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10 Life Lessons You Can Learn from Young World-Changers

10 Life Lessons You Can Learn from Young World-Changers

It is hard to change the world, some people might say. But for young minds like Joan of Arc, Anne Frank, St Thérèse of Lisieux making the world a better place to live in is actually possible. Age simply doesn’t matter if you want to create a huge impact on the environment and on other people’s lives. To prove this point, there is a long list of children who have successfully made a huge difference through their remarkable actions.

Be inspired and moved by these innocent and hopeful young ones who made an impressive and exceptional mark in their generations. Their accomplishments will surely change your outlook in life.

1. “Children should have pens in their hands not tools” – Iqbal Masih

Iqbal is a brave and eloquent Pakistani boy who made a big contribution and global impact on child slavery. Through his encouraging speeches, he brought awareness to uneducated slave laborers about their human rights and freedom.  At the age of 12, he became a prominent leader of a movement that fight against child labor in Pakistan.

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2. “Every child has the right to live and that is the right for life.” – Thandiwe Chama

Thandiwe is a young activist from Zambia who is known for her efforts in actively promoting the rights of children to be educated. She firmly believes that education is for everyone. All children have the right to be heard and should have access to educational opportunities. Apart from her advocacy that education is for all, she is also active in speaking to churches about AIDS.

3. “We are normal. We are human beings. We can walk, we can talk…. We have needs just like everyone else. We are all the same.”- Nkosi Johnson

Nkosi was a South African kid who was born with HIV-positive disease. His situation didn’t hinder him to become an inspiration and tell the world to fight against AIDS. In fact, he became a speaker in the International AIDS conference reminding people to be open and have an equal treatment to AIDS victims.

4. “One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”- Malala Yousafzai

Malala is a Pakistani teenager who is very outspoken about girls basic rights to education. She’s known for being a women and children’s right activist. Despite of death threats from Taliban, she refused to be silenced. After surviving the assassination attempt, she became a spokesperson for human rights and education.

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5. “I want them to realize that they are never too young to make change.” – Dylan Mahalingam

Dylan is a young philanthropist and social activist who became famous when he found Lil’ MDGs when he was barely 9 years of age. It is a non-profit organization that aims to empower children and youth to work together towards the Millennium development goals. Dylan has been working with various children all around the world and resolving issue that includes hunger, poverty, education, gender equality, environmental sustainability, so on and so forth.

6. “You grown-ups say you love us, but I challenge you to make your actions reflect your words.” -Severn Suzuki

At the age of nine, Severn founded the ECO or the Environmental Children’s Organization, a group of children committed to learn and teach other kids about environmental issues. She’s been actively participating to variety of environmental projects and speaking to many schools, conference, and international meetings. When she was 12 years old she attended the Earth Summit and gave a speech  to the delegates. After that she became well-known as The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes.

7. “AIDS can destroy a family if you let it, but luckily for my sister and me, Mom taught us to keep going. Don’t give up, be proud of who you are, and never feel sorry for yourself. ” – Ryan White

Ryan is an American teenage boy who had contracted with AIDS through blood transfusions when he was 13 years old. Aside from his struggle with his illness, Ryan has to faced enormous pressure and judgment from people around him. During the short course of his life, he helped in educating people about AIDS and it resulted for a good cause. The Government passed the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Care (CARE) Act, a program that provides health care resources to Americans with HIV/AIDS who have no sufficient health care and financial resources.

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8. “Hope is real, peace is possible, and life is worthy!” – Mattie Stepanek

Mattie is a boy poet and profound thinker who has a rare form of muscular dystrophy. In his brief lifespan, Mattie became an inspiration to many because of “Heartsongs”, his poetry collections, and his NY bestselling books that touched tons of people’s lives. He spent his remaining years on earth being an advocate for hope, peace, and people with disabilities.

9. “You can make a difference in the world, but only if you really try hard and really want to. Just pick a dream and then go for it. Oh, and never give up!” – Ryan Hreljac

Ryan was only 6 years old when he decided to help people in Africa to have clean water by building a well in a village. He began raising money for water and sanitation projects for people affected by global water crisis. Because of his perseverance and determination to help, he successfully built his first well in a primary school in Uganda. He didn’t stop there. Now, he continues to raise money to support water sources through his organization, Ryan’s Well Foundation.

10. “I think it is important to have something to strive for. By planting a garden or just some seeds in a pot you can make a difference.” – Katie Stagliano

Katie is a young gardener and an anti-hunger activist. When she was 9, she donated her 40 pound cabbage to a local soup kitchen and it helped feed more than 200 people. After that, her dream to help people fight against hunger was born. She started a vegetable garden and donate the harvest to the needy.

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These kids came from different backgrounds and they all became good role models to humanity. They know their rights and they have brave hearts to speak their minds out to fight for what they think is right. Their simple acts only reminds us that no one is never too young or old to make a difference.

Featured photo credit: Little Girl in Amusement Park BY VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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