Discover strategies and resources to make a positive impact on people's lives, the community, & the world.
Do you find yourself wondering if you are making a difference in the world? Are you still trying to figure out what making a difference really means? You are not alone in asking these questions. Most people want to feel like they are leaving a positive impact on the world around them. Keep reading to learn what making a difference really means and how you can start actively making a difference for the things you care about the most.
What Does It Mean To Make a Difference?
Making a difference refers to the impact that your actions have on the world around you. While sometimes your actions have a negative impact, making a difference refers to the positive ways that you affect the world. Some examples of making a difference are listed below.
Volunteering time at the local library
Cleaning up trash in your community
Being kind to other people
Adopting a child
Donating large sums of money
Careers devoted to the health and safety of others, such as first responders and soldiers
Making a difference is important because it is how you can create the positive change you want to see in the world. Having well-intentioned goals is a component of being a happier person (Headey, 2007). Setting goals that have the intention of positively impacting things you find most important could help increase your happiness. Your goal could be anything from volunteering 10 hours a week to improving your relationship with your family; there are countless ways that you can make a positive impact.
Are You Making a Difference?
This is a question most of us have asked many times in our lives. There are many ways to make a difference in the world, both large and small. If you are not sure if you are making a difference, ask yourself some of the questions below:
Are you kind to other people on a daily basis?
Do you try to be helpful in an effort to make others’ lives and jobs easier?
Are you raising your child to be the type of person you want to see in the world?
Does your job involve directly, or indirectly, providing care or service to others?
Do you spend time volunteering for causes that are important to you?
Do you feel like you want to make more of a difference? Keep reading to learn how you can leave your mark on the world.
Spend some time thinking about the things you care about the most. Are you raising children? Does a family member have a disability or disease you can advocate for? Are you passionate about rescuing animals or cleaning up forests? It’s much easier to put effort towards things that you care about.
Evaluate the places in your life where you are already making a difference. Even if you don’t realize it, there are likely many areas of your life where you are already making a difference. Maybe you set a good example of regulating your emotions for your child. Maybe you have a co-worker who strives to follow in your footsteps. Perhaps you rescued an animal from being run over on a busy street. All of these small actions can have a positive outward ripple effect.
Decide where—and if—you could devote more time and energy. Sometimes our plates are full and there simply isn’t any extra time or energy to take on extra responsibilities. Even if you don’t have the time to commit to volunteering, putting more kindness into everyday interactions or learning to be more selfless is a small gesture that makes a big difference.
Take action. The only way to actually make a difference is to take action. This action does not have to be huge, like changing career paths (though some people do make that decision). The action can be signing up to volunteer once a month, learning and implementing strategies to be a better leader or parent, or even just being deliberately kind to other people.
We are all capable of making a positive difference; for those around us, for our community, and for the world as a whole. Making a difference is important because it is how we create the positive change we want to see in the world. If you feel like you want to create more of an impact, think about what you care about most, evaluate where you are already making a difference, where you could improve, and take action. Try not to underestimate the power of being kind and respectful in making a difference in this world–your behavior and actions can ripple out to inspire kindness in others.
Headey, B. (2007). Life goals matter to happiness: A revision of set-point theory. Social Indicators Research, 86(2), 213–231.