Earlier this week I wrote about the need for people to be their own heroes and stop waiting for someone else to solve the world’s problems. The notion of “saving the world” seems to have been made into something so gigantic that some people think they can’t possibly achieve it.

However, making a difference is something that anyone can do. Here are five easy steps to take towards making the world a better place. I know it may seem naive to condense the solutions to all of the world’s problems into five short steps… but we have to start somewhere, right?

  1. Be kind to everyone; your smile might be the only one they see all day! It doesn’t take any effort on your part to smile at someone – so why not do it?! If you can, volunteer in your community. There are tons of volunteer opportunities to suit a variety of interests, and it is incredibly rewarding.  These might seem like small things to do, but small things lead to big things that can make a big difference!
  1. Don’t judge people based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else. These assumptions are extremely harmful to others. They are also harmful to yourself because when you judge someone you prevent yourself from truly getting to know them.

3. Even if it is difficult, always stand up for what you believe in, and what is right. It might mean going against the crowd, but if it is what you believe in then it is worth fighting for. Also, accept and respect the beliefs of others. One’s beliefs should not be forced upon others through violence.

  1. Be positive. Smile. Laugh. Encourage people to follow their dreams. Follow your own dreams. See the sun poking through grey clouds; or learn to love rain. In life you don’t always have a choice as to what happens to you, but you do have a choice as to how you react to it. So react positively!

5. When it comes to solving environmental problems, a little extra effort on our part goes a long way. Whenever it is possible walk instead of driving, and make a conscious effort to not litter. The US Senate apparently needs to vote on whether or not climate changeor is real not… and we all know the success of reduction targets… so maybe it’s time we started making a change on an individual level.

Also, try to recycle whenever possible – and try upcycling, or turning something you would otherwise throw out into something beautiful or useful. Pinterest is a great place to start for upcycling!