If you’ve ever wondered how you can make this world a better place then wonder no more. Here’s  10 very easy things you can do starting today that will make this world a better place. These are some of the tings I do (not nearly enough) and can help those who don’t know where to begin. Also, if you are one of those people that complain the entire day about the state of the world, our country or your neighborhood then this is for you.

As someone who really struggle in the company of negativity I simply remove myself from any such negative influences. The problem with this is you pretty much have to remove yourself from the world and go live on an island in seclusion if you want to completely avoid hearing any type of negativity or moaning. Do you listen to radio? Nope.. can’t take the negative commentary anymore. What about TV? Even the advertisements fill you in on how bad things are before they pitch a solution/product. Even our sport is doing so bad that standing around a braai/barbeque talking rugby is difficult to take in. So whats the answer? Well… its pretty easy: Start now and become a positive force of good, hope and joy to the world.

These days it’s so easy to help others and to be a positive influence that if you are really don’t know how to make a difference or help others then you really are either ignorant or lazy.

Here’s 10 easy things you can do to make the world a better place:

1. Give money: If his is your thing then there are millions of organizations that will do a great job with your money. Personally I like giving to people in countries where there’s never been any ‘real’ opportunities for people  to lift themselves out of poverty, illness or despair. Typically this is countries where there’s war, drought, sickness, etc.. I use Kiva.org. It’s a micro-lending organization available world wide that gives loans to entrepreneurs in the above mentioned type of countries. You can check it out here: Kiva.org. If giving local is your thing, then simply ask around and you’re sure to find some worthy cause.  My wife told me about common change, a great organization that manages collaborative giving. You pool together with a few people and anyone of the group can suggest a cause to use the collected money for.

2. Give more than the norm: This does not have to be money seeing as not everyone has the extra cash to give. Our countries minimum wage is a complete joke compared to other countries’. Hence we try to always pay someone more for a service delivered compared to the norm. R150 per day for a domestic worker is ridiculous, so pay double.  R200 for a hard days labor for a garden worker is just as sad. Are you tipping 10% for a waiter? double that. Start valuing the person delivering the service and not the service.

3. Be nice. This is such a simple thing but so many people fail at it. Being a nice person can make such a big difference. Imagine if the entire worlds population were nice people. Imagine everyone smiling and greeting one another. If people become more courteous on the roads, gifting a place in the grocery shops queue, saying ‘excuse me’ when bumping into you, or even giving you a parking spot. I know… as simple as this sounds its very difficult. There’s so many people out there that do the exact opposite: they grab parking spots, jump queues and give you the middle finger as a greeting. So many people I know feel “why must I be nice if so many people aren’t?”. We feel that in order for us to be nice other people must be nice first. So we’re all rude and greedy and grumpy sitting around waiting for the first person to be nice. How clever…not. Take that first step and be nice regardless of the people around you. You will make a massive difference in this world.

4. Consume Less. Trying to be a conscious consumer is a clever way to make a difference that few people are aware of. We all hear the references and we’ve all seen a few videos on how we humans simply consume more and more and more…’till the destruction and the end of our world they say. By consuming less you as one person definitely contribute less to the mass-scale manufacturing and you’re assisting in keeping this earth alive a bit longer. Granted you alone are making a small dent in the big bucket of consumerism, but remember we’re talking ab out how YOU can make a difference. Check out the link to know more about saving the world by becoming a conscious consumer.

5. Don’t be an extremist. I’ve long held that one of the biggest problems with this world is people that are extremists. It can be anything, be it food, sport, belief, or opinions. If you are extreme in any  of these things chances are you’ve upset someone somewhere down the line or created some sort of division. All the extremists should be thrown onto the same island where they can all go ahead and force their beliefs down each others throats leaving the rest of the population alone in peace. Now, not all extremists are this “extreme”. Some merely stand strong for what they believe in. There is a difference between the two, and I am still figuring this out. The biggest waves, news, upheaval, debate, arguments, sadness, pain and suffering done by humans are by the hand of extremists. Religious extremists are probably the best example together with racial, sporting and cultural extremists. An extremist of these types would typically feel an urge to either have other people conform to their ways of doing things, to their ways of belief, and to their ways of living. If the urge to conform others are not there among these extremists then there is a definite sense of superiority among them feeling anyone who does not share any of their liking’s are inferior. As I mentioned this is most typically religious, racial, cultural or sexual. The key here is so respect others truly no matter what they believe or are like while still holding to your own ‘extreme’ behavior in peace.

6. Slow down. Can slowing down make a difference? Yes is can! We’re all constantly rushed and in a hurry,  on the move, fast and furious. As Treebeard from Lord of the Rings use to say, “we’re all very hasty aren’t we? Don’t be hasty little humans”. Rather obviously this behavior eventually shapes the society and world we live in. Look around you. We’re all a bunch of ants scurrying around from one place to the next never stopping to view the sunrise or truly being present. By slowing down in traffic, at home, opening up your schedule a bit, doing less, even talking slower we’re resisting this urge to follow society into the rush of instant gratification and moving fast. By slowing down we notice the world around us, we start to smile, we start to enjoy life more because we are more present. I wrote some more on slowing down here.

7. Embrace Satyagraha. Satyagraha is a term Mahatma Gandhi gave to the movement he began and is/was famous for. Passive resistance. In most conflict, the goal is to defeat the enemy, to stop him from meeting his goal, or to meet a goal that the enemy is trying to stop (enter Extremists). But in Satyagraha the goal is to change the mind of the wrong-doer, not to force him. Winning means getting along with the enemy to make what is wrong right again, which they might not realize is wrong. For this to happen, the enemy’s mind must change to realize that he is stopping a goal that is right.There is so much more to say on this topic. We are now talking about what is right and what is wrong and this in itself can be very confusing. Satyagraha my Friend.

8. Respect life: When we had our holiday break a while back me and the wife came upon a great revelation. One morning when we  were driving along on a dirt road in the Mount Zebra National park looking for wild life (which is by far one of the most enjoyable aspects of the entire trip) it hit us. That awesome morning rush of driving out of camp looking for wild animals we learned we enjoy seeing ANY type of animal, or ANY type of life in ANY form. Yes we want to see lions and big game, but we are people who genuinely appreciates and respects all forms of life in whatever form it may show itself. Whether it’s a human, dog, lion, bird or insect… it’s life! Sadly the majority of the world do not share this appreciation, hence we have things such as animal cruelty, racial prejudice, etc. Start noticing life all around you, whether its in a form you know, recognize and love or whether it’s in an unknown or yet un-loved form.

9. Respect authority. Now this is a difficult one isn’t it.  Especially for us South Africans. I often drive in traffic and get frustration with how everyone drives. It is glaringly obvious that there exist a total lack of respect for the law. It reminds me of a prodigy song called “Their law” that starts with these words and then goes on to say “Fuck’em and their law”. Although I’m not really trying to convey this message at this time, overthrowing governments and corrupt rulers do have a time and place. But for most of us it does not end there. It flows over to a lack of respect for the government, road laws, tax laws, government officials, and pretty much towards anybody standing in a position of authority. Granted it is very difficult when your countries own president has so many open cases of unjustness (if that’s a word) and corruption against him that he’s an example of what NOT to do in a position of authority. Same for our police forces, who here actually respects our police force? We have some pretty bad examples here in the country but that does not justify our lack of respect for authority as a whole. Authority brings order to a world of disorder. Authority brings reason… and it should be allowed to do so.

10. Learn Self-control: Self control is really at the core of most of the above points. Want to consume less…you’re gonna need some self control. Want to be nice…you’re definitely gonna need some self control!  These days we are so influenced by the media and entertainment that we are so easily swayed and persuaded when we need or have to buy. Our lives no longer become our own. The sooner we learn to think for ourselves, control our own behaviors the sooner we will be able to recognize those that choose to manipulate and take advantage of people’s self-control and choices.

There we go. This ended up being a very long post.