Be the change you want to see in the world.
This quote by Gandhi gets trotted out a lot by people with nothing but the best intentions. Suitable for bumper stickers, motivational posters, and sticking to the top of blog posts, it seems custom-made for all your feel-good occasions. But what does it really mean? And what would it look and feel like to really be the change you want to see in the world?Advertising
Sam Davidson and Stephen Moseley of Cool People Care try to answer these questions in their book New Day Revolution: How to Save the World in 24 Hours (hereafter “NDR”). Organized according to the typical activities we engage in over the course of a single day, NDR offers a wealth of tips, tricks, and hacks that help transform everyday activities ranging from drinking a cup of coffee to giving gifts into revolutionary ones that, in ways small or large, help create a healthier, safer, and more compassionate world.
Little changes lead to big differences
The central premise of NDR is that little changes can add up to huge differences — in your life and in the world as a whole. For instance, waking up 9 minutes earlier every day — which you can do by hitting “snooze” one less time — will give you over 50 extra hours a year to live your life with. Dropping a few minutes of sleep isn’t a difficult thing to do, but it could well have life-changing effects.Advertising
Most of the tips presented by Davidson and Moseley combine these personal benefits with world-changing benefits, such as the advice to line-dry your clothes instead of running them through the dryer. Line-drying isn’t nearly as inconvenient as you’d think — if you don’t have a yard, a collapsible drying rack that fits comfortably into a corner of your house or apartment will do just as well. That’s what I did for 5 years living in New York City in tiny apartments — anyone who has relied on laundromats for their laundry needs knows the frustration of paying 75 cents or more to dry a load and still ending up with a mess of soggy clothes! SKipping the dryer for a month can save you as much as $5 (and probably more with increasing energy costs since the book was published) as well as reducing the need for coal by 10 pounds (and reducing the carbon that coal would have released into the atmosphere accordingly).
Here’s a few more tips to give you a taste of NDR’s approach:Advertising
- Get your coffee inside instead of going through the drive-thru: It will probably take just as long, plus you’ll save the gas you’d have burnt waiting for them to serve the people in front of you, you’ll get some small amount of exercise, and you’ll get a chance to interact with customers and maybe flirt with the barrista, if that’s your thing.
- Buy extra canned goods: Grab one extra of each non-perishable food item you buy and drop them off at a local shelter on your way home from the store or into work the next day. If you have pets, grab an extra can of pet food and drop it off at the shelter. Make this a regular part of your life’s routine, so you’re constantly giving a little bit of help where it’s needed in your community.
- Carry a spoon: Turn down the plastic stirrer with your coffee, or the plastic spoon with your frozen yogurt. Instead, whip out your own spoon, have your drink or dessert, and take it home. Billions of plastic spoons and stirrers are thrown out every year — that’s a lot of plastic, which means a lot of oil, just taking up landfill space!
Putting it all together
In addition to a list of tips like the ones above, each chapter of NDR also includes a profile of a person (or sometimes several people) who have chosen to make a difference in the world. Consider, for example, Jody. Jody decided to spend one year using only what she had (barring consumables like food and toiletries). For 365 days, she pledged not to buy anything new: no new CDs, appliances, household furniture, electronic gadgets — nothing. If she found she really needed something, she tried to trade someone for it, or somehow get it for free.
(Bonus tip: Check out Freecycle to see if there’s a freecycling group in your neighborhood. Freecyclers post the things they don’t need anymore to an email list, allowing whoever wants it to come and pick it up for free.)Advertising
Obviously Jody saved a lot of money. And that would be a big difference in most people’s lives. But Jody didn’t stop with saving money — she took the money she wasn’t spending on consumer goods and gave it to charities that work to alleviate poverty in both her own community and abroad. Her idea was pretty simple: stop buying the cheap goods whose availability is premised on the exploitation of cheap labor around the world, and use the money she saved to help make up for the effects of that exploitation.
The final word
New Day Revolution is, for the most part, a worthy read. It’s beautifully designed, well-written, and engaging. The tips can be a mixed bag — most people will find at least some of them that are either distasteful to them or impractical in their own lives. That’s almost inevitable, though, since NDR doesn’t really hew to any particular political line — it’s hard to cover all the bases without occasionally hitting a sour note for at least some readers.
In the end, though, it’s not so much the content of NDR that’s important as the concept. NDR advocates drawing the lines between the way you’d like the world to be and your own individual practices. They even provide a blank chapter for you to add your own thoughts and ideas — and a website, New Day Revolution, where they’re posting more ideas and you can add your own (click “Chapters” and add comments under the relevant chapter heading).
New Day Revolution is a helpful, easy read. It would make a great gift for a recent high school or college graduate, or perhaps for a new parent or anyone who’s trying to bring their lives more in line with their values. While I can see re-reading it for inspiration now and again, none of the tips are so complex that you’d need it as a reference, so feel free to follow the authors’ own advice (on page 88) and check it out of your local library.
Last Updated on May 12, 2020
8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times
Many of us find ourselves in motivational slumps that we have to work to get out of. Sometimes it’s like a continuous cycle where we are motivated for a period of time, fall out and then have to build things back up again.
There is nothing more powerful for self-motivation than the right attitude. You can’t choose or control your circumstance, but you can choose your attitude towards your circumstances.
How I see this working is while you’re developing these mental steps, and utilizing them regularly, self-motivation will come naturally when you need it.
The key, for me, is hitting the final step to Share With Others. It can be somewhat addictive and self-motivating when you help others who are having trouble.
A good way to have self motivation continuously is to implement something like these 8 steps from Ian McKenzie. I enjoyed Ian’s article but thought it could use some definition when it comes to trying to build a continuous drive of motivation. Here is a new list on how to self motivate:
1. Start Simple
Keep motivators around your work area – things that give you that initial spark to get going.
These motivators will be the Triggers that remind you to get going.
2. Keep Good Company
Make more regular encounters with positive and motivated people. This could be as simple as IM chats with peers or a quick discussion with a friend who likes sharing ideas.
Positive and motivated people are very different from the negative ones. They will help you grow and see opportunities during tough times.
Here’re more reasons why you should avoid negative people: 10 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Negative People
3. Keep Learning
Read and try to take in everything you can. The more you learn, the more confident you become in starting projects.
You can train yourself to crave lifelong learning with these tips: How to Develop a Lifelong Learning Habit
4. See the Good in Bad
When encountering obstacles or challenging goals, you want to be in the habit of finding what works to get over them.
Here are 10 tips to make positive thinking easy.
5. Stop Thinking
Just do. If you find motivation for a particular project lacking, try getting started on something else. Something trivial even, then you’ll develop the momentum to begin the more important stuff.
When you’re thinking and worrying about it too much, you’re just wasting time. These tried worry busting techniques can help you.
6. Know Yourself
Keep notes on when your motivation sucks and when you feel like a superstar. There will be a pattern that, once you are aware of, you can work around and develop.
Read for yourself how the magic of marking down your mood works.
7. Track Your Progress
Keep a tally or a progress bar for ongoing projects. When you see something growing, you will always want to nurture it.
Take a look at these 4 simple ways to track your progress so you have motivation to achieve your goals.
8. Help Others
Share your ideas and help friends get motivated. Seeing others do well will motivate you to do the same. Write about your success and get feedback from readers.
Helping others actually helps yourself, here’s why.
What I would hope happens here is you will gradually develop certain skills that become motivational habits.
Once you get to the stage where you are regularly helping others keep motivated – be it with a blog or talking with peers – you’ll find the cycle continuing where each facet of staying motivated is refined and developed.
Too Many Steps?
If you could only take one step? Just do it!
Once you get started on something, you’ll almost always just get into it and keep going. There will be times when you have to do things you really don’t want to: that’s where the other steps and tips from other writers come in handy.
However, the most important thing, that I think is worth repeating, is to just get started.
Get that momentum going and then when you need to, take Ian’s Step 7 and Take A Break. No one wants to work all the time!
More Tips for Boosting Motivation
- How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up
- 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams
- Positive Motivation vs Negative Motivation: Which One Is Better?
- 11 Tactics on Increasing Brain Power, Memory, and Motivation
Featured photo credit: Japheth Mast via unsplash.com
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