Change Work December 2015

Make a difference

I usually devote my December newsletter to a wish-list - either to Santa Claus or to politicians - for things I think will make the world a better place. It clearly didn't work last year as everything seems to have got much worse in 2015.

Looking at it all today I don't really know where to start. Climate change, war, drowning refugees, food banks, the rise of intolerant nationalism - most of it with no end or solution in sight. It's impossible to imagine how anything we can do will have any impact.

So let's not depress ourselves by looking at the enormity of the problems we face globally. Instead I want to focus on the small, the personal.

Then it's quite simple really: do what you can. And I don't mean that in the sense that the grudging or hopeless, "I'll do what I can" usually implies, i.e. "Don't expect very much."

Rather it's: don't let what you can't do stop you from doing what you can do. The positive impact you can have may well turn out to be much greater than you think.

So what can an individual do? That's easy, look for what will help someone else, starting with the people you know - or neighbours you don't know (yet).

It's an old cliché that the greatest joy of gifts is in the giving, but I think there really is a benefit to the giver, especially where the gift is some kind of assistance rather than something wrapped in fancy paper. When your mindset is to make things better for everyone then you feel much better than when you see yourself as a victim of your circumstances. It doesn't even matter if your efforts have little real impact - you are better for them. And at least some of the things you do will be good for someone.

What you choose to do doesn't need to be a great burden that overwhelms you and leaves you feeling guilty.

  • What are you good at or enjoy doing that someone you know would appreciate help with? Their computer? The garden? Babysitting? A lift to work?
  • At work, notice if a colleague is struggling and offer help
  • Join in with a community activity
  • Volunteer for charity work
  • Or just give a friend some of your time when they need it.

When you take the time to look, you'll be able to find many outlets for your talents that don't pay you financially but will be massively appreciated and will give you satisfaction.

Now this has turned out to be a Christmas wish-list after all! It's addressed to you.

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.