You often hear things like “you have to take responsibility for your actions” and “it’s up to you to make a difference”. Well, those things are true. But why not make an impact by doing things you like? Nobody is saying you have to eliminate world hunger single handedly. Small things you can do every day, like planting trees, picking up trash that you see, motivating your friends and family to do the same, can already have a big impact on your community, plus you would be doing things you enjoy! Taking responsibility can be fun.
What is the first step to take responsibility? You have to identify what you want to take responsibility for. How can you take action if you don’t even know what you want to improve? For that, the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations offer an optimal starting point. The 17 Goals summarize all the things that our world has to take action on in the next 13 years. Inform yourself, see what issues you are passionate about! What I can offer as advice, is look for facts. For example, that 836 million people still live in extreme poverty. Or that 57 million children still don’t go to school. See if any of these facts invoke some kind of strong emotions in you, then you’ll know that you’ve found the right one.
What you can do after identifying it, is start making a plan on how to take action. Let’s say you want to help eradicate poverty. Start by taking action in your everyday life, by donating money or buying somebody a meal who cannot afford to do so on their own, if you have the resources available for that yourself. Then you can decide what to do in the long run.
It was Bob Dylan who said “A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” If you were born with privilege, you can count yourself lucky. Most people were not. In fact, if you’re reading is, chances are that you were one of the lucky ones. Making sure that other people have a better standard of living, is something we all have to work towards. But it is enjoyable work. Imagine helping one person to get improve their life. Imagine the gratitude that person will feel towards you, imagine how proud you will be of taking action and having an impact. That is what it should all be about.
So take some time that you undoubtedly have. Instead of watching the next episode of whatever show you’re currently watching, sit down in front of your laptop and make a plan. Inform yourself and become the kind of leader that enjoys taking responsibility. If more people would be like that, imagine how great a place our earth could be.
What will your plan be?