Making a Difference

by Stephen Mills on September 3, 2009

Helping Hand

Knowing you count for something is an incredibly powerful feeling.  Knowing that you are needed, important, and that you make a difference gives meaning to your life.  Victor Frankl discovered meaning in a concentration camp.  Making something good out of something bad even in tiny ways is something you can do every day.

I don’t believe in crusades. When I say “crusades” I’m talking about mass movements or organizations out to change the world, the city, or the neighborhood. Crusades and crusaders usually become an end in themselves. Even if they don’t, the lion’s share of time and effort still go to the crusade itself and not to the objective of the crusade. I’m not saying there are not good organizations out there because there are, but no crusade will ever match the power of individual human action.

“I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man’s pride.” — William James

Vin Miller and his Natural Bias blog on health mean more to me than all the narcissistic braying by the POTUS and the D.C. crowd on health care. When you pick up the groceries on the sidewalk that spilled when your elderly neighbor dropped the grocery bag, you are doing more than the AARP organization that enriches itself by preying on the fears of its elderly members. If you own one acre of wild land and you let it be, you are doing more than Al Gore who lives in a 20,000 sq ft. 8-bathroom carbon sucking behemoth and jets all over the world talking about global warming.

One of the readers of this blog sent me an email saying only the following: “Yours is by far the best blog on the internet, should be required reading in this crazy world.” That one sentence meant more to me than anything ever said in a 25-year career in corporate slavery.

As long as there is somebody who needs something and you are doing something about it, you are making a difference. Your life thereby gains meaning and purpose. You don’t need to change the world and you don’t need to feed your ego like crusaders and celebrities. You can make more of a difference by engaging in small little acts of kindness towards your fellow human beings.

Here are some links on ideas for small acts of kindness.  I know there are a lot more out there and if you or you know of someone who has made such a list, put the URL in the comments and I will add it to the list below.

Not So Random Random Acts of Kindness
Index of Kindness Ideas
29 Ways to Carry Out Random Acts of Kindness Every Day

What do you think? Leave a comment below.


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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

alex - unleash reality September 3, 2009 at 7:40 am

hey stephen!

def agree that crusades and crusaders often lose sight of the purpose of the crusade but i don’t think all crusades are meaningless. a couple bad drivers doesn’t mean driving isn’t a good idea. in principle at least 😉

awwwsome idea though. really like the kindness tie-in. checking out the lists now.

i think that irrespective of whether you think that you count or not, when you are compassionate and kind, you move the universe in a positive direction.

…maybe that’s a lil hippy sounding. i guess what i mean – and it’s something i’ve been thinking about lots lately – is that people are often so closed and defensive and offensive and damaged and… not alive.

…and whenever you’re completely empathetic and seeing the humanity in others, being completely compassionate and genuinely caring for the person, they stop holding it all in. all the ego stuff dissolves. like it was never there. it’s like your compassion makes them let go of all the pain and suffering and allows them to just be – to just live – undiluted.

hope you’re well mate
alex – unleash reality


Stephen Mills September 4, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Alex, I love it. You’re a hippy. 🙂 “is that people are often so closed and defensive and offensive and damaged and… not alive. ” I agree. That’s great – thanks.


Jonny | September 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Beautiful post.
“Your life therfore gains meaning and purpose” – The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren is a good place to start if you wish to explore this.

Having a purpose and identity is one of the 5 core ways, in my opinion, to benchmark a rich live. The others being Financial Security, Freedom, Good Relationships and your Health. Having an understand and developing a balance in these core areas you leads to the richest life possible.

Love the blog my friend


Stephen Mills September 4, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Jonny, thanks for stopping in. I like your 5 core ways for a rich life.


Vin - NaturalBias September 3, 2009 at 2:16 pm

To some of us, it’s the small things in life that matter most. It always makes my day when I get an email or a comment from a reader saying that I’ve helped them in some way. I completely agree with the sentiment of this article and am honored to be mentioned in it’s context. Thank you, Stephen! This makes my day too! 🙂
.-= Vin – NaturalBias´s last blog ..Are You Poisoning Yourself to Avoid Body Odor? =-.


Stephen Mills September 4, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Hi Vin, it’s great how the small stuff makes such a big difference. It’s so easy and costs nothing to make someone’s day.


Zeenat(Positive Provocations} September 3, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Beautiful post! heartwarming and touching.
It is indeed the one little act that can change the world around you and that of another. And in that one act you can find so much solace that it can last you a lifetime. I believe in this myself firmly. Hence my Blogs tag line says “Trying to save the world ONE blog post a t time”
I know what a great feeling it is when one reader of your blog says something nice to you. Its always the best gift you could get. And the best part it doesnt cost a thing. Just a giving and helping attitude towards one person and soon if everyone did that, the world would certainly be a better place to live in.
By the way, your blog deserves a lot more praise….You are doing a very good job here. And your writing style is really really great. Perfect and to the point. You have the knack of saying so much in just a few lines. That is a gift. You have got to consider writing a book 🙂
.-= Zeenat(Positive Provocations}´s last blog ..Love Will Truly Set You Free =-.


Stephen Mills September 4, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Hello Zeenat, thanks for the kind words. I do so love your tag line and appreciate the wisdom of your blog.


Karlil September 4, 2009 at 8:26 am

Any kindness, even a smile can make a difference. Act small, think big. Great post Stephen.
.-= Karlil´s last blog ..There’re Only 5 Ways To Get What You Want From Others And Most Have Forgotten The First =-.


Stephen Mills September 4, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Karlil, thanks for the comment. You’ve got to love the fact that you can radiate something good by doing so little. It means you really have no excuse to not do it.


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