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3 Small Ways to Make a Big Difference

Earlier this month I was asked to participate in a collaborative project to chronicle the ways that people can make a difference in the world. Specifically the small things that people do. Not everyone is a millionaire and not everyone can give up their careers to volunteer full-time. But there are little things that we can all do to help make a difference.

Raam Dev has combined over 40 different bloggers’ ideas for making a difference into an ebook. You can download the full ebook here, or visit his site for more information. I’ve also included my three submissions below.

Stay relevant


Read the news. As often as possible. Staying up-to-date on both local and world news is important. It’s important to be aware of what’s going on around the world. Stay in touch and you stay relevant.

Learn new vocabulary

Favorite Words (2008)

Every time I hear a new or interesting word, I try to write it down. Talking with people from different countries, backgrounds or beliefs, you’re constantly exposed to new vocabulary. Keep those words—whether as a memory or as a way to teach others. Words have power.

Eat less meat


Many cultures around the world don’t consume nearly as much meat as America. You can get the necessary protein from much more sustainable and environmentally-friendly methods. You don’t have to cut out all the meat in your diet (I haven’t) but just be aware that you’re probably consuming more than you actually need.


What do you think? Can your small actions really make a big difference? I think so. But I’m generally an optimist.

  1. lara dunston says:

    Wow! Just discovered this post through Jeremy at Travel Blather! We just did a similar post a couple of days ago

    So, yes, absolutely agree with you that little things can make a difference. I'll have to go and check that e-book – thanks!

  2. Giulia says:

    I always wanted to write down new words but I'm too lazy – should start now! I just got a tiny Moleskine notebook… must be a sign!!!
    Concerning the news, you know what? Since I had my accident I started reading the news more, and I found out this makes a huge difference.
    As usual, I agree with you:)
    p.s. I don't really like meat…

  3. Raam Dev says:

    Hey Adam,

    Thank you for your participation in this project and for giving the ebook a plug and link here. :)

    Safe travels!

  4. Jen says:

    I think all these ideas and whichever other ones you can think of that would make a difference depend on a very simple concept that seems like it's impossible to conceive: consider others. Something as basic as stopping and thinking about others could change so many things that are wrong.

  5. Jen says:

    I love the movie “Pay It Forward.” Watching others do it is inspiring. I feel like the whole concept brings up a few very important discussions: Why are you paying in forward? Is the act selfless or is it being performed under the expectation that the good deed will be returned? Does it matter anyway?

  6. says:

    LOL at your first favorite word! Mistress!

    I really think that these 3 ideas are superb, along with a simple phrase that I live by: “Pass it forward”

    I believe that whatever we do affects somebody else in some specific way. No matter how minute that effect is, we are still responsible for it. So whatever we do, we are passing it forward. So pass it forward, and let others know that you are passing it forward. You might just inspire them to do the same. This simple act will make a whole lot of difference in the process.

  7. Joya says:

    I was recently studying for the GRE and had to learn so much new vocabulary. I feel like I have definitely made an improvement in my knowledge.

  8. Adam says:

    Thanks Lara – definitely take a look a the ebook. It's free and really inspirational. Well worth a download! Also, Raam's prologue/introduction is really great!

  9. Adam says:

    Definitely start writing down words! It's a funny habit and a lot of times the words aren't revolutionary or anything, but it's a nice thing to capture.

  10. Adam says:

    My pleasure Raam! It's an incredible project and just reading through other people's statements had motivated me even more.

  11. Adam says:

    “Consider others.”

    That's great, Jen. I see what you mean. Thoreau said “simplify, simplify, simplify” so you can definitely generalize all these great ideas into a single statement. I like that that's how the world can work.

  12. Adam says:

    Hey now! “mistress” is a really cool world.

    You're right about paying it forward. It's a nice idea and should be acted upon more often. I like Jen's suggestion of simplifying ideas to “consider others” which fits in nicely with the concept of paying it forward.

  13. Adam says:

    I loved that movie when it first came out, too! And you've got some really thoughtful questions there.

    My opinion is that it doesn't necessarily matter WHY you would do a good deed. So long as it's good and it's done. It's helping others. Something is better than nothing.

  14. Adam says:

    Thanks for sharing, Joya!

    I've always been a big believer that words have power.

  15. Adam says:

    Thank you Rahman,
    Having an influence is as good as anything. I like what you say: “do what you think is good, proper and positive.” Sometimes that's all that's needed to make change in the world.

    I hope you've downloaded the ebook! There are hundreds of other good, small suggestions in there.

  16. websitetraffic says:

    I'm an optimist too. There are certain works that don't return results in a tangible way or in a short time, but they surly make a difference as people get influenced by what you do.

    This is specially true of the situations where everyone else thinks otherwise. You should go for it and do what you think is good, proper and positive.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Rahman Mehraby

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