How to Make a Difference to the World

How to Make a Difference to the World

Many people believe that they don’t have what it takes to make a difference to the world. They believe only people like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and the likes, are capable of making a difference.

The truth is, every one of us is put in this world to contribute and make a difference to the world in our own unique way. It need not be anything out of the world. It just needs to be something you do with the intention of ‘doing good’.

The following is a guide as to how small people like us can make a difference to the world.

How To Make a Difference

1. It Need Not Be an Enormous Task

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” – Mother Teresa

You already have what it takes to make the world a better place. Making a difference to the world may seem like an enormous task, but it is in fact the collective effort of everyone to make small contributions with a lot of heart.

The size of the contribution is not what matters most. The key here is to have the heart to do it.

2. Start Now

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

There is no one best time to start to make a difference to the world. You don’t need to wait till you have the time to share some love; you don’t have to wait till you make more money to share a slice of bread. Little efforts count, and you can start making small contributions today.

3. Your Contribution is Never Too Small

“Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.” – Author Unknown

If you think that everything has been taken care of by somebody and your contribution is not going to make much of a difference, then you’re wrong. Can you imagine if everyone else starts to think the same way?

In fact, it is our responsibility to seek ways to contribute, large and small. You don’t have to be concerned you’re only capable of making small contributions. What counts is the effort.

4. The Greatest Gifts of All

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha

Happiness and love are the two greatest gifts you can give to the world. Too often, we’re too indulged in our own gratifications that we forget there are people in this world whom we can make a little happier and feel more loved.

As the saying goes, “To receive, you must first give.” The more you give, the more you’ll receive. Let us remind ourselves that in order to receive more happiness and love, let’s spread more of them first.

5. Empower Other People

“Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.” – Dale Carnegie

You can change the world by helping one person at a time. One of the ways to help someone is to empower the person. But how do you empower a person? Well, one of the ways is to be generous in giving praise and encouragement instead of criticism.

By praising and encouraging the person, you’d have helped him/her to accomplish what he/she is meant to be, and that would lead to more value being added to the world.

6. Seek to Make a Long-Lasting Effect

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.” – Benjamin Disraeli

This is Mr Disraeli’s version of ‘give a man a fish; you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.’

The good that we seek to do will make more of a difference when there’s a long-lasting effect rather than a temporary effect. For example, if we make contributions to build a school, it will benefit many people for years to come.

And when more people receive education, they will in turn provide more value to the world.

7. Stop Whining and Do Something

“If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

All the whining and complaining in the world is not going to make a difference to the world. It will only drain you of your precious energy from doing things that do make a difference.

Instead of whining and complaining, seek to use the time more productively by engaging in activities that matter. When it comes to making a difference, nothing matters more than taking actions.

8. Lead the Way

“A good example has twice the value of good advice.” – Author Unknown

Other than doing things to make a difference, we should also seek to influence others to start doing things that make a difference. And the best way to convince other people is to lead by example.

Start doing whatever is within your ability today. Start showing more concern and love to the people around you. Start to make monthly donations to your favourite charity. Start putting more effort in your work to increase the value output.

Every effort counts, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem. Just do something, and do something good.

Do you have other suggestions on how we can make a difference to the world? Please share them in the comment section below.

Photo by The Wandering Angel

Mark Foo

This post was written by Mark Foo.

Latest posts by Mark Foo (see all)

54 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post. I’ve become more convinced recently that one of the biggest contributions I can make to the world is just giving someone my full attention when I’m talking to them, and letting them know that way that they’re valued and appreciated. It may seem minor at first glance, but several people have told me it’s a great gift.

    Reply
    • Really listening to someone can change thier entire perspective of the world, and to me that changes the whole world. Im sure those people that you listen to and pay attention to will in turn do the same for others.

      Reply
    • This is so very true. :)

      Reply
    • very true,,this small lil things can bring big changes in one’s life..:) :)

      Reply
    • Ok I absolutely love this post. I’m only 16 but I want to make a difference in the world. I need help with people noticing me while I talk about but I do. But thanks for this post.

      Reply
  2. I love reading this stuff just before heading to work! It really gives me reason and will to live my day to the fullest and try to make a difference to other people’s lives. Mindfulness and compassion is something I try to practice daily when speaking to others, it’s a win win situation to get yourself into!

    Reply
  3. This is a really awesome post, one thing I am reminded of, since you mentioned Mahatma Gandhi, was his quote: “prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement, properly understood and applied it is the most potent instrument of action.” I think he was speaking literally, so for me this is a great way to make a difference in the world.

    Reply
  4. Hi Mark

    I love the phrase .. happiness and love are the two greatest gifts we can give the world .. whether that world is just around us, or if we’re lucky to a wider world ..

    We have the heart and we just need to start .. and we need to acknowledge everyone and say thank you for the things we receive, or are done for our loved ones …

    Many thanks – Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

    Reply
  5. Hi Mark,

    Sometimes we think that our effort are too small to be recognize but if everyone is thinking like this, then there will be no one making the effort to make the world a better place. So the thing to do is to just do something, a small effort is better than no effort.

    Cheers
    Vincent
    Personal Development Blogger

    Reply
  6. Mark,

    Thank you for this guest post; it is very inspiring!

    I like the way you focus on helping people develop the right attitude. That is, we can each make a positive difference to the world if we are willing to accept this fact, stop making excuses and just get on with it (no matter how small it is!).

    Peter Clemens

    Reply
  7. Absolutely great post!

    It’s good to help people, I personally don’t have the resources to do large things for people, so I always try to help with small things. You don’t have to be rich to help other people!

    Reply
  8. @Chris Edgar: You’re spot on! Giving someone your full attention will indeed make him/her feel much valued and appreciated. And it is definitely a great gift, both to you and people you pay attention to.

    @Chris: I’m glad this article has inspired you to make a difference to the world in your own unique way. Now I know this article has achieved its objective of making a difference to the world for it has inspired you.

    @Julian: I’m glad you like the post. And thank you for sharing another of Mahatma Ghandi’s quote. He was indeed a very wise man.

    @Hillary: I agree with you. We need to say ‘Thank You’ for everything we receive and appreciate our own good fortune.

    @Vincent: Yes, a small effort is better than no effort. We don’t have to be concerned about the size of the effort as long as it comes from the bottom of your heart. Nothing beats something that comes from the heart.

    @Peter: Thank you for accepting this guest post! It’s been my honour and pleasure. And I like your attitude of stop making excuses and just get on with it. Awesome!

    @Arjen: Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed this article. And you’re right. You don’t have to be rich to help other people. I hope more people will think the same way.

    Thank you guys for sharing your thoughts. It’s been a great pleasure to hear from you. :)

    Cheers~

    Mark

    Reply
  9. I agree with your first point. It’s a bit of a snow ball effect. Much like creating a habit, it is probably best that the task is not enourmous.

    I would also add to your list that a lot of people would make a difference in the world if more people would take responsibility for their actions. This coincides with a previous article on this blog, 5 Fundamentals for Success in Life.

    Very nice post!

    Reply
  10. I like this saying:

    “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha

    Once I talked tomy friend and ask him if he like what he was doing for a living. He said not really.
    I ask why?
    He said that his current job is not making a big difference for people.
    I ask what didn”t he find different job and make a difference.
    He said that “I want to make a big difference but it is only me and there is nothing I can do, so I would rather stay where I am”

    Most people just don’t believe they can make a difference so they don’t even try

    Great post

    Reply
  11. Excellent post Mark, I love points 2 and 3. So simple yet so true!

    Great guest post.

    Cheers,
    Glen

    Reply
  12. Beautiful post. Thank you.

    Reply
  13. @Happiness is Better: I agree with you about the snow ball effect. A huge amount of small contributions make up to a large amount of differences.

    @Peter Levin: It’s sad that people don’t see the value in small contributions. Even small value is better than no value.

    @Glen: I’m glad you like the post. There are a lot of things in life that are simple yet powerful. More often than not, human beings like to turn simple things into something complicated just so to prove their ‘sophistication’.

    Cheers~

    Mark

    Reply
  14. @Happiness is Better: I agree with you about the snow ball effect. A huge amount of small contributions make up to a large amount of differences.

    @Peter Levin: It’s sad that people don’t see the value in small contributions. Even small value is better than no value.

    @Glen: I’m glad you like the post. There are a lot of things in life that are simple yet powerful. More often than not, human beings like to turn simple things into something complicated just so to prove their ‘sophistication’.

    Cheers~

    Reply
  15. Hi Mark,

    Just wanted to say that this is a really great read! #5 stands out to me a lot. It is also my life goal. I love encouraging people, especially teenagers, to be all they can be.

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

    Reply
  16. @Jeremy: Glad that you enjoyed it! I, too, do my best to encourage people whenever I can. This will not only empower them, but will also empower myself. It’s a great feeling. :)

    Cheers~

    Mark

    Reply
  17. Hi Mark I could not agree more witht he statment
    “All the whining and complaining in the world is not going to make a difference to the world. It will only drain you of your precious energy from doing things that do make a difference.”
    I myself feel SO much better when I don”t focus on “What is” but simply on how I would like things to be! That is a so much better feeling isn’t!
    thanks for your post

    Reply
  18. Hey don’t we all have a little megalomania in us? After all, our thoughts are the only ones running through our head, and what we do throughout the day is the only thing we see. So, when we think of changing the world, we tend to look at it from perceptive of a megalomaniac. Hoards of people whispering to one another, pointing in our direction, ‘is that him?’, ‘there he is…that is him!!!!!’

    Then we walk into the room like Bono, Tony Robbins, or the Dalai Llama, a rockstar in our own right. We own the crowd and their adoration. We are a demigod.

    Ok, so maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about, but that is what my personal view of “changing the world” first emerged as.

    Over time I’ve realized that concept was based in immaturity, ego, and too much TV. ;-)

    I like the pond & ripples analogy. Everything I do when coming in contact with another person has the ability to ripple through the lives of millions of people through the vessel of emotional contagion that can end up manifesting as a tidal wave – of love, jealousy, introspection, sarcasm, empathy, or courage – crashing on the shore of some tropical island half way around the world.

    But there will be no whispering crowds, and even if there were, in reality, it would probably just make me uncomfortable.

    Derek @ NüHabits

    Reply
  19. Every life matters. Everyone has value. Little things mean a lot.

    This is a wonderful post!

    “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” — Dr. Leonardo Buscaglia

    “For it is in giving that we receive.” — St. Francis of Assisi

    “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” — Mother Teresa

    Reply
  20. This site was very helpful. I was researching info for my next blog post and came across this, some really great tips. I especially like #7! I linked this post to my blog which will come up later this week, check it out…www.veeda.tumblr.com

    Reply
  21. Great Work .. Magnificent!

    Reply
  22. i really enjoyed all of it but what really struck me the most was the fact that it is written that the size of the contribution is not what that matters but the heart you take to do it.i hope new ideas keep flushing in day-to-day.This statement has and will keep helping me a lot. Thanks.

    Reply
  23. If my life could be viewed as a round of golf -then I’m on th back nine and hoping to post a better score than the front nine! I also have the benefit of knowing what worked and what didn’t. Your post is a perfect example of ‘what’s really important’. The only real influence we have is upon those around us and we have a duty to be ‘generous in our approbation and lavish with our praise’. We are each of us better people for the better people we have met. Keep up the good work inspiring, enthusing and motivating – there’s not enough of it about.

    Reply
  24. Hi Mark,

    It’s really great post Mark!!! It looks like the thinking of most of the common people, who want to do something but because of their this thinking never use to get courage to start.

    Thanks again!!!

    Reply
  25. Really good stuff! I enjoy making people smile. Just a simple smile and hello. I have recently stopped watching daily news because of all of the negative feelings it can sometimes give me about what the world is. I try to read blogs like these, and smile and be friendly to people. It can seem so overwhelming to think of how to ‘save the world’. One step at a time, and sometimes baby steps are all it takes to make a difference in someones day, or life. Reading this blog, and the comments from everyone makes me want to give even more. Thanks again
    Dave..

    Reply
  26. Thanks, Mark.
    This is exactly what I needed right now.

    Reply
  27. This is what I’ve been dreaming. As Mahatma Gandhi said, ” you must be the change you wish to see in the world” Yeah, you’ve to be a really change you wish to see if you feel you’ve to. As others fellow said above, just nowing the little contribution is better than nothing. So, please let as small contributor in our life in different way.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  28. Hmmm. A moment of great clarity for me. I quietly prayed right before I googled “how can I make an impact in this world?” And I found this blog about three searches down. Funny how my concept of contribution .. Sounded more like personal success. Sure I can sing but if my reason for singing is to gratify my need for glory then what was the point?

    I can sing a song to a child and soothe their fears and provide comfort, and that grows up to be a teacher or doctor because that moment of love forever changed their life. Small just might be better. In a world where we are bombarded with “super-size” and “high roller” life styles…where for a moment may seem appealing, we were not all made to stand in the spotlight. But for that one person we touch…we are definitely their star!

    Reply
  29. hey mark i am thiteen and i want to help with famin relief in africa but its a whole continent away i am only a skater with some friends please help me because i dont just want to donate money i want to spend time with the people meet them learn there culture. please help.

    thanks blair

    Reply
    • If you are truly set on helping these people, the easiest most affordable way would be to reduce the amount of animal products you eat. I don’t want to get into the details of it but to make a long story short it takes more food to feed an animal that feeds you rather than just feeding yourself without the need of the animal.

      Reply
  30. Thank you Mark, you have just reminded me why I teach yoga in the first place.
    Thank you again!
    Emmanuelle

    Reply
  31. Wonderful blog on how to change the world. And really nice to see people have stopped by and commented. I believe in no pain no gain. When life is tough and difficult life is taking you on a journey and teaching you to be a better person. Without pain and financial struggles you will never know another persons sorrow. You have to keep fighting and when you win you must remember how bad you felt and how you never want another person to feel the same way. The problem with educated people in Government they have never felt financial pain so have no idea what it is like for the little people in this world. Remember the tax payer pays the Government’s wages so who is in control really?

    Sadly not many people believe they can change things, because they have not even tried. It is always worth trying and it is better to say “at least I gave it my best shot.” Instead of looking back with regrets. Sadly people can bully others to put up and shut up when they stand up and shout things need to change and I am going to do something about it. You are treated like an alien, instead of commended for fighting verbally for a better world for all our children.

    Ignore the bullies and keep smiling and fighting verbally as we do not need to hurt people and cause them pain. Team up with others that dream the same dream and together we can move mountains.

    My name is Sharon J. Bainbridge and I hope to one day make sure struggling Mothers get the support they need to provide for their children without getting ripped off! I write for free for London Mum’s Magazine where I blog about arts and crafts for children. I believe our children deserve a better world and believe me their are plenty of rich and powerful people that could make this happen. If only they stopped thinking about themselves!

    Reply
    • Amazing comment only one question, how do we team up to fight the “bullies”?

      Reply
  32. Wow I really loved this post! It’s so encouraging! I’m glad there are people like you in this world Mark. I really feel that if every tried to make a difference in this world there wouldn’t be so much crime,crisis,even natural damages are cause by us humans. Such as Global Warming and pollution,all these things can be stopped. Famine,Animal Cruelty,Poverty. If all of these things really concerned everyone,they’d help out to stop this suffering once and for all! I will continue to try to help out and ask me mom to take me to shelters and difference cleaning sites where I can help the world be a better place. I want to set an example for the world and my little sister! You have shown me that just because I’m only twelve or just because I’m not the richest kid,that I can make a huge difference in this world! Thank You!

    Reply
  33. I enjoy helping people, I enjoy giving when I can, I enjoy helping other’s, I giving my time to people when they need just someone to be there for them. I love life, but sometimes bad people bring me down and then people see one side which is the upset side of me. I know I ca nmake a differance in the world just by either speaking, helping, giving and listening.

    Reply
  34. I know it is my fault that I let mean people bring me down because I have a soft heart and for some reason people seen to find my soft spot in my heart and poke at it to bring me down. I just have to become stronger when it comes to dealing with difficult people like that.

    Reply
    • dear hk,

      never let anybody make you feel bad for wanting to help others. the world could use more selfless people like you.

      Reply
    • Just think that no one was born mean, they endured an experience that resulted in them being mean. Someone such as yourself who is kind and soft may actually be stronger than those mean people because you have the courage to show your true heart and stand up for what you believe is right. Never give in.

      Reply
  35. Hello my name is morgan i am 13,I want to help people in africa because they need food more than i need toys and other…..i need addresses to places in africa so i can send stuff there please help!!!- I have a box of mixed things i want to send there but i have not found an address i need some help please

    also make sure you go to youtube and look up kony 2012 watch the whole thing you will want to make a change to!!!!!

    Reply
  36. I always wanted to make a difference but i always thought that a 14 year old isn`t capable of making a difference but your article help make realize that anybody is capable of making a difference.

    Reply
  37. Don’t argue with the people that should be working with you, because if they don’t want to fight for something, then you need to move on and think about the bigger picture.

    Reply
  38. I think that we can help the world by working together. First think we need to do is plant more trees plant gardens. Plant plant plant! Then we all need to recycle more, reuse bottles. We need to step up and realize that we are hurting the world it’s not healthy for us. We also need to stop littering big problem in the world. LETS ALL WORK TOGETHER AND MAKE A CHANGE!!!!!!

    Reply
  39. Hey Mark I just wanted to reply to your article because this has truly inspired me and helped my intentions to be sharper and better. I am almost 18 and I am grateful that I get to take part on this movement and mentality. I can be a butt at times but i wish i found out about this earlier because i would of been nicer. Doing something good feels awesome and i hope people will notice my optimistic energy towards being kind and helpful. Life wasnt going so well the past year but it dosent mean i cant make peoples lives better so i always had the mantality to make peoples day

    -Myke Kadava

    Reply
  40. Awesome.its great to see so much good people in one sitting :) inspiring

    Reply
  41. I completely agree. I truly want to do something meaningful with my life, I want to make a difference for someone else. Can someone tell me where to go to get started? I’m not interested in the military, I’d just really like to hear some sort of suggestion.

    Reply
    • Read books. Books have vast amounts of knowledge and wisdom. From books you will find what truly speaks to you. Don’t stop looking until you find what you are looking for.

      Reply
  42. A very informative post indeed. These are all valuable lessons to carry in life, it’s amazing how far we can get by spreading positive energy. Not only does it make our own life easier and more enjoyable, but you become a character whom people enjoy being around. You might even plant a seed in their head and inspire them to follow your example. Peace!

    Reply
  43. What a fantastic article Mark – I am sharing it

    Reply
  44. Very inspiring article! It has lead me in a search of many more inspirational blogs and websites that contribute to making the world a better place.

    Thank you mark for starting such a positive change in people’s lives. We need more inspirational people.

    Reply
  45. Great thoughts Mark! Number 5 was especially inspiring. Each of us are impacted each day by ordinary heroes who make a difference in our lives. Celebrating their service is important to them…and changes us! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply

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