How to Make a Difference Without a Whole Lot of Money

by Lance Ekum on · 55 comments

It's an honor today to share an article written by John Anyasor, from HiLife2B.  John is a regular visitor here, and authors his own blog while also attending college full-time.  He has a real desire to help others, and much of what he writes focuses on personal growth.  A recent example of his work include Should I or Should I Not? The Curse of Indecision

John's words will make you think more deeply, and lead you down your own road of self discovery.  You can follow along with him by subscribing to his blog, and by following him on Twitter

We can all make a difference, and today John shares:

How to Make a Difference Without a Whole Lot of Money


Stand Out.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Shot_by_Cam

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." ~ Anne Frank

Have you got the itch? The itch for change? It's that feeling you get when it seems like time is moving at no more than a snail's pace. You've settled into the routine of simply living. As usual, there's a war going on that nobody really wants to fight. Or there's some disease that threatens our way of life. Same old, same old.

Everywhere we go, there are images of pain, fear, and hatred spread across some advertisement in bold letters.  These images seem to ask us, "Is this the world you want to live in? Help these people fight the good fight! Help us find a cure! Help us make a difference! Do something!"

As a result, we say to ourselves, "Enough waiting around. It's time for change. It's time to make a difference."

Okay, now you're pumped and ready to make your mark on the world. First, maybe to begin your world-changing efforts, you make a commitment to donate to charity (the ones that give to poor third-world countries) at least once a month. That sounds reasonable, right?

Alright, it's been a month, and to your surprise, on the news you hear of kids still starving in third world countries. You're taken aback. "I thought people were donating money to this cause. And I thought I was giving enough. What's going on?" you think to yourself.

Then, a great idea strikes you. "Maybe instead of being passive and paying money to some charity every week, I'll hit it where it hurts. I'll go to those starving countries and fix them myself!"

Fast forward a month later:

You realize you don't have any money. You may or may not have kids to feed. You might be a little biased towards riding on planes, thanks to the media (you know how the terrorists hijack planes, don't you?). You believe that it'll take forever to save someone else's plight, especially when they're halfway around the world!

You also have a job that is under the control of your ever-so-grateful boss. You can go save the world on your own time.

With all of these things working against you, you finally resign to just paying your monthly charity check and hope things turn out for the best.

Just so you know, the person in the above scenario isn't making a difference.

Now before we get to the meat of this article, this scenario is based on what I think usually happens. I'm not saying this is you. I'm just saying this is typically the scenario that plays out amongst the general population.

Society keeps telling you to change the world, and yet it forces you into jobs which rob you of the time needed to become skilled enough to do so. Society wants you to pay to save third world countries from hunger. Society wants you to keep living the way you are, while making you envious of a celebrities wealth at the same time.

Have you noticed something? (Because I sure have!) Society is training us to obsess over money.

Reality tv, gossip magazines, jobs, and internships: they all provide the carrot on the end of the stick – money. We're supposed to have money, but God forbid we're supposed to accrue enough to actually do anything with it!

We're supposed to spend it trying to survive so that we can work more. We have to spend it paying off mortgages on houses we know we can't afford.

Well, I for one am here to solve this problem.

There's only one solution to this dilemma and there's only one way to make a difference: we must give up our obsession with money.

Here's the deal with money – use it or lose it

From now on, all the things you do now will be in preparation for the future. Put money into the things that have the most value. When you want to make a difference, there's no purpose in investing in things that only give you instant gratification.  Skip that fancy little red dress you'll get bored of in two weeks, and use it to pay the phone bill. That big screen you've had your eye on can wait; spend the money on maintenance to prevent your car from breaking down (or better yet, save more money and take the bus!).

Work for yourself

Let's face facts – you can't make a difference by sitting in your office doing your boss's work. You can use what you make to fund an online venture, but you can't keep your job and run a profitable online business at the same time. Something has to give. My advice – as soon as it becomes more profitable to work for yourself than to work for your boss…quit.

Start an online venture

You don't need thousands of dollars to start something that'll make a difference. Gone are the days when you had to buy land and built a store to sell things. These days, making the switch to online is better, more accessible, and faster than offline ventures. Start a blog to get the word out of your attempt to make a difference. Sell merchandise or services – maybe both. If you have a Ma and Pop store, make the switch to

Manifest goodness within others by helping them

At this point, you've reclaimed your time and are earning your own living. Now you are ready to save those millions hoping and hurting across the world. But don't make the same mistake twice by just donating money – actually go to those countries. Witness their plight. Experience the pain. And when you can't take it anymore, find a solution. Actually teach people to improve their lives. Don't depend on their country's government to save them, but teach them to save themselves.

You can't do this alone, of course. But with your newly acquired resources, you can gather like-minded individuals who'll gladly help them on your quest.

There are people today who've already made the decision to save the world. Tim Ferriss is seeking to built schools in Vietnam. Steve Pavlina is empowering the masses by providing workshops to help people reach their full potential. Even Lance here is spreading awareness about breast cancer and motivating as many people as he can.

Think you can't do it?

So did they once. They once thought they had no chance in making a difference. But that didn't stop them from trying. And once they saw results, they tried again, and again, and again until…

Well you know the rest.

Just know that your chance to change the world hasn't left yet. You can take action right now to fight for what you believe in or spread a passion that you have for something.

Go out right now, and think about how you've made a difference. And then quadruple your efforts.

“There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference n this world: Those who are afraid to try themselves, and those who are afraid that you will succeed.” – Ray Goforth

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Trish @imaSUcceeding November 12, 2009 at 6:17 am

I work on making a differnece every single day and I am teaching my children to do the same thing.

Great post, thanks Lance for sharing it.
.-= Trish @imaSUcceeding´s Last Fabulous Post ..Pumpkin & Chocolate… =-.


Lynn November 12, 2009 at 6:46 am

Thank you for the extra motivation, John. And thank you to Lance for posting it. It is the little things that make a difference.
.-= Lynn´s Last Fabulous Post ..Another rainy day, ginger cookies and fallen =-.


Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord November 12, 2009 at 8:03 am

Interesting post on a rather huge topic – change. Everything and everyone are changing all the time; some more noticeably than others. I felt the intention of shame as I read this post, and while I understand that it can be a motivator for some, I’m not convinced that making people feel badly about themselves is the way to change the world. I also think it’s important to point out that for some people, working for their boss is helping to make a difference on a bigger scale.
It takes all kinds of people to make this world go around: active “in the ditches” types, thinking types, somewhere in-between types.
I do love the point you made about money. Money is just energy – nothing more, nothing less. We give it value collectively, and can just as easily devalue it in the coming decades by moving to a more communal mindset. Working together, I do believe we can ease the tensions and suffering in the world, but how we view each other, even, in these efforts, needs to be more united as opposed to divided.
I’ll look forward to visiting your blog and reading more of your ideas.

Lance, thanks for introducing us to John!
.-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Ultimate Unknown =-.


John November 12, 2009 at 8:15 am

@Trish – Hey Trish, I’m glad you’re doing what you can to make a difference 🙂

@Lynn – Thanks, Lynn, glad you enjoyed it!

@Megan – Hey Megan, thanks for having me here! To address your concerns, I honestly wasn’t out to make anyone feel ashamed, and for that I’m sorry. I intended to provide a wake up call to action. I wanted to show that we can all make a difference, and that it’s not impossible. We can’t save the world alone. If everyone viewed themselves as willing and able to produce change, then no doubt we could come together to alleviate a good portion of the suffering the world.
.-= John´s Last Fabulous Post ..Guest Post Bonanza! (And Some Updates) =-.


suzen November 12, 2009 at 8:29 am

Hi Lance and John!
Good “thinking” post. I like to begin each day willing to serve in whatever capacity the Universe/God needs me to. Sometimes I feel inadequate when it comes to changing “the world” but remaining open to the possibility of making a difference is key I’m thinkin’.

To use a quote in my own words – some look at things and say WHY, others look at things and say why not? Then I think of the little kid who started a penny drive at his school and in doing so raised hundreds of dollars to help a cause, one (useless) penny at a time. Collectively we CAN get our pennies (or energies) to make a difference!

Thanks for a daily dose of encouragment!


Lisis November 12, 2009 at 9:25 am

Hey, John (and Lance)! This is a really great post because it’s true… you don’t need money to make a difference. We can make the world better every day, in small ways that add up over time. I’m seeing the “money” theme pop up a good bit lately in the blogosphere, so I’m guessing it’s something we are all struggling with.

We don’t need money to improve the world, but we definitely need it for SOMETHING… even if it isn’t the pursuit of wealth accumulation. So, if we have to have money just to live (and in the States that’s no insignificant amount), the Holy Grail of scenarios is to earn money WHILE improving the world and in the service of others.

I guess that’s where I’m stuck right now. I know how to earn money, and I know how to help others… but I have yet to figure out how to earn money BY helping others, so that the means and the end are one and the same.

This is probably a tangent, but… you know me. No filter between thoughts and keyboard. 🙂


Wendi Kelly-Life's Little Inspirations November 12, 2009 at 9:29 am

Nice article,

There are all kinds of ways of making a difference in this world. And you are right, it doesn’t have to cost a single dime or penny. It doesn’t cost a penny to spread hope, love, charity, honesty, compassion, forgiveness, teamwork or the concept of communities working together for change. In this way we fight back against the rampant ugliness that is attacking us every day and wearing down our world.

When these values are restored and built back up, the energy and resouces it takes to help reduce poverty seem to magically be there. And it is magic. The most powerful magic in the world.
.-= Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations´s Last Fabulous Post ..How to be Happy. Now. =-.


Daphne November 12, 2009 at 9:32 am

Lance, thank you for hosting John. John, great post, as always. I think money is on our minds a lot now because of the recession (obviously) and because of the upcoming holidays. Our expectations of gifts and giving is changing this year and I am excited to see people thinking about how and why they spend money. Your post has some wonderful suggestions and encourages positive change in each of us. Thank you for the motivation.
.-= Daphne´s Last Fabulous Post ..Patience and Waiting =-.


Tim November 12, 2009 at 10:16 am

Lance, thank you for having John write this post…he’s hit on some very good things. We all can make a difference, no matter how small and insignificant it might seem. John, the beginning of your post reminded me that it is easy to write out a check for donation, but perhaps your time might be more valuable. Maybe it is as simple as volunteering at your local food pantry instead of hopping a plane to another city or country. Thanks for sharing some important thoughts about giving at a time when we need it.
.-= Tim´s Last Fabulous Post ..Help Us Help You: A Few Steps To Take Before Doing An Online Job Search At The Library – Guest Post By Josh Hanagarne =-.


Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills November 12, 2009 at 10:22 am

Hey John, this was so practical and straight forward, I loved it! I thought the way the article unfolded was really well done. This was a particularly engaging statement: “Everywhere we go, there are images of pain, fear, and hatred spread across some advertisement in bold letters.” I think we can all agree that things should different and that the idea of making a difference is something most of us would like to share in. Well done!


Positively Present November 12, 2009 at 10:43 am

Excellent post, John! Great to see you over here! 🙂
.-= Positively Present´s Last Fabulous Post ..the power of acceptance: a path to an open heart =-.


Nadia - Happy Lotus November 12, 2009 at 11:33 am

Hi John and Lance,

Interesting post! One of the sad realities about life in America is that we have made it extremely difficult for people to survive on little. The cost of living here is extremely high compared to other countries since many of our benefits have to be paid by ourselves. With that reality in mind, many people do not take the time to think of helping others because they are so busy worrying about their own survival.

Personally, I am a big believer that we all can make a difference if we choose to do so. Many people don’t because they are consumed with their own lives. Many people have told me that they would love to help those in need but they do not have the funds due to x, y and z. I alway tells them that they can help in ways that do not require money and that to many people is a new revelation.

Money is a form of energy. What has made money have a negative view is because of those who were extremely greedy and did things at the expense of others. Such as what happened here in America with all those mortgages.

Once society replaces acting out of fear from acting out of love, the world will change. More and more people are reaching that reality…or at least that is what I feel.


J.D. Meier November 12, 2009 at 11:55 am

I like the connection between outcomes, actions, changing approach … and guiding by what you want to accomplish.

I think people sometimes underestimate their ability to make a difference or they underestimate the snowball effect of the little things that add up.
.-= J.D. Meier´s Last Fabulous Post ..What Do 15 Best-Selling Authors Teach Us? =-.


Steven Aitchison November 12, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Hi John and Lance

I thought this was a great post and full of practical wisdom for one so young 🙂 I believe the only way we are going to be successful in life whether it be in a business or a job is helping others to become successful. By that I mean doing the kind of thing you are doing right now, giving advice in your area of expertise. Everybody has something to give to someone else, hell I seen an ebook selling for $39 which shows you how to get rid of warts and it’s selling like hotcakes.
.-= Steven Aitchison´s Last Fabulous Post ..5 Steps To Increasing Your Coincidence Factor =-.


Sara November 12, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Lance — Thank you for sharing John’s thoughts with us. To me, you reflect exactly what John is talking about. You put your money, time and energy into making this world better.

John — I understand what you are saying in this post, but I do tend to agree with Meagan and others that there are many different ways to make a difference in this world. Personally, I thank the people who donate, even if it is a passive of helping. Because of them, illnesses like cancer, are becoming more treatable and there are a lot more cancer survivors, throughout the world.

On the other hand, people who desire to be “hands on” in a difficult time, be it a natural disaster or a case of overwhelming poverty, also make a big difference in this world. They are willing to step into the “trenches” and do the labor, which some people can’t physically do.

Again, there are many ways to make a difference. I love the passion in your writing and agree that most of us can do more. I think it’s critical that people, like you, remind us to take that extra step, whatever it might be for us. Thank you for this thought-provoking post:~)
.-= Sara´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Journey Begins: Part One =-.


Joy November 12, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Awesome post! I think changing the world means changing my world, not necessarily on a global level, but in my own little spot of the universe. The kids and I do sponsor a child, and they learn tons by doing so. But, the biggest impact I can make is in my daily intereactions–how I treat myself, how I treat my children, how we treat others. If we are enthusiastic in spirit, embrace the moment, and share time, energy, resources as we have them and where they are most applicable that is a huge catalyst for change. There are some days I don’t feel I have much, but I can still give a smile, or a reassuring word. And it is always great to receive them back:)


Audra Krell November 12, 2009 at 3:56 pm

It seems a lot of people don’t help because they can’t go to the foreign country and make sure their money is being used wisely. Researching and spending time investing in a cause (in other ways besides money) will make a huge difference.
It’s a great time of year for this post, there is a lot more we can give besides material goods. All of us will be richer for it.
Thanks Lance and John for pointing out a necessity.
.-= Audra Krell´s Last Fabulous Post ..Regift This =-.


Sami - Life, Laughs & Lemmings November 12, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Hey John, very interesting post. For a long time now I’ve wanted to start my own business doing something I love while making a positive impact on the world somehow. Last year, upon returning home to Australia after living for 2 years in Canada, I made the decision I was not going to work for someone else and instead get moving on my dream. That’s how Life, Laughs & Lemmings came about.

I’m lucky in that I have a partner who supports me fully (both financially and emotionally) but it hasn’t been easy for either of us at times. Money has been tight. We’ve had to sacrifice a lot for me to do this. Regardless, we are both the happiest and fulfilled we’ve been and we’re living a kick arse life. As for Life, Laughs & Lemmings, well, it’s a work in progress but with programs like Random Acts of Kick Arse, we’re making a positive impact. Essentially I’m living the dream!

Great post John. Thanks for having John here Lance!
.-= Sami – Life, Laughs & Lemmings´s Last Fabulous Post ..Kick Arse Story – A Letter To My Angel =-.


Wilma Ham November 12, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Hi John and Lance.

Money can be a lubricant for life but is not a goal in itself.
Making the world a better place for me start swith myself and the Gandhi quote that has done the circuit lately, be the change you want to see.

We make things more complicated that they really are.
Be love in action and add value and if we all did that the world cannot but change.

It sounds simple but how often do we add value for all involved so nobody loses from any interaction?
When I go for a sale so I can have more than I want? Do I add value?
When give money to charity but ignore my neigbor, do I add value and am I lvoe in action?

Be love in action and add value to whomever is in front of you. That counts in my books.

Great to have you thinking about these things, not despite that you are so young but because you are young and because you still have your wits about you.
Go John go, do not lose your ability to observe with innocent perception and let us have it.

Love Wilma
.-= Wilma Ham´s Last Fabulous Post ..Ann-Marie on Answering questions truthfully =-.


Blake November 12, 2009 at 4:38 pm

love that quote at the end of the post. So true!
.-= Blake´s Last Fabulous Post ..Crazy Ads =-.


BunnygotBlog November 12, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Hi Lance and John,

John has a very inspirational creative way of getting his message through. I enjoy his writing very much.
I think many people are focused inward and as the holiday season approaches should be thinking of ways to help others.

I think of church and the dinners for the homeless and alone during the holidays. Volunteering to serve or cook doesn’t cost you only the time out from your holiday which is rewarding because of the feelings you receive by doing so.

Clean out your closets and donate your clothes. Winter jackets are appreciated at this time and food pantries are one another source and I cant forget our pets. I donate pet food to Non-kill shelters and money hopefully used towards “fixing” them.

Nursing homes and homeless shelters are always looking for donations. Not just money but visits and people need to remember what we may think is useless is a treasure to someone else.

A couple of years ago a male friend and myself volunteered one Saturday a month at a nursing home. The day started at 7am and finished at 5pm. We help served meals, played games and spent time talking to the patients.

I would have to say those Saturdays still mean very much to me. Not for my effort but for what I took away from the experience. It is priceless.


Tess The Bold Life November 12, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Hey John,
Nice discussion you have going here. I think everyone needs to give in their own way the way their heart tells them to do it. It’s a personal choice and who’s to say what’s better than something else. I volunteered for a week after hurricane Katrina and donated money. I really didn’t care what anyone else did.
I can’t say the people who sent in money were wrong or not helping as much. I do know that it was life changing for me. I came home thinking I don’t have problems only minor inconveniences!
.-= Tess The Bold Life´s Last Fabulous Post ..If I were King or Queen…I’d Change Our World =-.


Darren Sproat November 12, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Lance, John,
Wonderful as usual…

There are so many ways to improve the world and so much of that is only with our thoughts and actions… often needing no money at all. The easiest, and I have found, one of the most profound ways to do this is to share a smile. It’s that simple.

I feel blessed to follow both of your blogs… thank you!

Darren Sproat
.-= Darren Sproat´s Last Fabulous Post ..Create a Memory =-.


Darren Sproat November 12, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Immediately after reading this post I called a friend of mine and encouraged her to allow me to ‘introduce’ my readers to her story… she recently returned home from a humanitarian ‘mission’ to Thailand. She granted me permission and I am proud to say that it will be published to my blog shortly.

Despite my encouraging her to publish her whole story, she remains resistant to doing so and doesn’t wish to gain personally from her ‘journey of self discovery’.

Thanks for the motivation I got from this post…
Darren Sproat
.-= Darren Sproat´s Last Fabulous Post ..Create a Memory =-.


Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice November 12, 2009 at 7:37 pm

You can even make a diffence with laughter (and that’s not just the bias of a stand-up comedian speaking) but you really can. There are so many ways to serve the world. One of the first things I did was to go and work with foster children…who funnily enough were aged 14-16…while I was only 16 myself. Then I went on to work with school kids and disabled children. There are literally thousands of ways to serve…all you gotta do is choose one! 🙂
.-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s Last Fabulous Post ..How To Be Single And Enjoy Every Second =-.


Srinivas Rao November 12, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Nice post John. I actually just left my job after only two weeks of being there because I was so unhappy with it. I realized that I have the commitment to put into making my blog and online venture a success. Also, we have so many opportunities for collaboration and partnership that will enable people really come up with great ideas. We really have so much at our fingertips that can be accomplished without money. Pretty much anything you want is available online for free.
.-= Srinivas Rao´s Last Fabulous Post ..Blowing through brick walls, riding the peaks, and climbing out of valleys =-.


Terrah Lozano November 12, 2009 at 11:08 pm

I love the beginning quote from Anne Frank. Thanks for sharing.

So many people think they have to wait until they ‘have enough money’ or ‘have more time’ to donate to charitable causes or work on something they are passionate about. This quote reminds us that we can make a difference now in everyday actions.

I just picked up a book from the organization We Are What We Do called Change the World for Ten Bucks that discusses this same concept of making change through everyday actions. I highly recommend checking it out.

Again, thanks for the great article. I always enjoy your quotes. I just added this one to my ‘Catalyst for Change’ quote page quoting Anne Frank in this article.


Elliot Lozano November 12, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Firstly, I wanted to say great article.. This is the same kind of stuff we say on our website.

Lance, wanted to say to you, sorry haven’t been in a bit.. Terrah and I had to take a short sabbatical the last couple months after launching the site to recharge.. (we’ll be writing an article about rest cycle in a new article….

I always love reading your articles.. great stuff…


Laurie November 13, 2009 at 7:02 am

This post rocked! I am totally inspired. I tend to think that my meager contribution to the world couldn’t have any lasting effect but then how does an ant build his fascinating network of tunnels and chambers? By moving one grain of sand at a time. So none of us should think that by doing our part, we are not making a difference.

This summer, I have the opportunity to go to Uganda to work with the local folks there to help plant some churches. While it doesn’t seem like my contribution there could make much difference, the ripple effect could be tremendous. If I go, this would really force me out of my comfort zone of security and into taking chances with my life to better others. I trust God. I can get over the fears associated with traveling to a foreign land. So what is stopping me? Maybe nothing is stopping me and I’ll go. Lots to think about.


Vanessa November 13, 2009 at 9:39 am

In helping others, we help ourselves; only then is there true fulfillment. By our society training us to obsess over money, it by default teaches us how to disconnect from one another; because, money becomes more about how to meet my own needs, and not often is there left over to help others.

When we let go of the obsession a bit, use money for what we NEED, less than for what we WANT, or think we should have, it is a clearer perspective, and we learn to live without the extras. We certainly have, and are much happier for it!!!

Thanks for this Lance; it is a feel good read!
.-= Vanessa´s Last Fabulous Post ..Write where you are =-.


Jannie Funster November 13, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Well, I don’t know about donating money or helping people to help themselves and such, but I’ll be singing with a couple other ladies at a nursing home over Christmas and I think that will spread something nice. There are so many ways to give, each of us according to our talent and generosity of spirit.
.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..First Pictures With My New iPhone 3GS =-.


John November 13, 2009 at 3:24 pm

@Suzen – Thanks for being here, Suzen! I think that mindset is paramount to bringing great change to the world. If one child can raise so much money, think of what we can do…

@Lisis – You’re thoughts rock, Lisis 🙂 I really like the concept of earning money while doing good service to others. If you earn money for the sake of earning money, you’ve already lost. You’re just taking without giving anything back. In regards to your dilemma, you’re probably much farther along than most people. You realize the problem, you know the solution, but now you have to come up with a practical means to follow through. I know you can do it – it just takes a bit of brainstorming to get it just right.
Thanks for being unfiltered ;).

@Wendi – Thanks for having me here, Wendi! You’re right – compassion, love, smiles, care, and help are some of the best support we can give in healing the suffering in this world. I don’t know if we can save everyone (at least in my lifetime), but it doesn’t hurt to try.

@Daphne – Hey, Daphne! Your thoughts on this are excellent – the holidays will soon be upon us and it will be interesting to see how people will react (in terms of gift giving). We should be thinking of those less fortunate as well as those close to us during the holidays. Many of us have survived the recession, and a lot more of us have had our lives change drastically – in the end, is money really a big deal?

@Tim – Hey Tim, glad you enjoyed the post! Give back to the community that raised you, or the place that you call home. Contribute and help others – it’s sounds much more fun than simply writing a check. And it feels like you’re actually doing something 🙂

@Jonathan – Thanks, Jonathan! These are actually the steps I’m taking once my online venture gets off the ground. I wanted to make them practical so that anyone could take these tips and expand from there. We can make a difference – we just have to be willing to have patience and take action.

@Dani – Hey Dani! I’m glad to be here 🙂

@Nadia – Right on, Nadia! You hit the nail on the head – there are other ways to help people. For example, we both have blogs that help people to connect and become inspired. Although blogging isn’t all I plan on doing to help, I’d like to think that, at least for now, I’m making some sort of difference. I’m sure you’re making great differences in people’s lives all the time 🙂

@J.D. Hey J.D.! How’s it hangin’? Ha, I know what you mean by underestimating. We have so much power, yet some of us are afraid to take a chance on that power. Thanks for sharing your insights.

@Steve – Hey Steve! It’s been awhile since we’ve connected 🙂 When we switch the focus from working for the sake of helping others and ourselves in the process, instead of just only ourselves, we’re making that much of a difference. Kudos to the person who created that ebook – I just hope somebody’s really benefiting from it 🙂

@Sara – I’m glad you enjoyed the post. In regards to your concerns – I’m not saying that donations are pointless -because they aren’t. I’m saying that people might feel more emotion for those they are helping if they actually do more. Maybe in addition to donating they could hang up signs to spread awareness for cancer. Or in Lance’s case, write an ebook and share it across the web. We don’t all have to travel overseas, but I agree that we can give support in many ways towards those that do.

@Joy – Awesome, Joy, that’s wonderful! You’re teaching the next generation to help others and learn about parts of the world that are less fortunate. I also love your outlook on life – you want to change your world, by giving positive energy. I think that way myself – a big smile can go a long way 🙂
.-= John´s Last Fabulous Post ..Guest Post Bonanza! (And Some Updates) =-.


Bern ~ Walking in Stillness November 13, 2009 at 7:21 pm

If we spend our time feeling each moment and loving that which we attract into our lives, money will not be needed. If money didn’t exist, people would more likely support each others endeavours with their personalized attention. Money may represent this, but it is a charged object. It would be simpler to throw the concept of money away, and the world would transform overnight. By transfering our personal energy to a piece of paper, we have created a God that most people in the world worship. If you own money, then the Money owns you. I understand what you are saying here, and I believe it to be good advice. But most people won’t do it, and perhaps never will. Therefore, if we get rid of the Money, then the soul shines without the need for a surrogate to represent your interests.
.-= Bern ~ Walking in Stillness´s Last Fabulous Post ..Lower Your Shields =-.


spinDiva November 13, 2009 at 10:45 pm

John, this is a very powerful message. I, too, share the sentiments of others here. WE can make a difference, even one small step at a time, or one small act, a word of encouragement, sometimes a simple hello can make or break someone’s day. We don’t all have to travel to the ends of the world because there are plenty who need our help right in our back yard. The Girl Scouts in my area are collecting coats for the homeless, my friends volunteer at the local soup kitchen, my kids and I help a few of the homebound elderly in the community, another group of kids walk the neighbor’s pets when they are not able to….the list goes on. To me, these are small acts that make a huge impact in someone’s life. That’s what is all about. Making a difference, one small act at a time.

Lance, thanks for introducing us to John and sharing this message with us.

.-= spinDiva´s Last Fabulous Post ..Could be overwhelming – refocus =-.


John November 14, 2009 at 12:35 am

@Audra – Hey Audra! As the holidays approach, we should keep mind those who are still hurting and hoping in the world. Thanks for your thoughts. Your heart is in the right place.

@Sami – Wow, Sami, you’ve made some big changes in your life to get to where you want to be. I support your efforts, but if money gets to tight, do what you have to do. Get a job and work on your venture at the same time. Do whatever it takes to continue living the dream. Aside: I’d like to go to Austrailia one day – I hear the weather’s choice 🙂 Good luck on your journey!

@Wilma – Hey Wilma, that’s an awesome quote that I think most of us don’t hear enough: “Be the change you want to see.” I agree with everything you say. Money should just be the means to the end we want to see. Material things are never the end; the end consists of the experiences we share with one another, and the help to give to others.

And I love this part especially:
“Great to have you thinking about these things, not despite that you are so young but because you are young and because you still have your wits about you.
Go John go, do not lose your ability to observe with innocent perception and let us have it.”

Thank you, Wilma 🙂

@Blake – Glad you liked it, Blake 🙂

@Bunny – Hey Bunny! It’s great to see you here! I think all of your ideas are spot on (I have a few clothes that I should donate). I especially like what you and your friend did over the holidays. Spreading happiness and the joy of giving – that’s what it’s all about. Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

@Tess – Hey Tess, thanks for stopping by on my first guest post on Lance’s blog! It is true that everyone should try to help in their own way if they wish to make a difference. You just have to have passion for what you’re doing. In your case, you learned much from helping the less fortunate during Hurricane Katrina. You too are making a difference – be it one step at a time 🙂

@Darren – I’m really touched that you enjoy the blog and have enjoyed this article. I do my best to write and convey ideas that will benefit others. A smile is a great thing to share and should be done more often. I’m ecstatic that I’ve motivated you so quickly! What your friend has done is incredibly admirable – I wish to do so much more one day….

Thanks for everything, man! I really appreciate it, Darren!

@Amit – I respect all stand up comedians (I’m a big fan of Jerry Seinfeld, by the way). You’ve done great things already. You’re right in that there are a multitude of ways of making a difference – it just takes a little luck to pick the right one. Thanks for the comment, Amit!
.-= John´s Last Fabulous Post ..Guest Post Bonanza! (And Some Updates) =-.


Anthony Feint November 14, 2009 at 12:44 am

Thanks for the great post. It was a real motivational booster.

In this day and age pretty much everybody has the opportunity to start their own venture.
.-= Anthony Feint´s Last Fabulous Post ..RSS 101: Smarter, Faster Feed Reading =-.


Katie West/The Levity Coach November 14, 2009 at 10:40 am

Thanks Lance and John. Fun to see you over here! And fun to see you in Chicago. Obviously, I believe in what you are saying that we can all make a difference. And thank you for joining me in that belief with The Levity Project. I believe we are living at a time when there is no reason for excuses. We can make a difference by simply bringing the awareness of change into ourselves and in that way letting it spread. And we can take that concept as big as we feel empowered to do so.

Thank you for making the change with me into a lighter and more laughter filled world. I was delighted by your presence. Great post!


John November 14, 2009 at 10:45 am

@Srinivas – Way to go, Srinivas! I’m sure you’ll create an awesome online venture. You’re already surfing the ways of freedom, enabling yourself to own your time. You’re a perfect example of how we can make a difference by just going for what we want. Again, congratulations, man and thanks for your support!

@Terrah – Hey Terrah, glad you enjoyed the article, but Lance was the one who provided the Anne Frank quote 🙂 Nonetheless, I’m even more satisfied that you can relate to the post – money doesn’t mean much in the face of change.

@Eliot – Glad you enjoyed the article, Eliot!

@Laurie – Hey, Laurie! Uganda, huh? Very awesome. Don’t worry about the fear of traveling abroad. I think it’s something we all feel when traveling to a new place. You’ll be doing a great service when summer comes. I’m happy to have inspired you and take care. I’m sure your one act will set off a chain of difference.

@Vanessa – Hey Vanessa, I like the way you think. We should learn to live without the extras. Although I’m not a fan of BARE necessities, I get the point. Money should not the the center of any relationship, between friends, family, or people we just want to help.

Happy to have inspired you 🙂

@Jamie – You go, Jamie! That’s a great way to make a difference 🙂 Actively be the change you wish to see. You are giving in your own way – that’s something you should take pride in. Thanks for having me here!

@Bern – Hey Bern, great thoughts on money and it’s ownership over us. I know what I’ve sad might possibly never happen, but I wanted to address this problem in society. It’s time for us to stop worshiping money like it’s the only way to create change. As I’ve said in reply to a previous comment, money is not the end. It’s just one of the means to attain the experiences. In creating change, however, money is becoming more and more irrelevant: connections (social media, online relationships, friendships) are what is starting to bring change to the world.

@Terie – Nice to meet you Terie! I agree – there are things happening all over the world, even in our own country. I’m all for local efforts, believe me. You’re doing great work in teaching your children the value of helping others, which I think is something often overlooked in today’s youth.

All of your efforts aren’t for nothing. Keep moving forward and you’ll see the change, Terie 🙂

@Anthony – No problem, Anthony. You’re right about the opportunities to start a profitable online venture – that’s what I’m working towards right now 🙂
.-= John´s Last Fabulous Post ..Guest Post Bonanza! (And Some Updates) =-.


John November 14, 2009 at 10:50 am

@Katie – Hey Katie! (It feels like just yesterday we were laughing in Chicago 🙂 ) The Levity Project is awesome – some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time. It really made a difference in my life, so no doubt it’s made a bigger impact on those involved across the nation.

It’s been great getting to know you, Katie! Next time you bring the Levity Project to Chicago, trust me, I’ll be there 🙂
.-= John´s Last Fabulous Post ..Guest Post Bonanza! (And Some Updates) =-.


Lori November 14, 2009 at 11:19 am

Sorry I’m so late to your post, John!
You know I support you 100% and that I think you’re an awesome individual.

All that aside, it’s also great to see you over here at the Jungle.
The smallest things can be big things to some people. Even just a smile for someone who wasn’t expecting it can make someone else’s world a lot brighter.
Consider this my smile to you, John, even thought it will have to be virtual.


Lisa's Chaos November 14, 2009 at 7:55 pm

What a great pep talk! I’ve been striving to get out of the I can’ts and these are some good ideas. 🙂
.-= Lisa’s Chaos´s Last Fabulous Post ..tweet, tweet =-.


Carla November 15, 2009 at 12:46 am

Great motivation and reminders for me! Sometimes I get stuck (by my own doing) in the hamster wheel and not only do ‘t think I cant get out of it, but I don’t even realize what I’m doing. I need to keep this post on my desk as all times!
.-= Carla´s Last Fabulous Post ..Choices =-.


Hilary November 15, 2009 at 6:37 am

Hi John and Lance .. I love the way you let us know that money is just money .. it doesn’t do anything for us really – as long as we have the basics .. a roof, food in our mouth, basic comforts, most important a happy home, a smiling face, at peace with the world – not striving for things that are totally unnecessary – think of others who have less – count our blessings .. we should do that more often.

With so little we can just make people’s lives happier – share a smile, be polite, say thank you, offer to help, listen etc ..

Great post thank you – Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
.-= Hilary´s Last Fabulous Post ..A is for Apple – an Apple a day keeps the doctor away … =-.


Laura Hegfield November 15, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Yes indeed…wonderful post…and changing the world is sometimes (at least for me) being a gentle voice online…encouraging people to find the blessings in each moment…healing through loving words. This might seem like a tiny effort…but I believe it makes a difference…I make a difference…I know this because I hear from people all the time, that reading my words inspires them, help them look at their own lives to seek out the beauty and blessings that are abundant in their lives. This is another way to feed/nourish hungry souls.

.-= Laura Hegfield´s Last Fabulous Post .."The Soul is Always Praying" =-.


Karl Staib - Work Happy Now November 15, 2009 at 5:48 pm

I’m all about starting new ventures. That’s why I started my blog. I’m hoping to change the working world one employee at a time.

This was a very inspirational piece. I know that I’ve chosen the right path to help others.
.-= Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s Last Fabulous Post ..Hard Fun and Beautiful – Ripped Web Edition =-.


Angelia Sims November 15, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Very interesting spin on a much frequented topic of discussion. It has certainly given me a lot to think about that I never considered before.

Thank you for giving us an active way to make a difference.
.-= Angelia Sims´s Last Fabulous Post ..Sunday’s Healthy Reflection =-.


Lance November 18, 2009 at 10:12 pm

@Lori – Hey Lori…you are never late here!! (it’s great to have you here whenever that happens to be) And you are right, it can be something as simple as a smile that can make all the difference. And I’m catching your smile here, too, Lori!

@Lisa’s Chaos – Yes, John has shared some great ideas that can be easy even without a lot of money.

@Carla – That hamster wheel can be a wheel that feels like we’re doing something…when we’re really not getting anywhere, huh! I know… And these really are some great thoughts by John…

@Hilary – I think there’s something here to relate back to the idea of “less is more”. That’s a good thought for me to remember, especially. And that same thought that applies to our life, can also apply to our giving…it’s not always the big $$ that make the biggest difference, it’s sometimes just caring…

@Laura – Laura, you do that so well, sharing your voice online, and in a way that lightens the path for those who read your words. So, don’t think it’s a tiny effort…it’s not. Keep on feeding and nourishing through your beautiful words…

@Karl – What I really like here is the idea of “one employee at a time”. I just think that’s such a great mindset to work from – when you talk about this focus being on “one person”. That all feels very deeply personal…and good.

@Angelia – There is a spin here that is new…and I think it is something good to think about. Thanks so much for being here Angelia.


Lance November 18, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this piece, and for giving us all something to think about. Reading through the comments, I know that this piece did touch off something varying thoughts, and you have done a great job of pulling everything back and explaining it further. It’s been great having you here!


John November 20, 2009 at 7:37 am

Hey Lance! (Sorry I couldn’t get to the last comments. Nothing personal – I love all the comments!)

You’re very welcome for having me here Lance! You have an enormous community of insightful thinkers – I was almost overwhelmed by the responses. And even though some didn’t exactly agree with me, what really matters in the end is that we’re all trying to change the world and there are multiple ways of doing so.

Until next time, my friend. See ya around the blogosphere (or next time the Levity Project comes to Chicago 🙂 )!
.-= John´s Last Fabulous Post ..It’s Almost Thanksgiving: What Are You Thankful For? =-.


Bryan Zimmerman November 29, 2009 at 1:15 am

Good post to get you thinking for sure. Making the decision to change or help and then actually following through is a huge step because it’s not always as easy as it is in your own mind. But sometimes something that seems so small to you can be a huge lift or help to someone else.


Baker December 5, 2009 at 12:58 am

Great post here. This is a unique look on how to make some real change in the world. Excellent.


Lance December 5, 2009 at 12:18 pm

@Bryan – It can be easy to make a decision, and a real key then – is what you also elude to: following through. This is so important, Thoughts without action really don’t change anything…

@Baker – John really did share some wonderful thoughts! Thanks much for stopping by!


Colleen June 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Just know that your chance to change the world hasn’t left yet. You can take action right now to fight for what you believe in or spread a passion that you have for something…”

I think changing the world starts in one’s neighborhood. We (and so does everyone) have senior citizen neighbors that need our time and often time we are too busy. I’m thinking right now about our next door neighbor who has broken his hip recently. With all the neighbors in our neighborhood, we seem to be the only one visiting him, bringing him his mail, bringing out his garbage, etc.
.-= Colleen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Utter Disappointment And The Classiest Acts That Followed, Armando Galarraga, Detroit Tigers, Jim Joyce =-.


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