10 Simple Ways to Change the World

When I first thought of changing the world around me, I thought in terms of Superman and Batman. Maybe transmuting into a man of steel or owning a multi-billionaire firm with a secret Batcave was a cool idea, but definitely not practical for me on a short-term basis. This was me in my teens, in case you were wondering.

How to change the world?

As a doctor, I had dreamt of many big shot ways on changing the world around me, but nothing actually happened until one day I decided to act- that is, to do actual stuff by stepping out into the world. I took a break from my higher studies preparation and went on to join the National Rural Health Mission, which provided me the privilege of interacting with almost hundred patients a day (it’s because there is no fee for consultation) and helped me understand more about diseases.

I was (slightly) surprised to find that many of the patients suffered from ‘generalized unhappiness and discomfort’ rather than a proper disease. Although it’s common at the urban level, I wasn’t really expecting it from the rural side. I started asking more questions to my patients and hence, learning more; and I realized that most of these so-called ‘diseases’ had more of psychological roots rather than pathological roots.

Now, I am not some sort of social guru or anything that remotely floats around the concept of ‘self-help’, and I am in no way practicing these things perfectly. But just like I am trying hard to stick to these, I ask you to try it out and start seeing the difference like I am seeing it around me.

The 10 Simple Things

1. More Eye Contact

Start by looking people in their eye while talking. I don’t know whether this is the most important of all simple things- or the most overlooked of all habits, but this certainly is one of the most basic habits one should develop.

It’s said that your eyes are the mirror of your mind- and it’s true enough. When you don’t look a person into the eye, it creates an air of concealment and let’s say it’s rather rude to do that (unless it is considered polite in some cultures, especially while talking to a higher/royal authority).

But aren’t we supposed to discuss things that can change the world? Yes, this is how we do it. We begin from within.

“Eye contact is way more intimate than words can ever be.”

2. Smile More

There is nothing more awesome than a smile. Or maybe there is, but right now I can’t think of any. Smiling helps to build confidence, reduces stress and spreads the positive energy in you to the ones around you. Not only does this simple act make others feel better, you gain much more from it. It’s a win-win for everyone.

In case you haven’t heard yet, smiling (and more importantly- laughing) prevents diseases like diabetes (type 2), heart disease, high blood pressure and believe it or not- obesity. Now it’s common for one to wonder, and as some people have rightly pointed out- how can we smile when we are not happy and expect these results to happen?

Good news is- you can smile even if you’re not happy and still get the benefits of a smile. When you smile, the muscle-neurons send messages to the brain. The brain, who has been accustomed since your childhood to evaluate the stretching of these muscles as a sign of happiness, assumes that you are happy and sends necessary messages for releasing the ‘happiness’ hormones.

These ‘happiness hormones’ will boost your health and in turn, spread the good vibes. Now, this might not sound very scientific, but I’ve tried to write this in a language that’s more suitable for common people rather than medical heads. So pardon me for the unprofessional vocabulary.

Now, laughing aloud has shown to have much more improved results than smiling, but since it will turn some heads and raise some eyebrows if you did it in public for apparently no reason, it is recommended you stick to just smiling in public.

“Turn that frown upside down.”

3. Be Kind

Being kind takes courage, for it is human nature to reflect what’s holding within. When you haven’t been exposed to kindness, it’s hard to be kind to others; but trust me, it’s not tough.

When I talk to most of my patients with depression, I found out that most of this ‘mean’ attitude they have to others is a reflection of how they were treated in their life. But being mean just propagates the negative energy that you have within you. It decays you as well as others around you.

To be nice to others, you don’t have to start by donating loads of money or fund an orphanage. When you talk to someone, just greet them with a smile and genuinely spend some time to show that he/she is being cared.

Just saw a guy with a frown on his face? Ask him what’s wrong; tell him that you’re there if you need to talk.

“The most valuable gift you can give someone is your time.”

4. Complain Less

Don’t get me wrong here. I know that the ‘Complaint Box’ exists because people have the right to point out the mistakes others are doing- because there is a possibility that others are actually wrong and you are right. As long as the freedom of expression remains valid, you can and you should complain about the things that aren’t working out well.

Complain in a more edible and positive way; in English, it’s also known as ‘request’. By practicing the simple habit of requesting to those who can make a change about the grievances you suffer, you can eliminate a significant spread of the negative vibes that sucks the life out of people who are trying to have a good day.

Stop complaining unnecessarily. Stop blaming people for everything that goes wrong in your life. Stop spreading the negativism; the world already has a huge load of negative energy waste; stop contributing to that slush pile.

5. Stay Positive

Preventing yourself from creating negativism is just not enough to change the world. To change it, you need to supply it with positive energy.

Stopping yourself from speaking negative things or engaging in hate is not enough; you need to propagate the good. Practice saying positive words, compliment people for their goodness, stop preaching at your dear ones to change their ‘bad’ attitude (unless they ask for it). Believe in the good. Believe in success. Believe in yourself.

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”
-Helen Keller

6. Lend A Hand

Not everyone is fortunate as you. And definitely, you are not as fortunate as many.

Everyone fights their own internal war just like you do and the best thing you can do is lend a helping hand to those in need. Forgive me if I sound too “Biblical,” it has nothing to do with faith or religion. I’m not asking you to be Christian, for Christ’s sake. (We’ve enough people fighting in the name of faith.)

Just be a good “human” helping out another “human” in need.

7. Express gratitude

As I’ve mentioned above, it takes courage to be kind.

Is someone being nice to you? Return the kindness. Has anyone lent a hand? Maybe spend a minute or two with you? Express your gratitude. Just like most of us “expect” something in return reflexively, there is a chance that they’re expecting something too.

An expression of gratitude costs nothing but can prevent a do-gooder from getting disheartened. It builds positive momentum. And nothing changes the world like positive momentum.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it.” -William Arthur Ward

8. Appreciate The Present

Past can’t be changed. Future can’t be (effectively) predicted. The present is what you have, appreciate it. Whether it’s a bad present or a good present, try to be a good host and thank the person who just gave that ‘present’ to you.

The good ones obviously make you happy. And the bad ones might make you unhappy now, but who knows how it will help you out in one of those tricky unpredictable future situations? Most of the bad situations are just a foreshadowing of the good ones that are about to happen in the future.

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” -Frederick Keonig

9. Have Fun

Never forget to have fun.

There is no point in living if it’s not a fun experience. Each person’s idea of “fun” will always be different, and there will always be someone who will disagree. Accept their arguments, let them know that the door’s open if they change their mind.

Don’t argue, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone other than you. Have fun, and do it in a way in which you don’t end up with a destruction/ total annihilation of mankind (okay, maybe I’m kidding about total annihilation).

Be in peace, enjoy while letting others be in their peace.

“What’s the point in being smart if you are not having fun?” -Colin Wright

10. Care For The Environment

Yes, care for it; because you live in it, and your next generation will live in it too. Stop littering around, try to keep it neat and tidy, stop wasting resources. Make it more livable and maintain it so that your children and grandchildren can enjoy the benefits too.

“It is our collective and individual responsibility… to preserve and tend to the world in which we all live” -Dalai Lama

What do you think?

This is a small list of problem busters I try to stick to. Do you have any other ideas or opinions? Let me know it in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

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