Monthly Archives: May 2017

Want to make a real difference? Here are 3 ways.

Thrilling? Definitely. Terrifying? Probably. At least they’re not doing it for fundraising.

A common theme for many of my clients is wanting to make a positive difference in the world, and being held back by a lack of focus or procrastination. So we’re going on a slight tangent here: If you want to make difference through earning and giving (a perfectly valid way to do good), here are some angles to consider.

First, consider the big picture and make sure you’re doing overall good! Consider sponsored skydiving for charity in the UK: 1,500 people went skydiving for charity and raised £45,000 (after more than 60% of donations were used to pay for the diving), according to 80,000 Hours (an Effective Altruism charity). 163 injuries from the jumps cost the National Health Service around £610,000. So for every £1 raised for the charities, the health service spent roughly £13.

Ironically, many of the charities supported focused on health-related matters.

How about volunteering? Not always as impactful as you’d like, and you don’t want to push a project that appeals to outsiders but ignores the needs of locals, so proceed thoughtfully and listen carefully and continually to those you aim to help.

However, there are ways to make a real difference, and this article from 80,000 Hours describes three of them:

  • Donating effectively.
  • Advocacy.
  • Helping others be more effective.

Click through to the article for guidance on each. (I endorse the work of 80,000 Hours – a great organisation helping people make good choices in careers and altruism.)

Investing time and energy for friendship

Many times in my life I’ve felt disconnected, lacking the friendships I desire. At a distance from old friends, geographically and emotionally. It hasn’t been simply bad luck, or dastardly actions by others. (And if I focused on those things, what could I do about them? Very little.)

Speaking for myself, disconnection has followed from my neglecting of relationships, of the people I’ve cared about and who have cared about me. It has resumed from unclear or misguided priorities. Allowing distractions to govern my time. Lack of social awareness. Lack of conscious, planned commitment to guarding and maintaining friendships. Unwillingness to be vulnerable and own up to my desire for friendship. Fear of taking initiative in making new friends. Low energy due to bad habits and poor management of my health, meaning a lack of spare energy for social activities.

Those things allow friendships to escape, and as time flows on, an untended friendship will escape.

Planning time for friends, keeping in touch over the years and willingness to be vulnerable: these bring friendship closer.