When lamenting the state of the world, it’s easy to blame corrupt politicians or greedy CEOs. It’s easier to believe that there are “bad people” out there causing all the problems affecting humanity. That we’re in an epic battle between the forces of good and evil and that we just need to support the good guys.
That world might be easier to understand, but it’s not the truth. The truth is that this is a complicated world with all kinds of complex interactions and motivations. It’s not “bad people” creating all the problems. Through our actions, we collectively create the world every day.
We all have a part to play in creating a better world. Complaining is not enough.
We sure do love complaining. On TV, social media, talking with friends, family, co-workers… It often seems like bitching and moaning is the national pastime.
Talk talk talk. But nothing changes from talking.
We can’t wait for lawmakers or corporations to make all the changes needed for us to live in harmony with each other and our environment. We need to be willing to realize those changes ourselves, in our own lives.
Instead of constantly complaining about how life’s not fair, about how evil or dumb “the other side” is, how greedy CEOs are, and how corrupt politicians are, we need to be honest about what we are doing to the country as individuals.
We’re all part of this world. We each must take personal responsibility for our impact on the country and the planet. If you are a part of humanity, don’t you kind of owe it to the rest of us to help more than you hurt?
They say if you want something done right, gotta do it yourself…
If we want to make a better world, we can’t just sit around bitching, watching Netflix or endlessly scrolling through social media.
And don’t get me wrong. I’m not a saint, I do things that are bad for the environment. There are probably millions of people that have a more positive impact on the world than me.
I definitely don’t do many of the things that I espouse above.
But I try to do better. To make progress, that’s all we can really do.
Many argue that the meaning of life is to be better. “In Aristotle’s view, the very purpose of living is to flourish,” according to Michael Schur. In this view, we are here to improve ourselves, and by extension make the world a better place for everyone.
Self-improvement means making yourself better, healthier, and wiser. If you want to have an impact on the world, it helps you to be at your best as a person.
“The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.”
This isn’t a set-it-and-forget a thing, a big event that changes everything. It’s small, actionable things that make you better every day.
How to #BeBetter
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Taking personal responsibility is one of the most important steps in making our world flourish. Every individual has the power to improve their lives and those around them by taking proactive measures to make positive changes. We can make a real difference in the world and create an environment of hope and optimism.
Be honest with yourself
“How am I complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?”
How honest are you when assessing your behavior and responses? We often limit our improvement by refusing to take an honest appraisal of ourselves. It can be difficult to face the truth and admit that we could have done something differently. Being honest with yourself is essential if you want to make meaningful progress in life.
Self-awareness is key to improving yourself and the world around you. Taking time each day to check in with yourself and assess your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can help you stay honest and responsible for your actions. You’ll be able to recognize when you’re making mistakes or taking shortcuts that could hurt others.
Are you actively helping to bring about the world you profess to want?
To be honest with yourself you need to be realistic about how you impact your community. Your actions at the local level have a much bigger impact than at the national level.
Acting ethically and with integrity in personal and professional life – this means being mindful of how our words and actions affect those around us, striving to empathize with different points of view, and putting effort into understanding where the other side is coming from. Working together with empathy and open communication can help create meaningful dialogue and progress. We should all strive to remember the golden rule – do unto humanity as you would have humanity do
Contributing to the betterment of society – this could be through volunteer work, philanthropy, or just being a kind and caring person. Encourage positive self-talk and self-compassion to help you stay motivated to make the world a better place. There are many ways in which we can contribute to society – it’s up to each of us to find our way and use our unique talents to make a difference.
Sharpen your thinking
If your emotions are up, force yourself to write down your point of view. It’s been found that when we are forced to articulate our position, we often struggle and begin to see the nuance. Writing down your thinking helps dissolve the illusion of explanatory depth.
If you feel strongly about something, write it down. Explain why you are for or against something and the reasons behind your decision. Fully explain counter-arguments and present the opposite point of view clearly and reasonably. This will help you think more deeply and critically about an issue, and come to a better understanding of the situation.
Sharpening your thinking helps you make better decisions, especially when it comes to political issues. Instead of being swayed by emotion or rhetoric, break down the facts in a logical way. Analyze the pros and cons objectively and form your opinion based on evidence and reasoned thinking.
It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment, but it’s important to step back, take a few deep breaths, and think rationally.
The more productive conversations you have with yourself and others, the better your understanding will become.
Understand and Accept Reality
“Success is achieved by people who deeply understand reality and know how to use it to get what they want.”
– Ray Dalio
In a world where our political leaders and the biggest media talking heads live in a make-believe the land of only good and evil, it’s hard to remember that reality is complicated.
But the world we live in is full of complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty. Nothing is easy, and there is nuance and difficulty in everything we do. If you understand how things work around you and accept that life isn’t always as easy as it seems, you’re already ahead of most people.
Make sure you work hard at seeing the world as it is, not how you or others want it to be.
The trust is that Hard things are hard. If a problem was easy to fix, someone would have done it by now. There are reasons why things are the way they are. Sometimes it’s deliberate, and many times it’s not. Sometimes the causes are clear, other times the true causes are obscured. Understand that there aren’t easy answers, just hard work.
“There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.”
Don’t get bogged down with distractions and focus on what’s important. With cable news and social media driving outrage, it’s easy to get caught up in the noise and miss what’s actually happening.
Take a step back and simplify your life. Break away from distractions and focus on what matters. You don’t need to be clued into every scandal and outrage machine taking over the headlines – they’re usually distractions that take you away from real issues that affect you and those around you.
The media and current events
This is just about all nonsense crafted to keep you distracted from what’s going on. Don’t get sucked into the drama and instead focus your attention on important things.
Put down the phone
Your phone is a distraction machine often pushing messages of division. Just like the gambling machines are designed to make gamblers feel like they can’t live without the high of gambling, your phone preys on our biology to keep you coming back.
Take some time away from your phone and connect with people face to face. Put it down, focus on what’s important, and don’t let distractions get in the way. You’ll be better off for it.
At the very least, be cognizant of how much time you are on the phone. Some apps tell you how much and how to spend time on your phone. Even having a baseline about how many hours you are glued to the phone can help you appreciate how much of a problem it is.
In the end, find a balance between getting use out o your phone without distractions preventing you from reaching your goals.
This whole post is premised on the idea that you can build a better world by building a better you.
Focusing on What’s Important
“Self Improvement” is a multi-million dollar industry with more than its fair share of charlatans out for your money. There’s no shortage of people trying to tell you that they know what you need to be happy – to maximize your earnings, retire early, find a mate, and raise the best kids. But the apparent truth is that nobody knows, because there’s no “answer.”
What’s best for one person is not the same as another.
That being said, here’s what I think is a useful passage from Michio Kaku’s book Future of Mind, where he talks about the research of Dr. Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, who was researching what makes people succeed. He distilled what it takes to “succeed” in life into four abilities:
“Your grades in school, your scores on the SAT, mean less for life success than your capacity to co-operate, your ability to regulate your emotions, your capacity to delay your gratification, and your capacity to focus your attention. Those skills are far more important – all the data indicate – for life success than your IQ or your grades.”
-Dr. Richard Davidson
Let’s take a look at each one.
Capacity to Co-Operate
Your ability to work together with others, express empathy, listen and be heard, and offer and accept help, is the foundation of cooperation. It requires us to navigate complex social dynamics to build relationships. We have to be able to negotiate different needs and points of view without losing sight of the bigger picture.
When we work together, it is easier to make progress toward a better world.
Regulate Your Emotions
Our emotions can be complex, but according to Davidson, we need to develop our ability to regulate them. We don’t want to overreact or become too easily distressed by the challenges life throws at us. Instead of letting anger and frustration take over, it is important to stay level-headed and find solutions.
Develop your ability to delay gratification and focus on the long term. It takes patience, determination, and discipline to wait for delayed rewards. This helps us recognize our goals and objectives, control our impulses, and practice delayed gratification to achieve them.
Focus your attention
In the land of constant notifications, the one who can focus is the king. Phones have rewired our brains, and most of us have become scattered and easily distracted. We need to focus to concentrate on the tasks at hand and try not to get lost in a sea of distractions.
Focus is key to success; it helps us stay determined on our path toward what we want to achieve and keeps our focus directed in one direction rather than wasting energy on too many directions.
Being accountable means making yourself a better person.
Bitching and moaning don’t achieve anything. We need to stop complaining and actually do something to fix the problem. Complaining is a waste of time, energy, and resources. It won’t make anything better; rather it will drain your mental strength and perhaps even lead to discord among us.
If you have a problem with something, don’t just talk about it – fix it! Take actions that are meaningful and will help resolve the issue. Put yourself in the shoes of those who are suffering and work together to bring about positive change.
Focus on actions, not complaining
Complaining is a nasty habit that won’t get anyone anywhere. We should focus our energy on finding solutions, not pointing fingers and blaming others for our predicament. Taking action, rather than talking about how bad things are, is the only way that we can make a real difference.
So don’t waste your time and energy moping and complaining; do something meaningful instead. Putting effort into actions that will improve the situation, rather than just talking about it, is what will make our world better.
We need to talk to each other, listen to each other, and try to understand each other. We need to work together to find solutions, and we need to start with empathy.
If you aren’t doing anything, you can’t complain. Posting or liking memes on social media does not count.
Focus on what you have
Focus on what you have and appreciate the good things in life. When we focus on material things we don’t have, it makes us feel inadequate and unhappy. Focus on the good things in your life and be grateful for them.
Being content with what we have can be difficult, but it’s essential if we want to be happy. Despite the ups and downs of life, be sure to take a moment to appreciate all that you have and be thankful for it. Appreciate the people in your life, be kind to others, and be generous with your time.
The world needs kindness and compassion now more than ever. Be grateful for what you have and use it to make the world a better place.
It is up to each of us to be the change we wish to see in the world. Let’s strive for a kinder, happier, and more sustainable world by focusing on what we have, being grateful for it, and using our unique talents to make a difference.
Encouraging positive self-talk and self-compassion
It can be hard to stay motivated and make the world a better place without first taking care of yourself. Positive self-talk and self-compassion can help you keep going when things are tough, and make sure that your actions are coming from a place of empathy and understanding. To a bigger degree than what most of us want to give credit, the words we use out loud and the language of our internal monologue influence our reality.
Change takes time, so be patient.
Patience is something we must all cultivate in our lives. Times of challenge and adversity are unavoidable, but if we can maintain a spirit of patience during them, it pays off. Learning to be patient isn’t easy or instantaneous; rather it’s a practice that requires dedication and effort. But if we persevere and hold on to hope, our patience can bloom like a flower and bring us tangible rewards. By accepting the difficult yet necessary process of cultivating patience, we also open ourselves up to opportunities for growth and transformation – possibilities that would have been hidden from us had we not taken the time to be patient.
We can’t expect things to change overnight, but we can make a difference if we’re persistent. As explained earlier, our biology programs us to want immediate gratification. It’s not easy to fight this urge, but with persistent effort, we can gradually improve our behavior and make progress in the long run.
“The strongest of all warriors are time and patience”
Start with small changes
Making small changes that you can stick to is a great way to build up your confidence and gradually move toward larger goals. Start with small steps like reading a book you’ve been wanting to, auditing a company you buy a lot from, volunteering, or even just reaching out to someone for advice. Even a few minor adjustments can have a big impact on your life and the world.
Focus on the long-term
Remember, success comes from persistent effort over time. It’s not about how much you achieve in a day or week, but rather how much progress you make over months and years. Most of us are impatient when it comes to achieving our goals, but the persistent effort is key.
“In a world of complex systems it is not appropriate to charge forward with rigid, undeviating directives. “Stay the course” is only a good idea if you’re sure you’re on course. ”
As you head toward your goals, flexibility is key. Things may not always go according to plan, so be prepared to adjust the course if something isn’t working. Keep an open mind and give yourself the space to explore options that may take you closer to success.
Stubbornness can be helpful when it comes to persisting toward a goal, but flexibility is essential to adapt and adjust as needed. Don’t be afraid to try new things and explore different paths.
Taking responsibility for personal health and wellness
If you want to be impactful, you first need to take care of yourself. Just like the advice on a plane ride, secure your oxygen mask before you help someone else. Taking care of your body and mind is the first step in creating a better future.
Putting yourself first isn’t selfish; it’s being accountable for your health and well-being. That doesn’t mean you should be a hermit or be reckless with your health – it means taking responsibility for the impact that your health has on yourself and those around you.
This means getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and managing stress. It means going beyond just “living healthily” and actively working towards building an optimal health plan tailored to your individual needs. Taking care of yourself can have a positive impact on every aspect of your life — from work to relationships and more.
Education and Awareness
Educate yourself about… yourself. Thousands if not millions of others are trying to improve themselves. Read books, seek out experts, or join communities that will help you go where you want to go. Empower yourself with knowledge and the tools to take action.
Creating a culture of accountability
Find ways to hold yourself accountable. Ultimately, accountable people are accountable because they want to be. Make sure you have systems in place to remind yourself of your goals and keep track of your progress.
Commitment and follow-through are key steps in creating a culture of accountability, make sure that you’re following through on the commitments you make to yourself.
The world needs accountable people who are willing to take responsibility for their actions and their impact. The only way to do that is to be accountable — both to ourselves and to each other. Take those first steps today and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the accountable person of your dreams.
Dealing with others
The interactions between people create the world. When people are mean to one another, the world gets meaner. When people cooperate, progress follows.
You impact the world by how you interact with other humans.
The Golden Rule
When you are dealing with others, particularly those you disagree with, it’s helpful to remember the golden rule – “treat others the way you would want to be treated.” After all, is said and done, the golden rule might be the only thing we need to build a better world.
Although I’d like to change it to encompass the whole world, not just people:
“Do unto humanity and you would have humanity do unto you.”
It’s a simple enough concept, one that we all understand as children. Many of us lose sight of it as we grow older, but it’s something worth remembering.
It’s a reminder to be mindful of how our words and actions can affect others, and how empathy and understanding can bring us closer together.
Have faith in humanity
In a world where it is easy to get discouraged and focus on what is wrong, it can sometimes be difficult to have faith in humanity. But despite the negative noise, there are countless numbers of people all across the globe doing extraordinary acts of kindness and compassion every day. From simple things like helping an elderly person cross the street, to huger acts such as stepping in to help with global crises – it’s heartening to know that individuals do care about making the world a better place. By choosing to believe that another person will “do the right thing” if we give them the opportunity, we can create a ripple effect that has far-reaching impacts in our communities and beyond. Instead of feeling bad about our current state of affairs, let’s come together and be part of the solution by placing faith back into humanity.
Embrace the nuance
The world is complex. It doesn’t come down to one side or the other. Understand and accept that the world isn’t black and white. Try to understand complex by seeking out issues through research, analysis, and critical thinking.
Reality is a complex place and what seems clear and simple at first is often anything but. Black and white, either/or, binary thinking is just about always counterproductive.
When dealing with the complexity of solving complex social problems, There aren’t easy answers.
Let your opinions and beliefs be challenged, and allow yourself to change your mind.
Seek out new experiences
Living life to the fullest means having a thirst for adventure, enabling us to open our eyes to a world of possibilities beyond our comfort zone. Stepping out of your daily routine and engaging with different people in new surroundings can have a profound effect. Experiencing new cultures, trying unfamiliar foods and developing an appreciation for other ways of life can help broaden our perspectives and offer us fresh insights into the world around us. Taking this attitude of openness towards what is new or unknown can be incredibly rewarding, with every discovery providing opportunity to learn something new and come away with a newfound confidence in change. So why not break up your normal routine and stay inspired by exploring the world one step at a time?
we all understand that the division in the country is at the heart of so much of our dysfunction. But so many think all the problems are on the other side. How many of the most die-hard lefty or righty is willing to reflect on the problems with their side?
I believe the number of the fanatic “ext republicans” that live in their bubble is fewer than the media on both sides make it seems. But these people wearing horse blinders, unable to understand the world outside of hatred for the other side are out there. And we all have these tendencies.
Are you deluding yourself about the culpability of the side you favor and unfairly demonizing the other side?
Is your identity defined by how much you hate the other side?
Ask yourself why does this mean this much to me? Where is my identity coming from?
Most of us want what’s best for our families, our communities, and ourselves. We just have different ideas about how to get there.
The polarization we see in the world today isn’t serving anyone, it’s only making things worse. Try to resist polarization by understanding where the other side is coming from.
Tim Urban image – https://mk0waitbutwhy9c3hjku.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/17-600×563.png
Reject binary thinking
Despite what partisan political and media figures want us to believe, the world isn’t black or white. Complexity is everywhere. Reject binary thinking and understand that reality is layered, nuanced, and complicated. Separating the world into “us” and “them” doesn’t isn’t helpful and is counter-productive.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the world is either one way or the other. Instead, seek to understand the complexity and accept reality as it is.
Understanding the Other Side
Over the past few decades, for many reasons, most of us feel like the country has been separated into two polar opposite sides with nothing in common. Resist that narrative. Most of us are normal people that want what’s best, and there’s a reason why people believe what they believe.
You don’t need to agree, but it is important to be able to communicate, empathize and try to understand where the other side is coming from. Practice empathy and respect for those on the other side of any issue. This kind of understanding leads to productive dialogue and collaboration.
Try to see where the other side is coming from. If you can’t agree with their conclusions, try to see where they’re coming from.
Reject Blanket Labels
When we label someone, it’s easy to write them off. It becomes easier to dismiss their views, and it creates us vs. them mentality. Labels box us in and place us in the binary world of black and white, good vs evil. Reject labels, and try to see people as individuals. Very few people have all the traits associated with a label, and it ignores the nuance of individuals.
Talk to people who are different from you
Talking to people who are different from us can be incredibly rewarding! Conversing with someone from another background than our own gives us an opportunity to break down barriers and explore each other’s perspectives, allowing us to become more understanding of cultures and experiences that differ from our own. Not only is such dialogue educational and insightful, but in many cases, it can bring us closer together as we recognize the similarities between us all. Even differences in opinions can be positive, if approached through compassionate channels. Reaching out to others can come with a variety of gratifying returns – so don’t be afraid to chat with somebody new!
Encourage Honest Communication
To truly be able to understand where the other side is coming from and find common ground, communication must be open and honest. Speak honestly, but also thoughtfully, to cultivate an environment of understanding and collaboration.
Honest communication will help each side better understand and empathize with the other’s viewpoints. This creates a platform for meaningful dialogue and progress.
In a world with complex problems, communication is key to finding solutions. Seek out mutual understanding and empathy, cultivate honest communication, and work together
Seek out Common Ground
Focus on areas in which you can find common ground with others who have different views and opinions because communication and working together is the key to success. When communication breaks down, so does progress.
Work hard at understanding where the other side is coming from. Seek out common ground whenever possible. This will help with communication and better equip you to find solutions for complex problems in a collaborative way.
If there are areas you disagree with, put them aside. Focus on what matters, what is important. If you start with the end in mid you’ll usually find you have a lot more in common than you think.
Listen with the intention of understanding, not judging
Communication is essential in any relationship. Listening with the intention of understanding someone, rather than automatically judging them, can make a world of difference in both our personal relationships and in larger communities. When we ensure that people feel heard, it builds bridges instead of burning them down. It promotes connection and understanding around us and helps to create an environment of mutual respect. We can all benefit from recognizing that dialogue is key to creating trust and appreciation between those we interact with. Improving our listening has the potential to bring more positivity and light into both our own lives and the lives of those around us.
Have Difficult Conversations
We need to have more difficult conversations in America. We need to talk about the things that we don’t agree on, and we need to find common ground. Ask hard questions with difficult answers but be respectful. With productive dialogue and an open mind, the productive discussion is possible.
Ask why the person feels that way and listen to the response.
Discuss your ideas and beliefs with others
But when responding or giving feedback, make sure you’re offering constructive feedback and not just being a dick.
Audit the content you consume
Just like food affects your physical health, the content you consume affects how and what you think. The media and tech companies are not our friends. They don’t have our best interests at heart. It is up to us to protect ourselves and ensure that we are getting reality-based news from quality sources.
Ignore distractions and ask hard questions – it’s not enough just to read the headlines. Dig deeper, look for context, and seek out factual information. There’s a lot of clickbait out there and it’s important to be able to distinguish reality from fiction.
Reward quality journalism – the reality is that good journalism costs money, and we need to ensure that quality news sources are adequately funded for them to continue providing us with accurate information.
Let’s take a stand against distractions and false information, and reward reality-based journalism. Take actions that will make a positive difference in the world – don’t just talk about it, do something!
When people start telling you about whatever outrageous thing Tucker Carlson or Rachel Maddow told them about the bad guys, explain to them these people aren’t journalists. They are paid actors whose job is to make them upset. To push them further to their extreme, away from compromise, and easier to sell to.
Be part of the solution instead of contributing to the problem. Together we can create a reality where quality news sources are rewarded and clickbait is a thing of the past.
Your actions impact the world
Do you vote? Are your vote based on who the best candidate is? Do you know their accomplishments? Do you know what they stand for? If it’s an incumbent, have they done a good job? What value have they achieved?
Your interactions with others
The way we interact with others affects the world at large. If you treat people with respect, kindness, and understanding, we all benefit from it in the long run. The world can seem like a mean place, but I think most people are good. The golden rule of “treat others as you would like to be treated” is still alive and well today, so make sure that your interactions with other people are always respectful and kind.
Volunteer work or philanthropy – Giving back to society is one of the best ways to make a real difference. Whether it’s something small like donating clothes or volunteering your time or something more structured like joining a philanthropic organization, these acts can create positive change for those who need it most.
Your purchasing habits
You might not realize it, but how you spend your money has a major effect on the wider world. This is where Impact Consumerism comes in – by choosing to buy from companies that are helping the world and steering clear of exploitative ones, we can make sure our purchases are helping create a better future.
before you buy anything, ask yourself some basic questions.
- Who makes and profits from the product?
- Are they transparent in their production processes and use of labor?
- Are workers paid adequately?
- How much does the CEO make compared to the average worker?
- Have they provided safe working conditions for employees in factories or subcontracted facilities?
- How does the power affect the environment?
- Do their products meet ethical standards regarding sustainability, waste management, and renewable resources?
- Are they polluting the environment? How much?
- Is food grow sustainably?
- Is the product cruelty-free?
- How do they handle the ethical sourcing of raw materials?
- Who does the company support politically?
- Are they active in your local community?
- Does the company actively support social causes through charitable donations or volunteerism efforts?
The media is owned by the biggest companies, and they don’t want us to ask these questions. The money they spend in the community, paying workers, and helping the environment, that is money that isn’t going to top leadership, board members, or stockholders.
But what’s more important, what the owners want, or what the customer wants
And granted, right now we don’t have a way to get good or believable answers to most of these questions.
But addressing those shortcomings is what Less Bad is all about. Read more about Impact Consumerism and The Humanity Index.
Get involved in the community
Your impact on the bigger world can be achieved by starting locally. You don’t need to achieve greatness overnight – think small and start with just one community project or activity that will help make a difference.
Start by getting to know your neighbors and community members better, then work together on local initiatives such as community gardens, clean-up projects, or simply organizing events that bring people together. Find local businesses and organizations that are doing good for the community, and support them in any way you can.
It’s all about building relationships. The key to community involvement is empathy. Take a moment to understand the perspectives of others – it will help you better understand how you can make a difference within your community and encourage positive changes.
Local community involvement isn’t just about making a difference, it’s also about building relationships and getting to know one another better. It is only through community engagement and collaboration that we can solve larger national issues.
Get involved in your community today and start driving change nationally by starting locally!
Have real hobbies or things you are involved with
If you want to have more meaning in your life, take up productive hobbies or activities that you are truly passionate about. Whether it’s reading, crafting, coding, photography, cooking, or volunteering – find something that interests you and devote your time to it.
Have real hobbies or things you are involved with that make you productive and give your life meaning beyond the label of being a Democrat or Republican. Interact with people from all walks of life, and talk about issues outside of politics.
When you have a productive hobby or activity to focus on and contribute to the world, it gives you a sense of satisfaction and purpose. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, so taking time out for yourself is essential. Find something that you enjoy and use it as a productive escape.
Developing new skills, making connections with like-minded people, and being productive are just some of the benefits of having a hobby. Don’t be afraid to try something new and challenge yourself. You never know where it may lead you!
Find real meaning in life
The most important element of meaning and purpose comes from within. You need to uncover and understand what will make you happy. What will give you meaning? Take the time to reflect on your values and beliefs, and find meaning in life that’s based on them.
The meaning you create for yourself is something no one can take away. It’s up to you to decide how you live your life, what kind of person you want to be, and what kind of legacy you want to leave behind.
You can create a better world by creating a better you. It’s up to us as individuals to make a difference in our lives
It all come back to the posters we had in grade school.
“Be the change you want to see in the world”
If we want things to change, we need to be the change. We can’t just sit around and wait for someone else to do something. We need to take action and lead by example.
We’re all in this together – Are you helping?
Change is Hard
Nobody is saying it’s easy to be the person you want to be. It will take persistence and hard work to achieve your goals.
It’s not as simple as giving advice. It helps, but in the end, it’s up to you to figure out how to make a better world for yourself and those around you.
The only way is through persistent change and improvement.
Here are some ways to make the journey easier.
Barriers to personal responsibility
It’s easy enough to say more people need to take personal responsibility, but the reality is that it’s hard. Our biology and modern life conspire together to make difficult the task of personal responsibility.
The modern world is structured to reward immediate gratification, rather than focus on the long run.
We are easily distracted, constantly bombarded by notifications and urges from advertisers, and have been taught for generations that conformity is desirable. The commercials on TV and in stores entice us with offers of instant pleasure.
Social media platforms use fleeting notifications to lure us away from our focus and tasks at hand. Even the way we are educated is designed around getting to the right answer quickly, rather than focusing and waiting for delayed rewards.
In addition, life circumstances can arise that throw us off balance and make taking responsibility difficult. Stress, difficult relationships, and financial problems are all factors that can lead to a lack of personal responsibility.
All these factors can make it difficult to stay on track with our personal goals.
Our biology and evolution have also conspired against us. We are programmed to react to danger or threats instinctively and quickly.
Our short-term instinctive responses may not always lead us in the right direction and can be difficult to overcome when faced with challenges. It often feels more natural for us to take the easier path, rather than the one of personal responsibility.
- We eat food that is bad for us – Even though we know it’s bad, it tastes good. Sugar and carbohydrates were scarce in our ancient past, but today have been cheapened and made widely available. This leads many of us to make decisions that are not in our best interest.
- We fear “the other” – Our biology makes us naturally suspicious and scared of anyone who is not in our social group or tribe. This instinctive fear can lead us to make decisions from a place of fear, rather than one of personal responsibility.
- We lie to ourselves – It can be hard to face up to our mistakes or admit that we were wrong. Instead, we protect ourselves by lying and making excuses. We need to recognize this behavior and learn how to protect ourselves from it.
- We interpret criticism as a physical threat – Our biology causes our body to interpret criticism as a physical threat causing us to enter fight or flight mode rather than engage in constructive conversation. Your brain interprets any type of critique the same way our ancestors interpreted a hungry sabertoothed tiger. The amygdala is part of our brain that reacts to threats. It takes practice for many of us to recognize that criticism and feedback are not always negative, and can be used as a tool for personal improvement.
- We Follow Inertia – We follow the crowd, stay in our comfort zones, and don’t take risks. We are programmed to go with the flow and fear change. This makes it hard for us to take personal responsibility, as we are more likely to stick with what feels familiar, rather than venture outside our comfort zone.
We have to constantly fight against our biology and evolution to do the difficult thing and take personal responsibility. It is an uphill battle that requires determination and discipline each day. But with awareness and dedication, we can overcome the biology and modern life that conspire against us, and take personal responsibility for our lives.
Social and cultural pressures
Our society often pressures us to conform, forcing us to make decisions out of fear or a desire to please. This can be seen in peer pressure, pressure from our families, and pressure from the media. We feel like we have to do what everyone else is doing – whether it’s wearing certain clothes, eating a certain food, or taking certain drugs – just because everyone else is doing it. This pressure can make it difficult to stay true to ourselves and take personal responsibility.
We feel like having the right shoes or getting the most likes is important, not forging meaningful relationships, growing our understanding of the world, or taking care of our physical and mental health.
Fear of failure or criticism
We all feel shame, fear, or anxiety when we fail. We are trained to think of failure as a bad thing and this shame can be a barrier to personal growth. It takes courage to face failure, learn from mistakes and move forward with resilience. But without taking risks or making mistakes, it is impossible to reach our goals.
Taking responsibility means being brave in the face of failure and criticism, and trusting that trying is better than not trying at all. Overcoming shame and fear allows us to take risks and create opportunities for personal growth.
Some are some of the reasons that personal responsibility is hard. Just being aware and conscious of them, recognizing them when they affect your thinking, can make a big difference in self-improvement.
“The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing”
– Albert Einstein.
I’m not saying we all need to be the pope, I’m just saying we need to have a positive, not negative, impact. Until each of us takes personal responsibility, any progress toward a better world will be stalled.
There are so many problems all around us, and they all just seem to get worse.
If you’re reading this, it means you want to change the world. And that’s amazing. Every single person has the power to make a difference, and together, we can change the world for the better. You really can change the world. We hope this list inspires you to take action and make a positive impact on the people and causes you care about most. Keep up the great work!
There’s no need to get angry, let’s just get serious.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that we are all connected and that our actions can have a ripple effect. The world needs empathy and understanding, both for ourselves and for those around us. So let’s strive to act ethically, with integrity, empathy, and compassion – this is what it means to #beBetter.