Change Your Thinking: 30 Ways to Make the World a Better Place
“I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.” ~ Aldous Huxley
The recent tragedy and the resulting protests across the world have made all of us think about how we can be a force for good in the world, not passively turning a blind eye or actively adding to the sorrows. I believe the solution lies in this: if you want to change the world, change your thinking.
Wouldn’t you agree that the quality of your life depends on YOUR attitude — the way you think about your life? It’s not dependent on your circumstances, who you’re with, or what you have. People can have it all and still be miserable. People can have so little and be joyful.
The quality of our world will be improved by each of us modeling the behavior we want to see. What qualities do you want to experience more fully?
The single most important way to change your thinking is: enhance mindful self-awareness, as you put specific names of qualities to specific actions. This one, very intentional act slows you down, puts you into Observer mode, and allows you to think and assess your actions and their possible consequences; it keeps you from just reacting emotionally. This changes your whole way of thinking. As Albert Einstein said, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
Here are 30 examples of how this can be done. Think of this as a personal challenge. See how many of these you can incorporate into one day…how many in one week? Can you do all of them within one month? I think you can!
1. Gratitude: Begin each day by thinking of things you’re grateful for. Feel the smile on your face!
2. Mindfulness: As you perform a task, be fully present.
3. Determination: When you have a lot on your plate, acknowledge that you’re unstoppable, because you can figure out the next step toward moving forward.
4. Practicality: When overthinking things, simplify it by switching from thinking to doing the next baby step forward.
5. Commitment: Notice your procrastination and excuses. Purposefully find reasons why you either should say “NO” or commit to it fully.
6. Flexibility: If you’re always racing against the clock, assess what’s driving you and consider how you can alter your relationship with time.
7. Humility: When you don’t get your way, choose to be genuinely happy for the person who does.
8. Self-discipline: Recognize the “I want it now!” moments and pause. Mindfully assess likely outcomes for each choice. and make a thoughtful decision.
9. Resilience: Embrace mistakes as lessons, not as a judgment on the person you are. Engage your sense of humor and refrain from taking yourself too seriously.
10. Emotional Strength: Nothing lasts forever. When it’s time to let go, hold onto the joy you’ve experienced and lessons learned. Let resentment and bitterness go. Be excited that this opens up space for new opportunities.
11. Spiritual Strength: If you catch yourself unfavorable comparing your life to others, count your blessings and then do one thing to improve your situation.
12. Mental Strength: When it’s hard, try harder. When it’s out of your control, retain your power by controlling your response.
13. Sensitivity: Recognize when you’re demanding and controlling others. Relax and give people the space they need to grow into the best versions of themselves, in their own time.
14. Reliability: As you feel overwhelmed, breathe deeply, and put a positive spin on the situation and show up with the best version of yourself anyway.
15. Centered: Instead of being sucked in by someone else’s drama or negativity, re-center yourself with your intention to be calm.
16. Compassion: As negative thoughts creep in because someone lets you down, or you let yourself down, consciously choose to make the most compassionate act, often this involves forgiveness.
17. Creativity: When you’re in a rut, attempting to fix or fight the same old battles, look for new ways to grow something better instead.
18. Loyalty: When doing the wrong thing seems easier, challenge yourself to rise above it, because you want to be true to your convictions.
19. Maturity: When you catch yourself wanting to take the easy way out, dig deeply to live up to your full potential, despite difficulties.
20. Hopeful: When you feel like giving up, find one reason to keep going on.
21. Initiative: Whether facing a status quo or an uncertain future, look for ways to make the most of the present.
22. Faith: When you have two good choices, pick the one that scares you the most — that’s the one that will help you grow the most.
23. Assertiveness: When others dismiss your ideas, do them anyway, if they feel right for you.
24. Balance. When you’re juggling too much and important people get neglected, pause, shed the nonessentials, and regain your balance.
25. Patience. When you meet someone from a different background, give them your undivided attention, listen and learn from them.
26. Honesty. If you form a dislike for someone, identify the insecurity within yourself that’s triggering it.
27. Resourcefulness: When you feel derailed, pay attention to your whole body as a source of wisdom and learning.
28. Peacefulness: Rather than escalating a negative situation into an emotional confrontation, remember you keep the peace by controlling your emotions.
29. Kindness: When someone is lost or in need, help them.
30. Appreciative: Notice and express appreciation for ALL kindness you receive.
Want to continue this exercise? Other qualities you can identify are conviction, gentleness, caring, hard-working, responsibility, consistency, capability, thoughtfulness, trustworthiness, versatility, knowledgeable, willingness, open-mindedness, logical, seriousness, supportiveness, realism, friendliness, humanity. How would you include each one of these qualities in your daily decisions?
We are all a work in progress. I love what Winston Churchill said about this,
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
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