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046: The Top 5 Tools to Make a Positive Difference in the World (Without Adding More to Your To-Do List)

make a positive difference

Listen Here and Now to Make a Positive Difference

Who’s got extra time on their hands? Not many of us activists. Here are 5 ways to make a positive difference without adding to your to-do list.


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Highlights from the Episode

Note:  I’m making a big assumption here.  I’m assuming you’re not a couch potato and are already active.  I know the title says this won’t add more to your to-do list. I tried to make that true for most people but it might not be 100% true for you.  Take what you can from these tools. No pressure or judgment.


1. Upgrades

Take something you really enjoy and use a more ethical version.  For me, I started with coffee. I drank it everyday and went to coffee shops regularly.  To make a positive difference in the world, I upgraded my coffee and only drink ethically-sourced (better than fair trade) coffee.  It didn’t add any more to my to-do list since I was already drinking coffee but now I am making a positive difference with every cup I drink.  You’re already using a product with a more ethical version, make an upgrade to that version and make a positive difference in the world.


2. Charitable Giving

Don’t underestimate the value of those donations you give to your 1-2 favorite charities.  In fact, your consistent, focused engagement over time is key to making a lasting impact. Give. Read letters and reports.  Volunteer at the same place you give. As you’re invited, ask tough questions. Invite your friends and family to get involved.  You’re already giving, staying informed, and volunteering, simply focus on 1-2 nonprofits for maximum impact and make a positive difference in the world.


3. What You Already Have

If it ain’t broke… don’t replace it.  This is a great guideline for a lot of things but my favorite one is technology.  We don’t need the latest and greatest all the time. We can use less environmental resources by only replacing technology when it breaks.  This could actually remove some items from your to-do list. No more standing in lines for a new release or keeping tabs on what’s in the pipeline.  You’re already using a great piece of technology, keep using it until it breaks and make a positive difference in the world.


4. Your Mouth

This seems intuitive.  Stand up for what you believe. You cannot change the world by yourself.  I’d encourage you to take it a step further. Use your mouth to build deeper relationships and build them with people different from you.  To do this, transform your small talk to big talk. Ask deeper questions. Talk about what really matters. When you’re in a room with lots of people (a networking event, a party, or even at a bar), seek out those who seem different from you.  You’re already talking to people, transform the way you talk and to whom you talk and make a positive difference in the world.


5. Your Ears

As you go about your day, pay attention.  Listen actively. Be present where you are. No one makes a positive difference except where they are.  You’re already going about your day, transform the way you listen and make the world a better place.

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