People Who Change Things for the Better! Which One are You!

Look around you and you’ll see three kinds of people.  There are those who hate their life and work, and complain bitterly, those who just tolerate their life and work and see it as their “lot in life,” and finally, those who love their life and work, and relish it. That’s because it’s their “life’s-work.”  The third category is a small subset of all professionals world-wide, but this group stands out because these are often the people who change the world for the better.  They never stop trying to improve the lives of others… no matter how small the change.

In my work as a writer, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people who’ve made a true and measurable impact in the world.  Each and every time I have met and written about them, it has been an honor.  However, among this group of what I shall call “influencers” there are also many everyday people who have found a special niche in which they’ve contributed at the highest level.

It’s critical to note that people who’ve made a real difference aren’t all privileged, advantaged or “special” by any stretch.  Many come from disadvantaged families, crushing circumstances and initially limited capabilities, but have found ways to pick themselves up and rise above their circumstances (and often their genes) to transform their own lives and those around them.

I have become aware that there are often similar key behaviors that set them apart from others.

They dedicate themselves to what gives their own life meaning and purpose.

Many people  don’t believe in meaning and purpose as something to pursue in their own life.  While others believe in a life purpose, but won’t take the risk to identify or honor it. Those with positive influence feel otherwise.

They have found that there is a purpose to their life and that purpose usually involves some aspect of turning their “gifts” into a message or using what they’ve learned (often the hard way) as a means of being of service to others.

People with a sense of purpose are driven, focused, committed, and light up a room.  They are unable to be deterred or distracted from what they believe is the reason they’re on this planet at this particular time. This sense of meaning and purpose gives them inexhaustible drive and offers guideposts to follow along the path.

They commit to continually bettering themselves.

People who impact the world for the better know that they are not perfect. They understand how their knowledge isn’t “complete.”  There are always going to be gaps, biases, limitations, and prejudices.  But… they keep at it anyway; they are inexhaustible!

People who positively shape the world come from a “beginner’s mind” and a loving, compassionate heart — with an openness to see, learn, and experience new things on the way to being a better “servant” to others.

 They engage with people in open and honest ways.

Those with huge positive influence understand the power of relationships, connection, and engaging with the world openly. They’re not afraid to get “out there”  connecting with others, sharing their knowledge and talents, offering their authentic and often contrary viewpoints and opinions.  They know that positive, supportive, and authentic relationships are the necessary building blocks to anything and everything they want to achieve.

 They invest time and energy not in what is “wrong,” but rather in what “can be.”

The people I’ve  interviewed who’ve made a positive impact on Society, don’t settle for conformity. When they see something that agitates and disturbs them, they strive to know more, get to the root of the issue, research and understand the contributing factors, and arrive at new solutions. They observe gaps and mistakes in common thinking and behavior and trust themselves in their belief that it’s time to push the boundaries of what’s accepted. They want to affect change because they believe change will bring a better way to live.

They spread what they know.

We’ve all met  “experts” who keep their knowledge secret, close to the vest. They’re afraid to let it out for fear someone will steal it or make money on their ideas. This is the opposite of the positive influencer’s mindset. Those who make a true positive difference can’t help but share and teach what they’ve learned. They don’t see their knowledge as just some commodity to sell… they see it as information that has to be shared with the world for its betterment.  They live the universal principle: “The more you give, the more you get.”

 They use their power and influence well.

Sadly, it’s a common occurrence in the world… and Politics of late... to witness power and influence being wielded as a weapon. It hurts and destroys. Positive influencers use their power well and wisely. Those who impact the world for the better are careful and wise with their words, actions, and behaviors. They operate with open heart and care deeply about their leadership, communication,  and the influence they have on others. They take it seriously, as a special honor and responsibility not to be flaunted or misused. They understand their special role, and accept it with grace, compassion, and care.

Here’s to all of us changing the world for the better.  No task is too small.



Be Who You Were Meant to Be

We all want to learn how to live a happy life.  For a long time I wondered what it took to be sincerely happy and have inner peace. As I pursued money, relationships, and career success, I thankfully realized that happiness doesn’t come from the outside; happiness comes from within each of us.  Eureka.

It is something that is present all the time within you and me. Imagine the layers of an onion being your negative beliefs, thoughts, and fears. As we peel away the layers, (what you are not), we eventually reach the core (who you really are). We are all here on Earth to find meaning and purpose.

Learning how to live a happy life is not about locking yourself in a closet and meditating for the rest of your life. We as human beings are designed to set and achieve goals, so we need goals to feel fulfilled. These are all only a piece of the pie of living a happy life, but we have to keep in mind that it is not the external things in our lives that make us happy, but rather what is going on inside of us.


It all begins with the choice to be happier, to start studying the commonalities of “happy people.” What are they doing? How do they think? How do they face challenges?  Most people want something for nothing. If your life isn’t as good as you want it to be right now, you are the only one that can change it for the better.

We have to become clear about what we want in life and who we want to be.   We do not have to settle for mediocrity. Almost every limit in our lives we set ourselves. Think about that for a moment. Most of the negative beliefs we have, we have learned from society, friends, and even parents.

These beliefs can all be eliminated. We can take control of our own destiny and be happy. We can shape our future, to be healthy and productive. Now, I realize that we can’t “control” everything in life, but we certainly can create a happy life if we choose to.

 Taking Responsibility

You alone are responsible for your life. You may think you have “valid” excuses/ reasons of why you’re not as successful or happy, as you should be.  Guess what? Our excuses don’t matter, because they won’t change anything. Do you want to give your excuses the power of controlling your life? Or do you want to reclaim the power that you’ve always had? It is God-given to all of us.

We can whine, blame, and make excuses all we want, but it will only keep us stuck. If we look at some of the happiest and most successful people, you will notice that most of them did not come from privileged backgrounds.   In fact, many of them had to face brutal challenges in order to get to where they are. The ironic thing is that it wasn’t their problems or challenges that held them back from a happier life. The drama and problems we face in life, can help us grow as human beings if we have the courage to face them and get through them.

 Personal Growth 

Learning how to live a happy life is about learning how we work. It is up to us to take control of our own being. By that I mean our thoughts, our health, and the path we follow. We can go after dreams and we can make a living doing what we want if we just make the decision to do so.

It really isn’t any harder than that. Learning how to live a happy life… almost happens on its own when you make the decision that you are going to be happy and not miserable.


When we make the decision to be happy, the next step is to set clear goals of what we want to achieve in each of the main areas of our life. The main areas in life are: health, work, relationships, and personal growth!

Use the SMART criteria, which stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

I used these in teaching and my students would later contact me and say they still found them powerful in their chosen careers, personal lives, and future goals.

Metaphorically, many choose to sit in the passenger seat of the “car” that is their life. They let the car go where it wants to go and then complain when it ends up in a wrong place or worse yet, a ditch! Successful and happy people take control of the wheel and steer the car where they want to go.

Small Steps

Never underestimate how much you can accomplish just by taking one single step, each day, toward your goals. Learning how to live a happy life is about focusing on the tasks that have the biggest impact on your life. It is up to us to focus on changing our individual habits and beliefs.

When we set goals, we then know the direction we need to go. We don’t have to know exactly how you will get there, but you do have to take one step every single day, or as often as possible to make it happen.


Nothing happens without action. Don’t talk about it; do it! When you can take consistent action in the right direction and work on the most valuable tasks, you can accomplish anything you want. Most people underestimate the power of focus, determination, and action. When you’ve found a goal that sets your soul on fire and makes joy pump through your veins, it will be almost impossible for you not to take action.

For me, it was improving the lives of children who face challenges and lives that are difficult without intervention.  I felt like I had to do it, but didn’t know where or how to start. Quickly, I learned that excuses, fears, or obstacles could not stand in the way. It has been in the journey that I have learned to be the happiest.  I have failed so many times, but still I persist.


It wasn’t until I got this fire inside me that I started making progress. Something funny happens when you make the choice to live a happy life. It’s almost as if the universe conspires to help you. Learning how to live a happy life keeps coming back to the decision… to actually do it. Our lives will never be perfect and the stars will never accurately align. The “perfect” circumstances we need… will not occur until we actually take action. It is each of us who has to take the first step.  It can’t be done for us.

 Follow Your Passion

Most of us know what our heart yearns for, but we are afraid to go after it.  It is often the thing that we’re afraid of doing, but desperately want to do, that is our passion and purpose in life. I remember a few years ago before I started writing as a profession. I was afraid that I had nothing to contribute to the world with my writing and I was afraid of the fact that I wasn’t good enough.

Fortunately, I stood up to my fears.  I wasn’t going to let anything stand in my way of doing what I love.  Amazingly, as I started writing, dozens of people read and responded to my writing. As of right now, tens of thousands of people read my words every single month.

I sincerely believe that the fears we have about going after our passion are unfounded. They are there to challenge and to see if we are truly serious about living a happy and fulfilling life.  It is scary, but I’d say that living a life full of excuses and fear is worse than going after your dreams. So what if you fail? You are living the life of happiness… in the pursuit.