Small actions are often overlooked in a world that is driven by grand gestures and big ideas.

Many mistakenly believe that if you want to get noticed, you have to go big or go home.

But from my perspective, life is less about grand gestures and more about significant moments.

As a mother of six children and a professional speaker, it’s the moments that matter most to me. Because in those moments, your small actions can have a lasting impact and bring a lifetime of positive results.

If you’re ready to change the world around you, here are five small actions that can make a big difference.

Smile at everyone you see.

This is one of the easiest things you can do, but the outcome is so much bigger than you would expect.

In his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie said:

“A smile, someone once said, costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give.

It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it.

Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.”

Never underestimate the value of your smile. You never know what people are going through in their lives.

Your smile can bring about so much good, simply by giving it away.

Give a compliment or express gratitude.

With so much negativity in the world, be one of those people who shares positivity instead.

One of the easiest ways to spread positivity and lift the people around you is to give them a sincere compliment or express your gratitude for them.

Imagine how a struggling cashier at the grocery store could benefit from someone thanking them for their service. Or how a tired mother could benefit from someone acknowledging her sacrifice, thanking her for it, and telling her she’s doing better than she thinks she is.

These small actions—simple words of encouragement—can provide the necessary strength for so many down-trodden people to continue moving forward.

According to the Harvard Business Review, there is increasing evidence that giving someone a positive boost through a sincere compliment or a simple expression of gratitude lifts a person’s mood and contributes to the well-being of both the giver and the receiver.

Mark Twain once said, “I can live two months on one good compliment.”

If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, as a parent, spouse, neighbor, or friend, remember to give sincere compliments and show your gratitude for those around you.

It’s a sure-fire way to make a big difference in your own life and in the life of another.

Take time to listen.

There are so many people carrying heavy loads. They could be struggling with the well-being of a loved one, job loss, divorce, health issues, or any number of things.

Sometimes all people need is someone to really listen to them.

In my own experience, most of the time, people just want to be heard. They want to share their stories and to have someone acknowledge the value and good they have brought to the world.

I love listening to the stories of others. No matter where I go, I make it a point to find someone I don’t know and just listen to their stories.

It’s fascinating to me how many amazing people there are in the world with incredible stories to tell.

We can make a big difference by asking good questions, talking less, listening more, and by creating a loving and supportive atmosphere.

These small actions will open the door for you to see the world in new and unique ways while helping others feel both valued and heard.

Give what you can.

I have traveled around the world, adopted children from far away countries (including South Korea and Africa), and have seen the poverty and lack of so many people.

Yet, these are some of the happiest people in the world.

For most people reading this, we live in abundance. We have so much and really want for nothing.

In our abundance, there are so many “things” we don’t use that could change the life of someone else. In addition to this, we have time, money, and talents that can really benefit others.

Whether you donate items to the Salvation Army, give your time to feed the homeless, or donate money to your favorite charity, these are small actions that can have a profound difference in the lives of the receivers.

It doesn’t take a lot—but every little bit matters to those who have so little.

Create connection.

Since 2020, when the world closed and we were all in isolation, our ability to connect has taken a big hit.

There are still people feeling the effects of the pandemic, even today.

According to Psychology Today, connection strengthens our immune system, lengthens our life, and lowers rates of anxiety and depression.

With so much good that can come from it, we can take small actions to create connection right from where we are.

We can make it a point to have a lunch date with friends. We can start a book club or a walking group. We can create a texting group of friends who are positive and supportive. We can phone one friend each day, or create a community activity.

There are so many things we can do to create connection and help people come together. We need each other. And sometimes, we just need one person to step up, take the lead, and make it happen.

Be the one who takes the lead in creating connection. Your small efforts will bring so many positive results.

Your small actions are already doing so much good.

There is no telling the good that you already doing simply by being you.

If you feel you can be doing more, just start sharing your smile.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make a big difference in the life of someone else. But it does take a conscious choice to be the change you want to see in the world.

Your small efforts just might create the meaningful moments a person needs to change their direction.

As I said before, you may never know the good you are doing, but I can promise you that just by being the extraordinary unordinary you, you are doing more good than you even realize.

And that makes all the difference.   

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