10 harder but worth it ways to make a difference

Easy is great. I love it when aspects of my life as easy, but I also appreciate a challenge. I love a good challenge. While there are lots of easy ways to make a difference , sometimes easy and simple are not enough for me.

10 ways to make a difference

  1. Tolerance and acceptance– Perhaps one of the hardest character traits of all. There is a fine line between tolerance and accepting people and cultures and perpetuating an undesirable outcome by inaction. Tolerance is a step on the way to acceptance. While I always ultimately strive for acceptance over tolerance sometimes I have to tolerate something for a while before I can work past it and accept it.

I know someone who is raciest. For years, I had the hardest time with that. I tolerated the fact that he was raciest (and ageists and homophobic and probably a lot of other things) because he is married to a friend of mine. Because I was tolerant, I didn’t yell at him, berate him, or kick his ass :D which I was occasionally tempted to do but I tolerated his ideas even though I strongly disagreed. It was so far out of my thinking to even understand why or how anybody can determine someone character based solely on genetics, age, etc.

It took me a couple years to get passed this but I finally moved from tolerance to acceptance. I don’t agree with him, but I accept that is how he feels. I don’t feel the need anymore to get angry or upset about it.

Even if people could tolerate without accepting on an extreme scale, there would not be war because if everyone would tolerate every difference, if you did not like where you lived, the old place would tolerate you leaving and the new place would tolerate you coming.

Ultimately, my goal is to work past tolerance and just accept that people do and thing and feel the way they do. Just as I accept a sunny day (I like rain better), I can accept people.

There does get to be a line of accepting what people do and allowing something undesirable to occur by not taking action and standing up for your core values. (see point 5 in this list)

  1. Be in the moment – The past does not exist, the future is not here (and never will be) so all we have is this moment. This moment to make a change, to do something different, to work towards a goal, to live! From my experiences, most people live in the past of what once was or the future which you never hit.

I find myself falling into this trap as well. Using events as blocks to stumble over instead of build from. The past is not occurring now (if you subscribe to linear time theory) so it serves as events to learn from not to directly influence a decision. If you had been in a bad relationship and used your passed to influence decisions you might say, I shouldn’t date or relationships are bad. But instead, if you use the bad relationship as a learning tool, you have more knowledge at which to make a brand new relationship out of.

I also find myself occasionally putting myself in the future. While knowing what my goals are and working toward them are good things, sometimes I get a little too wrapped up in it. When I am dead tired and working 80 plus hours a week, I constantly reminding myself that I can work myself to the bone now because this will make a better future. But this creates me working for the future instead of the now. Yes, what happens tomorrow is important, so is what happens today. No one is really working for the future; they are working to create a better present moment.

  1. Set achievable goals and move forward - If you want to change your future, you have to change your present. You can change your present by making goals and following through on them.

  1. Courage – While tolerance and acceptance are fabulous things, sometimes you need the courage to stick up for your core values (see point 5). Courage does not replace the need for acceptance but rather gives you the ability to accept it and try to change it.

Trying new things, taking risks, and standing up for what you believe in become a lot easier when you have courage behind you. Maybe you won’t become Gandhi over night, but little practices of courage can eventually lead to courageous decision making and the ability to be courageous with your life.

  1. Stick to Core values – Core values are the nonnegotiable values you try to live your life by. Sometimes people or events differ from your core values. It then becomes your choice to make a conscious decision to take action or not.

Accepting that people are different is part of life, but people feel the need to stand up for their core values to help bring about change. Someone trying to change the world to reflect their values may be very different then your own and they might take action against you.

Returning to the example of my friend’s husband. If he were to suddenly begin to attack and harm people instead of just being talk, I would feel the need to take action to stop him. Now I can chose how I stop him, call the police, ask him to stop, physically stop him, or just pretend it does not happen. He has not hurt anyone , but when he says things I disagree with, I share my opinion and move on. I also chose not to be in his presence very often.

Interesting enough, when I finally accepted he was who he was and began to act consciously instead of react to him, he actually has come along way. I have seen him dozens of time in the past few months, and he has not said anything raciest. He also is now ok with the fact that is step daughter is dating a black man.

Everyone has the choice to stand up for their core values in their own way whether it be a peace protest, hunger strike, getting into a fight, or starting a war.

  1. Compassion – compassion is more then just a general sympathy for others. It is a deep rooted understanding that allows us to feel what someone else is feeling. It creates a bond that transcends language, culture, space, and time. For me, it also spans species to all animals and even to trees and plants and the earth its self. Compassion often takes the form of sadness or pain because humans understand what it is like to suffer so we feel for people who are experiencing suffering.

Compassion can also prompt us to take action. Every time I see a picture of a starving kid, it helps me mold more ideas to help solve world hunger. Compassion can be a strong motivator to help bring about change.

  1. Balance – is key to survival and happiness. It is difficult to be happy and make a difference if you work 90 hours a week. It is hard to accomplish anything if you spent 24 hours a day sleeping on a beach. Life is a balance between goofing off and having fun, learning and teaching, feeling and acting, doing and sleeping, happiness and sadness. Just as a well balanced diet helps keep a person strong and healthy, a well balanced life helps keep a person happy and active and moving forward.

I struggle with this every now and again. I tend to bury myself in work until fun is a long ago memory. Eventually as I being to burn out, I realize the missing component is balance.

  1. Take some calculated risks – I once told someone, I might be a risk taker but I am not a stupid risk taker. I would love to jump out a play one day (good fun risk), but I am going to wear a parachute (not wearing a parachute is a stupid risk) unless I learn to fly by then :D

Sometimes you have to risk something to win big whether be it love or money or a new business or a new life or moving or anything. Sometimes risks can be scary or nerve wracking.

When I was younger, I played a lot of basketball. I could sink shots from all over the court but in a game, I never shot the ball. This went on for quite some time. After watching me play, someone told me that the VIP on our team only made 50 percent of her shots, but that I missed 100 percent of the shoots I never take. I thought about that for a while, and it was true. I broke my foot playing basketball in the rain soon after that so I was out for the season, but I started shooting the ball and I made more then 50 percent of my shots :)

Sometimes you just have to go for it. If you try 10, your bound to come out on top in one of them. I would rather come out on top once per 10 then never at all. And as you take more risks, you get better at knowing what is a good one and what is not.

  1. Laugh everyday and inspire it around you – laugher is fun and contagious and makes the day go by. Laughing inspires it around you and the world becomes happier.

  1. Love – Love makes the world. How wonderful it feels to love someone your heart aches. How inspiring it is to read about or watch someone fall in love. How moving it is to feel loved not because of what you do, but simply because of who you are. Love is more powerful then fear, hate, or anger. Love transcends death and can make smile with just a thought. Love is amazing and can be found anywhere even in the most unexpected places like between a crow and a kitten .

Adrienne :)

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One Response to “10 harder but worth it ways to make a difference”

  1. Dave says:

    Hey Ade!

    This is an older blog post, but a brilliant one no less! You seem to have a pretty deep understanding of the way things around you work! :)


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