begins, and changing the world for the better really is as simple as that.

Featured photo credit: Boqlang Llao via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Let’s be honest. When you’re going through a difficult time in life, doesn’t it drive you crazy when someone says, “just be optimistic”?

Everyone has that one overly-optimistic “Positive Pam” friend who sees the good in everything. Trying to find anything to be happy about when you’re struggling feels unrealistic.

The question remains: “Why is it difficult to pull upon happy thoughts when everything in life feels like it’s falling apart?”

Well, the root of the problem lies in the brain. Your brain isn’t designed for happiness because its focus has always been on promoting survival, it saves the happy chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) for opportunities to meet a survival need.[1]

While all of this is true, it is still possible to train your brain to be optimistic so that you can find the silver lining amidst life’s greatest adversities.

You Can’t Be Positive All the Time

Before I talk about how you can do this, you must realize that you aren’t expected to be positive 100% of the time. You’re human and life happens.

Have you ever had a solid plan in place, and then life comes along and says, “Let’s explore rock bottom for a while instead?!” You’re allowed to feel sad, angry, or negative sometimes.

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However, the trick is making sure that you don’t live in this place for too long. Disempowering emotions serve their purpose in the short-term but can become destructive to your overall quality of life in the long-term.

When it comes to thinking positively, I think a lot of people have a skewed understanding of what positivity should look like. You don’t have to sing in the rain or smile 24/7 to be deemed a positive person.

Appreciating the smallest of things can work wonders for your mindset, such that, over time, you start wiring your brain to seek out and expect more positives. This speaks to the power of having an attitude of gratitude.

Research has shown that gratitude can improve general well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression.[2]

The more grateful you are, the happier you are.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, happiness won’t always be your automatic response. Rather, it’s a choice that you have to make every single day.

3 Ways You Can Train Your Brain to Be Positive

Similar to any habit, your brain conditions itself to think and behave in certain ways through repetition. Thus, if you engage in daily rituals that enhance your positive thinking, over time you will rewire and train your brain to become more positive.

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Let’s talk about 3 ways that you can train your brain to be positive:

1. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Your mind is a powerful tool – you can either fill it with positive thoughts or negative ones. The average person has thousands of thoughts per day, 80% of which are negative, and 95% of which are exactly the same thoughts as the day before.[3]

If you’re like most people, you probably spend a lot of time in your head. This is where your inner critic loves to hang out and try to convince you of all the reasons why you’re not good enough or why things won’t work out.

Not surprisingly, if you play this disempowering record over and over again in your head, eventually you will start believing it.

People get into trouble when they define who they are based on how they think. You are not your thoughts, so don’t believe everything that you think. This is why it’s so important to practice challenging your negative thoughts.

The next time that you have a thought that doesn’t serve you, stop and reflect upon whether or not that thought is accurate. Once you determine where the fallacy is in your thinking lies, step back and ask yourself, “Is this thought building me up or tearing me down?” If it’s the latter, reframe the negative thought to a more empowering one.

The fastest way to change your life is to change your narrative. Small shifts in your mindset can trigger a massive shift in how you perceive yourself, others, and the world.

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2. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Your success in life is determined, in large part, by your environment. If you want to be an optimistic person, you have to surround yourself with optimistic people. End of story.

As Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Take a moment and think about your close circle of friends. Are they inspiring and driven people who uplift and empower you? Or are they lazy, negative, and toxic?

If it’s the latter, I hate to break it to you, but it’s time to find new friends.

When you surround yourself with positive people, you’re more likely to adopt empowering beliefs and see life as happening for you instead of to you.[4]

Decide who you want to be and find people who embody those traits. When you raise your standards, your circle will change and so, too, will your life.

3. Make Your Mental Health and Well-Being a Priority

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a drastic increase in mental health issues. The isolation, fear, uncertainty, and economic turmoil that people are facing around the world is a breeding ground for psychological distress.[5]

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Given the current state of our world, there has never been a more important time for us to make our mental health and well-being a priority.

The question remains, “How do you stay positive when everything sucks?”

It’s all a matter of perspective.

We know that the mind and body are connected. If you ignore one, the other one suffers equally as much. Research has found that taking care of ourselves physically and mentally can influence our happiness and train our brains over time to be more positive.[6]

Looking after your mind and body means creating a daily self-care ritual, consisting of eating healthy foods, exercising, meditating, doing yoga, staying connected with friends, journaling, reading, and practicing affirmations, to name a few.

Anything that helps you manage your stress and connect with the present moment is key. Even in the most challenging of times, it is always possible to find something to be grateful for. By choosing to focus on what is good in your life and what makes you happy, you will grow stronger in the face of adversity.

Now Is the Time to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Your mindset is everything. Thinking positively is as important as your skills or talents. We cannot always control our outer world, which is why it’s imperative to cultivate a strong inner world.

How you respond to adversity will determine your success in life. Have faith, trust in yourself, and believe in what is possible. When you think positively, positive things will happen.

More Tips on How to Be Optimistic

Featured photo credit: Dayne Topkin via unsplash.com

Reference

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