Life Coach Magazine

Giving Back To The World Around You

By Gjosefsberg @gjosefsberg

Trash on the trailThis morning Julie and I went hiking through the local park.  We took Daisy with us and, since she loves splashing through water, we took her down to the edge of a little creek that runs near the trail.  It was a beautiful spot, isolated even though it was close to a main road.  The water was sparkling, the plants were lushly green and everything was perfect.  Except right there on the water’s edge sat the remains of someone’s McDonald’s meal.  That’s right, someone else had appreciated this spot so much that they came down here to enjoy their meal but then left several drink cups, food wrappers and paper bags littering the creekside.

Now I’m not going to pass judgement on the people who left this trash there.  I have no idea why they left it there, nor do I know the circumstances.  Perhaps they left quickly after being scared off by a wild animal.  Perhaps they come from a culture where littering is more common.  Perhaps they intended to come back but forgot after their own hike.  Who knows.  What I do know is that I love this beautiful spot in the park.  So I grabbed a bag out of my pocket (when you walk a dog, you quickly learn to carry plastic bags with you to pick up poop) and Julie and I picked up the garbage together and carried it off to the nearest garbage bin.

I’m not saying this to look like some kind of environmental hero, it was quite easy to do and required virtually zero effort.  I say this because I want to encourage all of you to make this world a little bit better than it is today.

Ahh Washington

I don’t care what your opinion is of the current debt crisis or what you think of our trade imbalance.  You can tell me all you want about how democrats are awful or about how republicans are terrible and I’ll happily listen and nod along.  It’s great that you care and it’s great that you have opinions, but what are you going to do about all this trouble that you worry about?  I care about actions much more than words and I want to know how YOu are going to make this world better.

Most people, when you talk to them, they feel helpless to change the world around them.  Me, I feel like I have no time because there’s so much I can do to make this world a better place.  There’s so much we can do as individuals to make the world better and yet we focus on the big things, the things we can do very little about.  How about some of the little things?  Do you care about the environment?  Then pick up that can or that plastic bag that you spot on your hike and take it to the trash can.  Do you care about our trade imbalance?  Then walk instead of drive and save on some of that mostly imported oil.  Do you care about education?  Then volunteer at a local school.

California is hurting for money and last year, there were plans around this area to lay off numerous teachers.  Some parents yelled and screamed that the legislature was killing their future, others decided to do something about it.  In one local school district the parents banded together and raised enough money to prevent any teacher layoffs.  It actually turned out to be a relatively minor amount when you spread it out per household, and many of the wealthier parents paid much more than their fair share.  Most families had to pay around $200 though.  Is this fair?  I have no idea.  Should they have had to do so?  I have no idea.  Isn’t this the government’s job?  I have no idea.  Should we discuss teacher pay and union benefits?  I have no idea.  All I know is these parents chose to do something and they delivered better education for their kids than those parents who did nothing.

Yes, I know you hate Washington and yes, I know you feel like the country is going in the wrong direction and you don’t know what to do about it.  I urge you to carefully research issues and vote accordingly.  I am not going to discuss politics though, at least not in this post.  What I am going to urge you to do is all the little things that we all can do to make this a better country and a better world.  Here are just a few examples that any one of us can do:

  • Walk or bike instead of driving – You save money and get in shape while helping out both the environment and our trade imbalance
  • Pick up trash – You too can save a wild bird, or a fish, or a sea turtle, just by picking up some trash.
  • Volunteer – Don’t give away your money, give away your time and meet some wonderful people in the process.
  • Get involved in local politics – Forget Washington, your local city and county governments need you.  Get involved at the local level and who knows, maybe one day I’ll be complaining about your inaction in Washington!
  • Work with kids – There’s nothing more important to our future than kids and there are numerous ways in which you can make a difference.  From Big Brothers and Sisters to volunteering at your local school, you can make an incredible difference in some child’s life and that means a lot.
  • Save – If you’re worried about government spending, how about starting small by limiting your own spending?  It’s easy to save.  There are a 1001 personal finance blogs out there all ready to help you start saving.  My personal favorites are The Simple Dollar and Get Rich Slowly.
  • Take care of yourself physically – Worried about Healthcare costs spiraling out of control?  Then how about trying to avoid becoming part of the problem?  Eat healthy, work out and live a healthy lifestyle and you’ll be amazed at how low your healthcare costs are (I’ve had 2 doctor’s visits in the past 10 years that were not related to yearly physicals).

This is just a short list of the many ways in which you can make a difference.  I know all of these sound small (what difference will it make if I help one child when our nation’s education policies involve millions of kids) but I’d like to point out that there are in fact millions of us.  Actually, there are over 300 million of us in the US and over 5 billion of us in the world today.  If each of us did all the little things that were within our reach, the world would be a far better place.

As for me, I’m about to go hiking, and yes, I’ve got garbage bags with me which I will fill with any small piece of refuse I find along the trail.  My goal is to leave that park in better shape than I found it, which is pretty much my goal for this world as well.

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