140 Ways to Change the World

140 Ways to Change the World

Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.
-William James

Doing something nice for someone can change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.

Start small.  Start now.

  1. Smile when you make eye contact with someone.
  2. Hold the door open for the person behind you.
  3. Send a hand-written thank you card to someone who assisted you with something.
  4. Clean out all your old clothes and donate them to someone in need.
  5. Give a compliment about a waiter, waitress, sales clerk, etc. to his or her manager.  Or write a nice note to or about your waiter or waitress on the back of your bill.
  6. Compliment a stranger’s appearance.  Flatter them.
  7. Leave encouraging post-it notes in a library books and other random places.  (Read Operation Beautiful.)
  8. Connect like minds.  Introduce two friends or colleagues who you feel have something to gain from each other.
  9. Send flowers to someone.
  10. Be a courteous driver.  Let people merge in front of you.
  11. Volunteer at a children’s hospital or nursing home.
  12. Donate blood.
  13. Live each moment with enthusiasm.
  14. Spend time with children and greet the world with wide-eyed wonder.
  15. Eliminate the words ‘hate,’ ‘can’t,’ and ‘won’t’ from your vocabulary.
  16. Volunteer.  Get outside of yourself and help others.  Your participation is needed.
  17. Notice and appreciate the positive side of things and share this appreciation with others.
  18. Send a check to your favorite charity.
  19. Work in a soup kitchen.
  20. Do one brave act today.  Do it with love and for a good purpose.
  21. Share your talents with someone.
  22. Forgive someone.
  23. Think, speak and act in a loving manner.
  24. Buy house warming gifts for new neighbors.
  25. Introduce yourself.  Make new colleagues, classmates, etc. feel welcome.
  26. Inspire others online.  (Check out Makes Me Think.)
  27. Send letters of appreciation to business owners/managers and other people who support you.
  28. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you’d give to your grandfather.
  29. Give everyone the same level of patience you’d have with your baby sister.
  30. Appreciate people the way they are.
  31. Share your lunch or a snack with someone who doesn’t have one.
  32. Put some change in an expired parking meter.
  33. Check up on someone who looks lonely.
  34. Tell your boss, teacher or professor that he or she is doing a great job and that you appreciate what they’ve taught you.
  35. On a hot day, buy someone something cold to drink.  On a cold day, get them something warm.
  36. Create places and things for others to enjoy.  Like decorating your house for the holidays or creating a piece of art.
  37. If you overhear that it’s someone’s birthday, go out of your way to wish them a happy one.
  38. Ask someone for their opinion or advice.
  39. Bring cookies or bagels to work for everyone.
  40. Tip waiters and waitresses well when they deserve it.
  41. Be a part of something you believe in.  Those around you will notice your enthusiasm.  (Read The Alchemist.)
  42. Leave a thank-you note for the office janitors.
  43. Help bag your own groceries at the checkout counter.
  44. Offer your seat to someone when there aren’t any left.
  45. Let someone with only a few items cut you in line at the grocery store.
  46. Wave to a kid in the car next to you.
  47. Spread good news.
  48. Repeat something nice you heard about someone else.
  49. Remember people’s names and address them accordingly.
  50. Replace what you’ve used.  For example, fill up the copier or printer with paper after you’re done using it.
  51. Share your umbrella on a rainy day.
  52. Listen intently to people’s stories without trying to fix everything.
  53. Dance with someone who hasn’t been asked.
  54. Call a stranger’s attention to a beautiful sunset or full moon.  (Check out What Money Cannot Buy.)
  55. Give words of encouragement toward someone’s dream, no matter how big or small it is.
  56. Ask someone who enjoys cooking for one of their recipes.
  57. Let someone else eat the last slice of pizza or cake.
  58. Give someone a copy of a book that once helped you, that you think could help them
  59. Stop and buy a drink from a kid’s lemonade stand.
  60. Help someone get your parking space in a crowded parking lot when you’re leaving.
  61. Ask someone you see every now and then if they’ve lost weight.
  62. Do a little something extra to make someone else’s life easier.
  63. Use all the manners you learned in Kindergarten.
  64. Give without expecting to get back.
  65. Encourage others to do one unanticipated kind or helpful act at least once a week.
  66. Babysit for couples or single parents who don’t get out much so they can have some time alone.
  67. Boost the morale of someone close to you by telling them what you love about them.
  68. Hug a friend.  Let them know how important they are.
  69. Look for ways to save a few extra bucks a month and then donate it to a good cause.
  70. Shop at your local charity thrift store.  The money you spend there helps others.
  71. Spend a few clicks of your time at Free Rice.
  72. Leave an encouraging or positive comment on a stranger’s blog.
  73. If there’s been an accident or a potentially hazardous situation presents itself on the road, report it to the local authorities.  Your phone call could save a life.
  74. If someone you love really likes something (a meal, a favor, etc.) give it to them when they least expect it.
  75. Observe everyone without judging.
  76. Say “Please” and “Thank you.”
  77. Let go of anger.  For instance, if somebody accidentally cuts you off in traffic, just let it go.
  78. Believe in yourself with all of your heart.  The universe will notice.
  79. Don’t be so serious all the time.  (Read The Happiness Project.)
  80. Treat every small interaction with another person as an opportunity to make a positive impact in both your lives.
  81. Greed, anger and ignorance.  Avoid all three.
  82. Speak the truth.
  83. Teach others how to make a difference by setting an example.
  84. Help others learn to be independent.
  85. Give people the space they need.
  86. Lend your shoulder to cry on.
  87. Acknowledge people for a job well done.
  88. Offer encouragement after a failure.
  89. Tell a good joke.
  90. Show others the magic in ordinary moments.
  91. Adopt a soldier, inmate or someone who is down on their luck as a pen pal.
  92. Express your gratitude to those who make your life easier.
  93. Tell someone you love them.
  94. Wave to your neighbors.
  95. Send a letter, email, tweet, or text message out of the blue to someone who would appreciate it.
  96. Open car doors for your passengers.
  97. Donate books to a library, daycare center or school.
  98. Dance with someone who doesn’t have anyone to dance with.
  99. Share great food recipes.
  100. Help a kid with their homework.
  101. Donate unused computer time to cancer research (and other types of research) with BOINC.
  102. Round up a few loose coins and put them in the next charity box you see.
  103. Pay for the person in line behind you.
  104. Do something unexpected that will inspire people and shake them out of a bad mood.
  105. Plant beautiful flowers in places where others can appreciate them.
  106. Search through your cabinets for a few cans of food you’ll probably never use and donate them.
  107. Be a designated driver.
  108. Volunteer your time to a suicide hotline center.
  109. Offer someone a piece of gum or candy instead of waiting for them to ask.
  110. Park your car further from the store and walk the short extra distance. This frees up spots closer for people who may need them more than you, and gives you additional exercise.
  111. Donate things you no longer use to those in need.
  112. Donate time or materials to Habitat for Humanity.
  113. Clean the house for someone you know who is too busy to keep on top of it.
  114. Grow your hair out, then donate it to Locks of Love.
  115. Drop off your old eye glasses at your local LensCrafters as a donation to the OneSight program.
  116. Don’t smoke.  But if you must, don’t smoke near others.
  117. Generate money for the charity of your choice by searching with Good Search.
  118. Stop for a person waiting to cross the street.
  119. Support independent artists and musicians by purchasing books and albums that aren’t yet in the mainstream.
  120. Forgive a debt if you’re able.
  121. Recommend friends to local businesses who might appreciate their services.
  122. See the world as you wish it to be.
  123. Make something for someone.  Bake an extra batch of cookies, draw a picture, brew an extra cup of coffee, and give it to someone for no reason other than to see them smile.
  124. Create a care package and send it to an active duty military unit.
  125. Redirect gifts.  Instead of having people give you birthday and holiday gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a good cause.
  126. Stop to help.  The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire, or in need of assistance, stop and ask how you can help.
  127. Put a small personal touch on everything you do.  People notice and appreciate individuality.
  128. Take the time to teach someone a skill you know.
  129. Help someone get active.  There’s a coworker or acquaintance in your life who wants to get healthy, but needs a helping hand.  Offer to go walking or running together or join a gym together.
  130. Become a mentor or tutor.
  131. Adopt an animal.
  132. Contribute time, ideas, or a listening ear to other people’s passions.
  133. Accept people just the way they are.
  134. Stand up for someone.  Lend your voice. Often the powerless, the homeless, the neglected in our world need someone to speak up for them.
  135. If you see a couple taking a self-pic, offer to take the picture for them.
  136. Help the weary shopper in front of you who needs that extra two or three cents to avoid breaking a 20-dollar bill.
  137. Come to the rescue.  If you realize someone is sick, bring them some hot tea, etc.
  138. Stand up for your beliefs without flaunting them.
  139. Make yourself available and approachable.
  140. Over-deliver on all of your promises and obligations.

And yes, I realize this is a long list, but it’s really only the tip of the iceberg.  Look for new and better ways every day to make the world a better, happier, and more pleasant place for everyone.  If we all did just one thing every day, together we could truly change the world.

Photo by: Hamed Saber


  1. says

    What’s really cool is most of these can be easily done without even having to think or put a lot of effort into it. Just go about your day and you’ll be presented with loads of opportunities throughout the day. :)

  2. says

    Thanks for the terrific list of reminders & new ideas of things we can do to improve the world. Some of them are so simple, yet they take just a bit of thought to implement. I also like some of the other posts you have, so I’ve signed up, plus following you on twitter.

    You just made my day! Thanks again.

  3. says

    I’m digging this list a lot! Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

    And #140 is the perfect tip to end it because it’s so essential to business+life.

    I agree with Sean, a lot of these should be no-brainers but it’s always nice to be reminded :)

  4. marc says

    Another uplifting read. Your blog is the best website ever, many other websites I feel like a slave to, but this one frees me time and again. Thanks.

  5. says

    I find this list very insightful. Great reminders. Unfortunately lists like this also remind me I’m not always doing as good as I could be. But I guess that’s sort of the point.

  6. says

    I love that you included the Free Rice website on this INCREDIBLE list! I’ll be referring to this post frequently to give me daily ideas of how to help people. Thank you for your consistently amazing insight and posting!

  7. Lynne says

    Just subscribed to your blog and I am so impressed with your writings. Positive outlooks are so healthy and sometimes we all need to remember that. I teach high school and your blog is going to be recommended to some of my students.

  8. Kim says

    Great list! One thing I like to do is have some extra snow brushes in the car. They are especially nice to have on hand to give people when you are caught outside during the first (surprise) snowfall of the season. I buy them at the end of the previous season and then I get to drive around all spring and summer feeling good that I am ready to help people in the fall/winter. That good feeling cost me $1 – and I just might be able to give two people snow brushes when they need them!

  9. Equanimity says

    With all the doom and gloom occurring in politics, economics, and employment this read was a breath of fresh air. Thanks.

  10. says

    I’m speechless. Marc, how do you create these? Are you one of the Gods in human form? Time and time again you create posts of real depth, phenomenal truth, and rich wisdom and this must be one of the pinnacles of them. You have to spill the secret of your connection to the great and good you continue to offer us. I have never been disappointed once coming here, in fact I am delighted more every time. Brilliant, so brilliant.

  11. says

    This is an amazing list of really simple things that can make a huge difference in people’s attitude and outlook on life. Thanks for sharing!

  12. says

    It took me a while to get to the end of the list, but it left me inspired. It felt good to know I do some of the things you suggested now. It was motivating to know I could be doing so much more!

    My wife and I like to give food (instead of money) to the homeless holding signs by grocery stores or freeway off-ramps.

    Thanks for the motivating post, Marc!

  13. Leo says

    Awesome list!
    I am already a subscriber, and I often repost on Facebook.
    I was particularly touched by #s 28 and 29 (Treat everyone with the same level of respect you’d give to your grandfather. Give everyone the same level of patience you’d have with your baby sister.) This is something people should always keep in mind, as it is so easy to forget we are all equal and deserve equal respect, patience and love.
    Keep up the great work!

  14. says

    It took me a while to get to the end of the list, but it left me inspired. It felt good to know I do some of the things you suggested now. It was motivating to know I could be doing so much more!

    My wife and I like to give food (instead of money) to the homeless holding signs by grocery stores or freeway off-ramps.

    Thanks for the motivating post, Marc!

  15. Monica says

    LOVED THIS! I actually wait in parking lots when people are backing out…I think we all grew up doing this (or were taught to do it). But these days, parking lots are racing lots; and with all the SUV’s almost impossible to see well enough to pull out. Waiting 10 seconds to allow someone to pul out (and not just to snag their spot) to me is priceless to all

  16. says

    It took me a while to get to the end of the list, but it left me inspired. It felt good to know I do some of the things you suggested now. It was motivating to know I could be doing so much more!

  17. says

    Thanks for sharing this great list. Many of these are simple to do and have a big, meaningful impact on other people’s lives. You’re definitely right about how doing the things on this list makes the world a better place.

  18. somu says

    This really a great list. I will surely try to follow these and to be a better man. Again thanks for the list.

  19. Palash kulshreshtha says

    These are just the beautiful things I usually miss because I’m so busy. Thank you for reminding me that I am missing them.


  20. Remszi says

    Love it =)
    I realized I’m doing quite a few of these without actually being aware of it. Now I’ll start making an effort.

  21. Twan says

    72. Leave an encouraging or positive comment on a stranger’s blog.
    It’s not just because nr.72 said so but I really like you’re website and it helped me a lot, thanks for that, I’m going to print this and make a check list out of it.

  22. says

    72. Leave an encouraging or positive comment on a stranger’s blog.

    Your blog is not a stranger’s blog.. I feel very close with those inspiring list. Thank you :)

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