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How to make the world better

Written by Richard Docwra

We all want to live in a fairer, happier and more sustainable world but it can sometimes feel that we can’t make a difference on our own. But there are many important things we can each do, and this Life Squared guide gives 10 simple ideas on how you can make the world better – starting now.

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How to make the world better

1. Be good to yourself – start by treating yourself well.  Not just eating well and getting some exercise, but be proud of yourself, treat yourself gently and be happy with who you are.  If you do this, you’re more likely to have a better attitude towards everyone else.

2. Give time – it is one of the most scarce resources in the modern world, so giving time to other people shows that you value them.  This could include making the time to visit someone, doing some voluntary work, helping someone out or just giving someone some extra attention when you feel they could use a friend.

3. Connect – we can make life so much better for everyone by connecting better with other people – including those we know and those we don’t.  With people we know, we can do things like phoning rather than emailing, refusing to spread malicious gossip and giving our full attention to each interaction we have so that we engage with everyone properly.  For people we don’t know, we can smile more, make eye contact, open up conversations and avoid making negative judgements too early.

4. Buy less – overconsumption is a key cause of many of our modern environmental problems, so try to consume less.  Ask yourself whether you really need more stuff and whether there are other things that could make you happier.  Are there more enjoyable things you could be doing with your time than shopping?

5. Drive less and don’t fly – if we are to live sustainably we simply cannot continue to travel as we do.  Where you can, try to walk, cycle or take public transport rather than driving.  Share lifts if you have to drive.  Avoid flying if you possibly can – and be honest with yourself about this.  Could you have a video conference rather than a business flight?  Enjoy holidays and exploring by train, ferry or other transport rather than flying.

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6. Get involved locally – don’t be a stranger in your local community.  Get to know your neighbours, use your local shops and join local social clubs and community groups.  This will make your own life better too!

7. Try to understand – make the effort to understand other people and the world around you, as this will make you both more willing and able to live in a way that is good for them as well as you.  Empathise with other people – including their situations and how they think and feel.   Learn about the world you live in, appreciate it and find out how you can make it better.  

8. Support charity – but do your research – find organisations that you really want to support and that you feel really make a difference.  Sites like can help you do this research.

9. Do one good act a day – it could be anything – from picking up a piece of litter someone else has dropped to offering your seat on the train to someone else.  Once you’ve started doing this, you’ll get into the habit of doing it all the time as second nature – because it feels good!

10. Live your values – take an hour or two to think about what your values are – what are the principles, ideas and things that really matter to you?  Once you’ve identified these values, think about how you can live in line with them in your daily life.  Then, do it!  Our courses, guides and knowledge base can help you go through this process.

© Life Squared 2010

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