Do you ever look at the world and feel a bit hopeless? Like the problems are just too big?
This too common reaction misses the real truth. We are all very powerful and can make a huge difference. It just takes a little clarity.
1. Put problems into perspective.
Some challenges endure for so long it seems they’ll never change. But that doesn’t mean scary or confusing times don’t end.
We have 5,000 years of recorded history on a 4.5 billion-year-old planet. Today or even a year isn’t so long when you consider this bigger picture.
So, keep problems in perspective. Give them some time. This doesn’t diminish the importance of our problems. But it does reduce the sense of panic and despair.
2. Believe problems will be resolved.
Studying history shows how world events came together. When we know how a story ends, it’s easy to see how each setback was actually a step forward. How each twist of the plot led to the ultimate conclusion.
But, when we’re living a story day to day, we don’t know whether or how something will be resolved. But, failure only exists if we quit. Therefore, the common thread across all people, at all times, is hope and the expectation of a return to something better. It’s the basic requirement to realize our dreams and goals.
This is equally true about our individual lives as it is about the world as a whole. Even when we don’t know if we can endure one more moment, we somehow know that there has to be another side, a resolution. That’s what ensures that it will be true.
3. Let go of how and when change must take place.
There’s always more going on around us than we can understand. How often do things happen that we could never have imagined? Our own imagination is actually quite limited. It’s our hopes and dreams that are boundless.
That’s why we shouldn’t force a solution to our problems. When we don’t allow things to unfold, we’re likely getting in the way more than we are helping. By being open-minded we discover new options. Insisting on one particular path eliminates the possibility of alternative solutions. So, don’t be stubborn and controlling.
4. Make the most of today.
Now that you’ve let go of all that you can’t change, it’s time to get to work. When we are clear on what we want to achieve, we can make positive contributions each day.
When we’re focused on what’s not going how we’d like, we can overlook dozens of opportunities to improve our lives and our world. For example, spending time complaining about another person is time we could have spent being helpful towards others. If we only consider our own feelings and circumstances, we aren’t contributing to something bigger. And we’re forcing solutions for ourselves, not facilitating a greater good.
After years of chatting with my coffee barista, I know that her day is a bit better because of customers like me. That’s powerful. And there are spillover benefits to dozens of others as a result. The more responsibility we take for our actions and interactions, the more hope and possibility that is created. Just imagine a world where people were more focused on what they were creating than what they were receiving.
The sum of many small acts has changed history time and again. All we need to do is take responsibility in our own lives. Contribute more than we criticize. Give more energy to hope than to despair. This makes us all powerful, beyond our wildest dreams, to create a better world. Effective immediately.