How to Change the World in 4 Simple Steps

by   |  August 11, 2014

Save the WorldHave you ever wanted to  change the world?   Is there some cause you are passionate about, but have no idea where to start?

When you think about it, there are  only four  simple steps you must take to save the world:

1)           Pick a Geographical Area

2)           Identify Problems and / or Inadequate Solutions

3)           Devise [Better] Solutions

4)           Start a Movement in which Others Adopt the Better Solutions

Step  4 is clearly the most difficult.   That is why it is best to start small with Step 1.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Pick a Geographical Area

Pick a small area, such as one part of a city.   You can even choose to start with the members of your immediate family as your testing ground.   Don’t get too carried away by grandiose ambitions, or you run the risk of overwhelm, disappointment and burnout.   Pick an area in which you believe you’ll have a realistic amount of influence.

For example, when I was in high school, I started a high-school based environmental club with an interested teacher as my advisor.   My mission was to promote recycling in the school.   It worked reasonably well because my goals were small, my area of influence was small, and my solutions were easy to implement.   I didn’t change the world overnight, but it was a great learning experience that prepared me for bigger projects.

Recently, my influence has grown within the small business community.   As such, I was effective in partnering with the Green Impact Campaign to help small business owners increase sustainability in and around the greater Lehi area.   My next project is to train a group of students in my MBA program to do the same thing in their communities.

Start small and allow your projects to grow as you gain more experience saving the world.

Step #2: Identify Problems and / or Inadequate Solutions

The second step in changing the world is understanding what needs to change in your area of influence.   Look around you.   What environmental problems can you identify?   What challenges do people face when it comes to waste management, emissions, or making altruistic lifestyle choices?

Perhaps even more challenging than solving problems is fixing inadequate solutions.   Perhaps your town has a recycling system but it’s too complicated or expensive for anyone to understand or afford.

Step #3: Devise [Better] Solutions

What are the best solutions you can come up with to solve problems and replace the existing bad solutions?   Take time to ponder and write down your ideas.   Begin by dumping your spontaneous thoughts and reactions on paper.   Then begin to organize your thoughts into a solid plan.

Consider how others could adopt this plan.   Make it as step-by-step, concise, specific and easy to follow as possible.   “Stop wasting food” won’t be as effective as, “Refrigerate leftovers to eat within 7 days”.

Step #4: Start a Movement in which Others Adopt the Better Solutions

As aforementioned, this is the most challenging step.   That is why it is so important to form a solid plan in Step 3.

To make Step 5 easier, don’t feel like you have to do it alone.   Enlist others on your team who are just as enthusiastic about your ideas as you are.   Perhaps it’s your sister or brother.   Maybe it’s your mom.   In my high school club, I got like-minded friends to join the club and stand behind my cause.   Throughout my Green Impact Campaign, Co-Founder Daniel Hill was my mentor and confidante.   Since teaming up with Net Impact, I have partnered with many other mentors, students, confidantes and friends to keep my enthusiasm sky-high.

As you get others excited about your cause, start talking to people who are decision-makers.   Who is it that has power, influence, or jurisdiction to drive change?   In your family, it’s probably one or both of your parents.   In your school, it could be the principal and administrative staff.   At work, it could be your boss.   In your city, it could be the mayor and town council.   Do everything you can to reach those people of influence and start engaging in conversation.

If you get positive responses from people, remember to follow-up with them so they can follow-through on their commitments.

Starting a movement isn’t easy, but don’t give up.   Watch inspiring TED talks, documentaries and films to help fuel your dream.   Be open with your most trusted friends and they will support you in your darkest hour.

You’re on to something great, so keep that chin up! Keep your purpose firmly in mind and keep revising your plan as you go along.

More on: Changing the World, Insights, Strategies
About the Author:

Mimi West is a consummate entrepreneur, brand and marketing expert. This retired opera singer and Founder of My Dream Teacher is now pursuing her MBA at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Administration. You can follower her on Twitter: @MimiGuynnWest.
Publshed: August 11, 2014  | 
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