Making A Difference: How You Can Make A Difference In Your Life And In Others.
In my blog post 'Finding Your Purpose In Life: The Spiritual CV' I already shared insights and directions to find our true purpose in life. It is usually the case that when we try to find out what this is, most of us tend to seek greatness, great feats for the world to see. This is not necessary. Our true purpose is what we do here and now, what belongs in our daily routine. Whether you make spoons or create the most beautiful, inspiring films, the way we make a difference is by touching the people we have near, not those who live on the other side of the world. If you have the means to project your vision to thousands or millions, continue doing so. The truth is that you might have made a difference in the lives of thousands already and you don't know.
Recently I met a woman who was seeking guidance and a sense of direction in life. She claimed that she had not been lucky in receiving help when she asked and that she felt somehow invisible. Unfortunately this is too frequent a feeling in modern society. We live times of scarcity and most people tend to procure for themselves forgetting how important it is to share with others. Paying a compliment to someone can make a great difference to their lives. It is a simple as that. A compliment; nothing we consider extraordinary, but that has an incredible effect. We might not see how we influenced people immediately, or not at all, as people come and go from our lives. What I know is that once we touch a person, they will never forget the way we made them feel.
People seek guidance and advice from others because they cannot longer see themselves. Humanity seems so detached from feeling and healthy inter-personal expressions, that eventually we forget who we are. In this case, I offered a service for which I charge for free. The reason why I did this was also very simple. She made me smile. That's all it took and all I needed to consider myself paid. I told her that things were going to change and that I was going to repay her with another smile. What this woman needed to know is that with her never ending smile she made the lives of others better and that the only thing she needed to be was just that, be. In a world in which doing something is the constant, in most cases all we need to do is just be.
Be, Just Be: Being is one of the most challenging activities for a person, especially in the most developed countries, where doing seems to be more important than existence itself. Our true essence lies in this state of being. The difficulty lies in the belief that we have to produce continuously. No one likes to be thought of as lazy, hence we continue doing. Being is not lazy. Being is life, what and who we are supposed to be. As mentioned above, the woman I referred to made a difference with her smile. Her smile is a representation of who she is. Too often we ignore facts about ourselves which make a difference to everyone we come in contact with, including ourselves. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What did others praise about you throughout life? Childhood is also part of your life. Don't forget.
- What actions did you take or are currently taking that have a positive effect in you and others?
- How do you feel about those actions/activities and where is that feeling located in your body?
- Is there something specific that you do regardless of what others think because you know it makes a difference?
Find Alone Time For Yourself: Make sure that you find at least 30 minutes every day to be alone and do nothing. Use this time in any way you prefer. The only condition is that you don't do any of the activities you usually do. You may choose to walk or simply sit or lie down. Don't allow interruptions. Find a place where you feel comfortable. This is a good time to do meditation or to begin practising it, if you don't already. If you are an active person who is constantly on the move or busy doing things, you might feel withdrawal symptoms. Stay with the feeling, as it gets easier after a period.
Do Those Things That Make You Happy: Do more of what you like to do. This is simple and you don't need to be told what this is. Just do it. Don't wait another day. One our biggest problems is that we take life for granted. Perhaps this idea lies in the knowing that there is a life after death and that what we do here is not that important after all, but we are here now and this is the period we have to enjoy. Doing the things that makes you happy allows you to enjoy the moment. Now is all there is, so you might as well enjoy it.
Keep Yourself Healthy: Something else that we take for granted is to take care of ourselves. How many times have you left exercise or to begin a healthy lifestyle diet for many tomorrows that never came? Our feelings and emotions are strongly affected by what we put in our bodies. Stay away from alcohol, drugs (recreational or over the counter), fast or salty/sugary foods. My opinion on prescription drugs is that they offer little or no benefits, but this is a personal choice you must make. This is my personal experience and opinion. You do as you feel. If medication does not offer a solution there might not be any point in taking it. Everything I mentioned contains either alcohol or chemicals or both. Chemicals and alcohol lower your consciousness and they way you feel. You might need to detox. Use expert opinion or find information that helps you with this process. Do you research. Taking on an immediate detox program could have serious consequences depending on your current health condition.
Write A Plan: Write down everything you can do and everything you feel you can do even if you have not done so for a while. Include activities from as early in life as childhood. Use your memory and remember how you felt then. There are two important points to consider when you write your plan. One, begin with what you have now. There's no need to invest money. Your time and energy is your investment. This is not a business plan. Eventually it might become a way of making a living, but for now all you want is to have fun and make a difference. Set a flexible and realistic goal. If you don't feel that you know what your true purpose in life is, this process will help you to identify it. When we begin to do something we must let go of our inherent need of control. What is important is that you create and play in the process. Have fun with it. If it's not an enjoyable activity, then it might not be what you want.
Just Do it And Do It Now: Do what you feel that can make a difference. You might choose to do this online or in person. I do both and the fact is that it makes a difference to many either way. Doing what you want to do organically might bring you more satisfaction and what you need, as well as allowing you to meet new people. This could translate into friendships and endless opportunities. Do what you want to do and don't listen to anyone who opposes your ideas. Follow your heart, not the negative beliefs of others. What you need to do this is simple, belief and persistence. Trust in the process. Not everyone is going to like it and they don't have to. Do not be discouraged if others don't respond positively. Take one day at a time. You are not here to save the world alone. Just do your bit. Do it now. Don't wait for another tomorrow.
Keep A Diary: Write down your activities, experiences and feelings. Don't use too much of your time in writing. Keeping a journal will help you to see what you did when you started and everything else along the process. If at some point you feel you have lost connection with the initial intention, go back to these pages.
Ask For Feedback: It is important that you get feedback from others at least at the beginning. Feedback will help you to gain confidence and to seek more opportunities to do what you enjoy.
Accept Something In Return: Whether you have decided to do this free of charge or to receive payments, allow yourself to accept something in return when offered. Do not be discouraged if others tell you that you should not charge for using your talents. To this day we all need to make a living and any contribution that helps you to continue doing something that is going to improve the world must be accepted and encouraged. Leave room to help those who cannot afford it and do it for free. The people who are suffering the most are those struggling to make ends meet. Accept different forms of payment whether this is money, goods, time, services, energy, etc.
Be Selective: The fact that you can make a difference should not become a burden. If you are good and successful at what you do, others will seek you and it might become an overwhelming experience. Learn to say no in order to maintain a balance. If you do too much or give too much of yourself you will get exhausted. Don't. Rest and do as much as you can. Get excited about the idea, but don't allow the experience to drain you. And again, you are not here to change this world alone. Let everyone do their part.
Be Yourself: This is the great opportunity in your life to show yourself and others who you truly are. Do not be afraid to show yourself. Others might tell you that you have changed and they might not even like it, especially those who are closest to you. Remember two important facts. Most people are afraid of change and without change your personal development remains stagnant. It's up to you to decide whether you want to be in the same situation you are now forever or to grow and expand in healthier and more positive ways. Eventually people will understand and see what's good in you and accept it. Most of the people considered the greatest achievers met fierce opposition at the beginning. Resistance is only present to make your senses sharper and to bring out the best in you. It should be an encouragement, not a deterrent.
It Is An Adventure: In any adventure you must take risks and enter the unknown. Begin with what you know and as you advance go beyond what we know. You are doing this to help yourself and others. What you do will be inspiring to many. Encourage others to do the same, always in their own way. You might choose to take on this venture with someone else. Any adventure is full of action and surprises. Enjoy it. There are three important things to consider. Responsibility, fun and humbleness. Put together they work wonders in any adventure.
The Butterfly Effect: What you today makes a difference not only to you and others you come in contact with, but to the rest of the world. If your achievement for the day was only to make another person to feel better, that's enough. Praise yourself for every achievement no matter how small it seems. What it seems small to you it might mean the world to others that day. In most cases that person would either return the favour or pass it on to someone else. Whoever feels better because of you probably has a family or friends they will meet later on. The energy you have helped to create, even if invisible and hardly imperceptible to you continues moving in all directions. When you touch one person, rest assured that they will touch others too. What you do today is of utmost importance to change the world. Choose your actions wisely. You might see the effect or you may not, but you can end making a difference to thousands of people without knowing, and this is an important fact to remember. When you hear that one person cannot change the world, you are only hearing the words of someone who never dared to do it. Do you work in silence and without expectations. The rewards will come back to you in many different ways when least expected.
By now you have read a list of things you can do to make a difference. It is nothing extraordinary, nothing out of the normality and probably you were aware of most of it, if not all. If so, what's so special about this text? What makes it special is not the text, but those who do and those who don't. By doing you will undoubtedly make a difference. At some point in the process you will also realise that those personal limitations you might have believed for a lifetime are beginning to disappear and you will expand in ways you have never known. The more you do, the better you will feel about it. You are following your heart and if your heart is beating with a new rediscovered passion, you are in the right direction.
There are those who don't and those who do. Anyone can make a difference if they choose to. In the end, it is a personal choice and who you choose to be. Somehow, if you are reading this, I know which one you should choose. Just do it, and do it now.
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