clean world

How to Make the World a Better Place

Whenever I went camping as a Boy Scout, they would always tell us to “Leave this place better than you found it.” Some people would visit the campsite and leave plenty of trash behind, but not us. Not only would we take out everything we brought in, but we’d pick up some of the trash that other people had left. We always left the campsite better than we found it.

Now, what if we took that idea and expanded it? What if every time we came in contact with another person, we decided to leave them better than we found them? Meaning that not only would we not add to their troubles, but we’d make sure that they’d walk away feeling better than they did before. Imagine if everyone resolved to do that! And it’s really not hard.

How to not bring trash in

Last year I was reading an article about how much people complain every day, and I decided to do a little experiment. I was going to see how far through the day I could go before I heard someone complain. I didn’t even make it to work before it happened! I got on the elevator with a coworker, who started off the day by complaining about four ridiculous things.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t point out things that need to be corrected, or talk about how we can improve things. But I was really surprised when I realized how much we whine about things that we can’t change and which don’t matter anyway. Why do we need to actively contribute to each other’s misery?

When you’re talking to someone, ask yourself if you think they really want to hear you complain about traffic, or the weather, or gas prices. If the answer is no, then maybe you don’t need to do it. The same goes for telling people how bad they are at something, or how they’re going to fail at something, or anything that makes them worse off for having spoken to you. Keep your trash to yourself.

How to take trash out

Besides not putting the other person in a worse mood, we can also do what we can to put them in a better mood. This actually takes less effort than being a jerk, so you might as well do it.

People usually like to talk about themselves. Ask them how they’re doing. Ask them how their family is doing, using their names if you know them. Think about something they said they were going to do, and ask how it went. If you just show an interest, they’ll do most of the work in responding.

Listen to what they say, and ask follow-up questions. Compliment and congratulate them, and show that you care. This is just being human, and it’s not hard at all. But it’s amazing how much effect this can have on their mood.

Final thoughts

If everyone left the great outdoors better than they found it, the environmental impact would be huge. Likewise, if everyone left people better than they found them, there’s no telling how big the repercussions could be.

Leaving people better than you found them might seem like something you should just do as a decent human being, and that’s true. But actually, it benefits you as well. When people realize that they feel better after talking to you (and worse after talking to some other people), they’ll want that to continue. They’ll also want to reciprocate.

Do enough to put people in a better mood, and you’ll soon find that everyone wants to do the same for you. Make people glad to be around you, and it’s inevitable that you’ll be rewarded.

Hunter Nuttall wants you to stop sucking and live a life of abundance. Visit his site to learn how to improve your life and your income.

Image by isado.

  • http://abetterperson.com/abetterperson Doug

    “if everyone left people better than they found them”

    There’s a very powerful thought behind that phrase which could only have a great impact upon the society in which we live.

    Thanks for a great post that is both a great read and an inspiration.

    Leave People Better Than You Found Them – could be a great motto.

    • http://hunternuttall.com/ Hunter Nuttall

      Doug, sure, I’ll make that one of my mottos!

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  • http://financialphilosopher.typepad.com/thefinancialphilosopher/ Kent @ The Financial Philosopher

    If more people would look for ways to give to others and to the world, rather than ways to take something for themselves, the world would be a better place…

    “Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others…for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.” ~ Albert Einstein

    • http://hunternuttall.com/ Hunter Nuttall

      Kent, wow, this is very different from the other Einstein quotes I’ve seen. Thanks for posting it.

  • http://yes-to-me.com/ Akemi – Yes to Me

    Hi Hunter,

    I like this post a lot. I call this process “spreading the Light”. Light is infinite and we have more when we share.

    It’s so important to treat people like people. It’s a basic principle of success, too. I read your blog basically I like you and like conversing with you over the comments, and I guess many are doing the same.

    Blessings,

    Akemi Gaines

    • http://hunternuttall.com/ Hunter Nuttall

      Akemi, lately I’ve heard people talking about how one candle can light another without losing its flame. Spreading the light works both literally and figuratively.

      • http://yes-to-me.com/ Akemi – Yes to Me

        Yes, that is what I’m talking about “Lightwork” because we are Lightworkers.

  • kathleen schuitema

    This is truly an inspirational post.

    • http://hunternuttall.com Hunter Nuttall

      Thanks, Kathleen. If everyone is inspired to do just a little bit, the cumulative effects can be tremendous.

  • http://www.epicself.com Amber

    I love the idea of leaving someone better off than how you found them. I’m always looking for ways to be more compassionate. Not only do you make someone’s day, and feel better yourself, but you are increasing the collective positive energy in the world. Something we as people should cultivate more of between one another. Even a smile will do the trick :) Thanks for the inspiration!

    • http://hunternuttall.com Hunter Nuttall

      Amber, smiling is a good idea. It costs nothing but means a lot.

  • Rick Veenstra

    “To leave people better than I found them” – I like this phrase a lot. It might very well become part of my core value statement. It sounds more ‘real’ than the universal and devaluated term “love”. Though it seemlessly fits in the “love thy neighbor as thyself” as Jesus expressed it in the second great commmandment of love (Matthew 22:35).

    About not bringing trash in: Will Bowen wrote “A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted”. Although it seems Will created a serious movement around it in the US, I learned from it just recently (the book finally got translated in Dutch). It looks to me like a viable step-by-step method to train yourself in refraining from complaining. More information can be found on http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org/book.html

    • http://hunternuttall.com Hunter Nuttall

      Rick, I’m so glad you mentioned Will Bowen. I did the purple bracelet thing myself, and it’s definitely worth checking out. I have his book, but haven’t read it yet.

  • http://www.alphastudent.com Ali Hale

    Hunter, like Rick, your words “To leave people better than I found them” really struck me.

    I all too often find myself burdening other people with tiny worries, problems and complaints. I think rather than seeing how far through the day I can get before I hear someone else complain, I should probably first look to how long *I* can go without complaining …

    I’d definitely like people to feel better after talking to me, just as I’d like people to feel better after they read one of my blog articles. Somehow, I find it easier to be a good listener for people I don’t know very well — with very close friends and family, I tend to talk at them about my problems. Definitely a habit I need to break.

    Thanks for posting something that made me sit up and take a good look at my own bad habits!

    • http://hunternuttall.com Hunter Nuttall

      Ali, I guess if you’re the one who’s complaining, then yes, you should start with yourself! All of us should really take a good look at our habits, because when we’re used to them, we keep reinforcing them without even thinking about it.

  • http://abundance-blog.marelisa-online.com Marelisa

    Hi Hunter: What a great way to apply something that you learned as a Boy Scout to the world at large. Businesses should give more to their customers than they expect, you should go beyond just adhering to your position description at work, and so on. And I love the idea of leaving people better off than when you found them. Great post!

    • http://hunternuttall.com Hunter Nuttall

      Marelisa, you’re right, this can apply to many aspects of our lives. No matter what the situation is, doing a little more than you have to shows that you care.

  • http://shanelyang.com/blogs/articles/ Shanel Yang

    Bravo! Love the idea! And a simple smile or “hi” takes a lot of “trash” out for most people, even total strangers! : )

    • http://hunternuttall.com Hunter Nuttall

      Shanel, definitely! Simply not frowning puts you above most people, and then a smile is the icing on the cake.

  • http://www.pickthebrain.com Peter

    “To leave people better than I found them” – this is such a simple, yet powerful, idea. Great article Hunter.

    • http://hunternuttall.com Hunter Nuttall

      Peter, sometimes the simplest things are the most powerful, aren’t they?

  • http://rebelzen.com Seamus Anthony

    That’s the ridiculous thing about this world: if every body just did the right thing it’d be paradise.

    Yep – if only …

    But every little bit counts, and my motivation in life is a stubborn belief that everything good we do contributes to the positive evolution of life on Earth.

  • Vance

    “But I was really surprised when I realized how much we whine about things that we can’t change and which don’t matter anyway. Why do we need to actively contribute to each other’s misery?”

    Persistent whining is negative, but sometimes people ‘share misery’ because it’s comforting to know someone else shares their problem. It gives us something to laugh about. If you and I are in an elevator and seem to be the only two people in the building who didn’t bring an umbrella on a rainy day, we can laugh about our poor situation. Talking about our problems can be liberating or help bring things into focus. It’s consistent or persistent whining that causes problems; it’s complaining without effort to change or effort to accept.

    As to the main intent of your post, I believe a quotation attributed to the Buddha is appropriate:

    “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

  • http://www.balancedexistence.com Stephen – Balanced Existence

    It is a wonderful thing to know that the best things in life such as love and happiness are increased by giving them away for free.

    Nice post!

  • http://www.attractionmindmap.com Evelyn Lim

    Great advice about leaving the world a better place than we’ve found it. Most of us are just not aware of how much toxicity we add to the air, with our complaints. When we become aware of how we ourselves are polluting the earth in our own way, we will also begin to show a little interest, care and kindness to others.

    • shinichi

      i want to ask you something.how to make the world a better place to live

  • Michael Michalowski

    great post! And you are right .. imagine if we could bring everyone in the world to act like this .. isn’t it the law of the “small steps big success” ?
    keep going!

  • Jenni

    This is a great read, and reminder. We need to be reminded from time to time that we are part of the whole of mankind.
    And with “love thy neighbor as thyself” spoken more by Bono these days, that it isn’t a suggestion, but a command. It would be good for us to take that seriously, since we will be asked about it, when we meet our maker.

  • http://www.themasterssecretkey.com/ Candace

    Great post. Only if we could get everyone to follow it, imagine the abundant positivity and all that could be accomplished.

  • http://www.guyfarmer.com Guy Farmer

    Great thoughts Hunter. It’s amazing how much power we have to create positive vibes in the world. Each of us has the potential to make the world a better place by consciously doing things that add to our own well-being and that of others. It does take deliberate effort but the reward is that we get to live a happy life and help others do the same.

  • Cat

    I have a way to make the world a better place and share the light. Whenever I return a book to the local library, I put a little piece of paper in it saying “Have a nice day :)”. I found a piece of paper in a book saying this once and it made my day-so I decided to share that happiness around. It’s a little thing, but it’s a start.

    • bored game

      good for you

      • game bored

        you for good

  • bored game

    hi there