Please note that this blog briefly mentions suicide and abuse. Neither are mentioned in graphic detail.
Have you ever wanted to change the world in a positive way? It is completely possible for you to. If you hear “but you’re just one person” in your head, this blog is for you. In many cases, making a difference can be as simple as acting on our desire, yet something still seems to hold many of us back. This is doubt, that voice telling us we’re too small to make an impact.
It is possible for you to change the world alone. One single action is enough to make a difference, all thanks to “the ripple effect.”
Even the smallest actions can have a profound impact. I remember once reading a story that perfectly demonstrates this. It was about a boy who saw his classmate carrying an incredible amount of books, when some students came and knocked them from his arms. This bystander walked up and helped the classmate gather his books. Seeing he was almost in tears, he offered a few kind words.
Later, this bullied individual was valedictorian and gave a speech at his graduation that was so powerful. He said, that day, he had been planning to kill himself. He was carrying so much stuff because he was cleaning out his locker so his mother wouldn’t have to, after he passed away. When this fellow boy helped him gather his books, he said that gave him the will to keep living because it showed him kindness existed. This simple act of compassion saved his life.
Who this boy became is unknown, but that’s the beauty of the ripple effect. Without his bright spirit alive in this world, all of the impacts he will make would never happen. It’s possible that he carried this kindness on and saved other lives. The one boy who gathered his books would have, then, saved more lives than just his. One of these people may become an influential person who will erase third world poverty or creates something incredible.
This is the power all of us have within us. All of our actions have the potential to change the world.
Why We Rarely Consider the Power of Our Actions
As a society, we tend to pay attention to negative actions, rather than positive ones. News stations are full of this—it’s mainly stories about crime and disaster, rather than accomplishments and positive tales. Because of this, our cultural worldview becomes predominantly negative and we start to believe we can never make a real difference.
In truth, positive action is just as common as negative actions (maybe even more common!). We just hear about the negative more. If we shift this perspective, we can then feel more powerful when it comes to our own actions. Through this, we can better trust in our own abilities to change the world.
To shift this belief, we simply need to remind ourselves of the positive things around us. When we intentionally look up inspiring stories, reflect on role model’s actions, and pay attention to the kindness of strangers, we see another side of humanity. It soon becomes clear just how powerful love and compassion is. At all times, it seems to have the power to overcome violence and hatred. Even though it may be quite the battle, kindness makes a real impact.
How to Remind Yourself You Can Change the World
You can change the world with a simple act of kindness. The more of these acts you do, the more opportunities for positive change you will create. This very fact is incredibly empowering, since it’s completely on you how and when you act from a place of love and kindness.
All you have to do to realize your own inner power is to get creative every time you act from a place of compassion. Instead of just acting, reflect upon the potential impact it might have had on that person’s life. Think about how your action may have changed their day, then think about who they might tell or help as a result of your action. From there, the people they help will help others, and this cycle will continue. This leads to a beautiful and never ending path of positivity, love, and connection. This is the ripple effect. This is how each of us has the power to change the world.
Think about a time someone changed your life in a positive way with something they said or did. That impact stays with you and, without that moment, you may not be where you are now. I’ve been told things that have saved my life and, without this, I wouldn’t be here doing the work to reach out to others who have survived incredible difficulty. These people and their words, whether they know it or not, changed my world. I have now gone on to influence yours and the others I work with, and you may take what I share and change others lives. We are all collectively sharing the impacts others have on us. When those impacts are positive, the entire world can change as the result of one action from each of us.
How To Change the World, Starting Today
You can start by setting the intention of doing one kind thing for someone, once a day. It could be as simple as sending a hello message to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, or as intense as volunteering for an entire day. Do what you and your abilities can handle, but set the intention of trying to impact someone’s world nonetheless.
When deciding upon your action, focus on something that does not require reciprocation from the other person. True acts of kindness are ones we do from a place of unconditional love, rather than with the desire for a returned favor.
In your own head, create a mental flowchart of how your action may impact that person and the other people in their lives. Even if you know nothing about them, come up with a fictional story of how their life may be affected. This simple moment of reflection will help you honor the great impact of each and every act you bring into this world.
If you regularly commit acts of kindness, try taking a leap into helping in a way you’re less comfortable with. Bold acts of kindness are usually even more impactful! Several months ago, I did this by speaking with a woman in a cafe who was crying. For a long time, I had imagined having the guts to interact with a vividly upset stranger, but I had never acted on this intention in the moment. This time, I did, and we talked for an hour about surprisingly similar pasts with abuse, mental illness, and living in an unfamiliar city. Both of our worlds were completely changed.
The Positive Impact This Practice Will Have on You
When we see how even a small action can change the world, we suddenly feel more empowered. We realize that each and every time we interact with another human being, we are potentially playing a part in changing the way they and everyone they know lives in this world. If you have ever felt disempowered, this single practice can help you reclaim that power and give a sense of meaning to your life.
Recognizing the ripple effect helps us feel more connected to all fellow humans as well. When we interact with a single person, we can now realize it is not just them we affect. Empathy and responsibility also grow, since we recognize all actions—including negative ones—can have such an impact. As a result, we will naturally act with more pure and loving intentions, effectively changing the world more and more.
Related reading: We Are Accountable For Our Own Joy
Just like in an ocean, one ripple spreads infinitely outwards in the water. Each action of yours also has the ability to infinitely spread throughout humanity, making a difference to millions of people. You are powerful, world-changing, and transformative.
I’d love to hear how inspiring of a person you are!
Think about a time you helped someone and come up with a story of the potential impact of your action. If you have plans to make a difference soon, I’d love to hear those ideas too. Share one or both stories below, then share this blog with your friends to continue the power of this ripple effect!