When we think of making the world a better place, we think about the heroes of the past. The image of Gandhi wearing the traditional Indian dhoti wrapped around his waist and legs, sitting cross-legged on the floor comes to mind. Some might record, instead, the image of Rosa Parks, quietly refusing to move from her bus seat in Montgomery, an act that is said to have raised awareness about the civil rights movements.
Perhaps you prefer to imagine Nelson Mandela sitting in his cell in South Africa, patiently hoping for the world to catch up with his values. We all have in mind a clear idea of what a modern-day hero looks like, of what it means to make the world a better place. But Gandhi, Parks, Mandela, while they are at the center of big changes to the world, started with little things. For Parks, it was all about sitting on a bus. For Gandhi, the most memorable first act for India was to refuse to pay British salt taxes. It’s hard to know whether the world still needs heroes such as Parks or Mandela, but the truth is that there is still plenty we could improve. And you could be part of it.
Choose a career that drives changes
Changing the world is a big project. Where do you start? Admittedly, there is no such thing as a degree in world changing science. How<ever, there are career paths that can help you to transform outdated or discriminatory practices. Law experts from the University of Southern California can provide support to human causes all over the world, for instance. They can also help to create safer trading and business agreements between international companies, which can help to develop impoverished areas. If you love the idea of getting to know and understand people at a one-to-one level, a diplomatic career can provide the platform you need to ease tensions between foreign countries – typically a master’s degree in political science or international relations is an excellent starting point. However, if you are an introverted personality who prefers to work away from the public, scientific research can offer fantastic career perspectives.
Try to understand foreign cultures
Do you need a college degree to make a difference in the world?
The real answer is that there is more than one way to create positive changes. A degree means that you can make it your job to make a difference. However, there are other solutions. The world is a big place, full of people with ideas, values, and expectations that might be miles away from yours. Ultimately, can there be a more significant difference to the world than learning to accept all its differences? Sometimes, it doesn’t take much more than experiencing and sharing cultural events with others to bring our hearts to beat the same melody. Be brave, book a trip abroad to the Wakakusa Yamayaki festival in Japan or the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Make the festival your excuse to observe and appreciate people. Understanding each other can make all the difference in the world.
Focus on the little things
You can’t live your life like a fairytale, wishing for peace in the world and calorie-free cakes for everybody. Of course, we all dream of waking up in a peaceful, happy, and healthy environment. But you can’t move mountains overnight. However, you can move little rocks. One by one, pebble after pebble, you can indeed move the biblical mountain over time if you focus on the little things. Indeed, small things are achievable, and because you can make them happen, they’re more likely to have an impact. A positive network such as Good News Network, for instance, has made a priority to share positive events with its readers. They focus on the little things everybody can do, such as offering costume options for kids in a wheelchair or capturing an emotional fist-bump between a toddler and a woman who were both born without one hand.
Change your attitude
How you interact with the world can have many invisible consequences. Think of a stranger who smiles at you in the street. Even though you don’t know each other, you find yourself smiling back at them. No gesture is more contagious than a smile; but more importantly, the act of smiling itself spreads joy, to yourself and to those who see you. Try starting the day with a smile. Creating a space for positivity makes it easier to let go of negative thoughts and practices.
Don’t we all dream of a better and safer world? But you have the power to make a difference, through your career, your attitude or your commitment to understanding foreign cultures. Ultimately, you have to start with the little things to build momentum.