I don’t watch the news on t.v. I don’t read the newspaper, online, or a hard copy. I know almost nothing about current events beyond the small bits of information I glean from conversations. I am not trying to be ignorant, I am trying to surround myself with positivity, and our modern news is not at all about that. So, I put myself on an information diet. I worked to control the input of information in to my life. Maybe I am ignorantly happy, or maybe we already have enough negativity in the world without me adding to it.

Have you noticed how much negativity there is in the world? This is easy to see in the way people speak, and their use of limiting phrases like “I don’t care,” or “it doesn’t matter.” The focus right now is on what cannot be achieved, not what can be done. I don’t know, maybe people are bombarded by so many distractions and so much negativity in the media that they have been conditioned to think with limitations. Or maybe, we have become discouraged by the state of the world. We expected hover boards and floating cars and we got Instagram.

Regardless of the negativity, being a force for good means giving more than you get every single day. That is it. Nothing complicated. Just give to others, and you will be surprised to find how much you get in return even when you give without expectations.

Give More Than You Get

There is a pervading idea that if you do not get something from helping another than it isn’t worth the time. This, “what’s in it for me?” concept dictates that every action you take needs to benefit you. Doing good for the sake of doing good is lost to playing angles, looking for deals, and seeing how you can leverage the struggles of others for your own gain.

The irony of this, is that by doing the right thing without expectation of anything in return you usually receive greater gains. But, sometimes shortsightedness makes us look at what is directly in front of us. What are we going to gain right now, instead of, how can I help?

Why Giving Matters

Doing good is a personal choice, and I am not telling you to go out of your way to help others. If you don’t see the value in it, then do not do it.

But, from experience I can tell you that helping others often brings unintended rewards. What is more, these rewards mean more because they come unexpected, not at the expense of someone who needs help.

Giving actually creates value for yourself and others.

The other fear many people have is job security, or decreasing one’s value by helping others succeed. There is a worry that by helping someone gain new, valuable skills to get ahead, by giving away “trade secrets,” or by teaching someone how to win you cut yourself off at the knees.

I have never had this happen to me. In fact, the opposite has always occurred. Not only do I learn from giving to others and doing good, about myself and about being a better leader, person, mentor, and coach, but I become more valuable to others. My indispensability increases, not decreases. Giving actually creates value for yourself and others.

Investing In Doing Good

Finally, giving lets people know that you are playing a long game. You are investing in yourself and others. Instead of finding and taking any shortcut or quick and easy route, you are playing for keeps.

This means you already know and understand that shortcuts only get you so far and that at some point you need to invest in good values. People want to work with those that do the right thing, because doing good business, making good money, partaking in good actions, means that you can be trusted to do right when things come to a head. Because they will.

Not everything will go as planned, and when those unexpected situations occur people will seek out role models to discover how they should respond. Being a force for good, instead of spreading darkness, will make you that person. Living a life as a force of good all starts with giving more than you get. Give without expectation of anything in return because things will work out just fine in the end.

Stop wasting your time trying to change the world. You never will. We’re all idealists, thinking that with a paintbrush, an idea, or a bit of work we can change the world. By focusing on the grand action, the big display, we live under a delusion about our lives.

Stop listening to the people that care about you. “You can do anything you want.” “The sky is the limit.” “You can change the world.” No, you can’t. But, that’s alright. There are much better ways to live then spending your life chasing an impossible ideal that distracts you from true purpose.

We are not the first generation that has ever wanted to change the world and the world. Your parents wanted to change the world. Your grandparents wanted to change the world. Is the world perfect? Have all of our social problems been solved? Changing the world is just another form of looking in the box , which distracts us from seeing the possibility for change when presented before us.

Does Change Matter?

We’re looking towards the prime movers of our age who are pushing the boundaries of possibilities through grand actions, and think we can do that too. So we start with the biggest goals possible, the largest actions, and fail because we sought to build a skyscraper without first laying a foundation.

We want to end poverty, but have never volunteered at a homeless shelter.

Grand actions start with the status quo and build from there. Everything new started with something old. Grand actions are okay, but what is not okay is grand actions taking the place of action. What often happens is our grand actions are so large, such pipe dreams, that they prevent us from acting all together. We think we can end hunger, yet we don’t know how to grow a stalk of corn. We want to end poverty, but have never volunteered at a homeless shelter. We’ve jumped to the end of the process, but skipped all the steps in between. We have not put in the time to understand what needs to be done.

Can I change the World?

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be? Change does not occur unless survival depends on it. We change for our own survival, to keep the status quo or to align ourselves with who we want to be for our own happiness. That’s the only reason change occurs. Change does not occur because something is noble or right. Change occurs out of the imperative extinction or growth. This is very different from viewing change as occurring from the spring of ideals.

Idealism is good for nothing but dreaming on your front porch. Action is the point where idealism meets reality. Seek action, even if you must compromise your idealist dreams of the world because acting gets you further along than forming animals with the clouds in the sky.

A partial solution acted upon is better than a perfect solution dreamed about. The world is a cauldron of negativity right now. Instead of attacking partial solutions, praise good work executed to any degree and strive to do your own good work.

How Can I Change My Life?

You act. Our stupid minds like to over complicate things. We like to mull things through over and over again, thinking about this contingency and that possibility. But, changing your life is really quite easy. This is t

  1. Where are you now in life?
  2. Where do you want to be in life?
  3. What happens if you never become that person?
  4. If you can’t live with yourself if you don’t become that person you will change.
  5. If you can live with yourself, you won’t change.

People do not change if their survival does not depend on it. That’s okay. If you haven’t changed yet and are feeling guilty about it, don’t. You have yet to find the thing worth changing for. You have yet to find the thing worth connecting to and going all in on. Your life hasn’t yet required you level up.

Is Change Right for You?

We are not all meant for changing the world. Some of us can be spectacular number two or number three people, taking orders and carrying out important missions. But, your attempt to be a number one, a prime mover, might be distracting you from achieving your full impact. Maybe you can accomplish more working for SpaceX than you can trying to be Elon Musk. That doesn’t make you less valuable or less accomplished. That makes you more self aware.

Finally, if you talk to anyone who has been involved in anything big, a social movement, human rights activism, pushing the boundaries of what is possible, you will discover that many did not seek to change their lives or the world. Change found them.

They were put in a position where they had to act. Their principles and the situation made standing by and doing nothing impossible. But, they never sought to change the world, to make the news, or leave a legacy. These things happened with they answered the call to action. They wanted to do what was right, and doing right meant acting to create massive change.

Change did not appeared, but was realized because of an openness to answer a calling. So, right now, you need to ask yourself, am I open to possibility or am I so focused on a grand action or pushing change that I’m living with tunnel vision? Am I so focused on wanting to creating change that I miss opportunities for change? Good intentions can blind us to possibilities, are you blinded by what you think you should be doing with your life and closed off to things life wants you to do?