Making A Difference: Meeting Humanitarian Goals

Within the humanitarian community, it could be argued that the advancement of technology has been the greatest driving factor for social change and awareness. I’d argue that it can also be incredibly detrimental to achieving humanitarian goals to better our world due to a concept as old as time: burnout from being overwhelmed.

I’d like to offer some suggestions on how to best harness actionable change and truly make a difference for the causes that you belive in.

1. Assess

“Assessing” may sound very calculated and it may seem as though I don’t understand the emotional aspect of the many humanitarian causes out there.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, I’m a social warrior who has found myself realizing many times that I’m too emotionally involved and not addressing rational steps to make change happen.

It helps to take a step back and ask myself, “How can I begin to make a difference?” (Remember, change cannot happen overnight, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the journey.)

Have you contacted your elected officials in writing or via the phone? Have you given of your time to a local chapter of the cause? If you’re able, have you contributed financially to the support an organization that shares your beliefs?

Realizing an action plan may seem calculated, but change takes time. You have to be prepared to be in it for the long haul.


2. Think Small, Act Big

Every cause has a greater picture concept. It must in order to advance.

I often view humanitarian issues as a painting: there is the finished piece, and behind it there are many small strokes that have been put together in order to create it.

Embrace the cause that you fervently believe in, and then seek out actions that you can take on a local level to advance your beliefs.

For instance, one of the areas that I’m greatly concerned with is how greatly anxiety, depression and stress levels have affected younger generations. I believe that it’s a compilation of many causes, and could speak endlessly on the topic. However, I also wanted to drive change for those that I was concerned about, so I became a certified yoga instructor and volunteer my time teaching yoga and meditation to school children.

There is nothing as rewarding and motivating as seeing something that you’ve done make demonstrable change.


3. Dig In

One of my favorite quotes that I look to for inspiration is the following by Abraham Lincoln:

Be sure to plant your feet in the right place, then stand firm.

I don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t be open-minded about discussing social change, for I believe that discourse is a key factor to achieving any humanitarian effort.

I do mean to say that if you’re going to be vested in an interest or cause, you should prepare yourself for the voices that will oppose you...for they are often loud and can be disheartening to hear over time.

You should go into your efforts understanding that there will be challenges, roadblocks and days where it seems as though you cannot possibly make a difference at all. Those times are incredibly challenging and sadly lead to many individuals not participating in social change. If you’re realistic about the barriers, you allow yourself to be confident in your position...thus ensuring that you’re much more likely to stay involved.