TED Conversations

Work on my own, Free Lance Author

This conversation is closed.

Do you think you have done something in your life to improve this world? If so. Could you explain?

Many people complain that this world (or life) is hostile. But...Have we examined our own behavior? Actually, do we contribute to make a better world?


Closing Statement from paco lopez

Once listened the whole contributions. I would say that we all, indeed are doing something for getting a better world, conciously or unconsciously, working in it or passively. I think it is very important to have the attitude or, say, the right fuel. But... How do you get the fuel? I would say: by appreciating the whole what you have: your health, your livelihood, your family, your job, even small details like that you have water to wash up or light in your home; many people in war or refugee camps not even have that. So I think:
If I see a beggar I will try to help.
If I see a sick person I will try to comfort.
If I see a sad person I will try to encourage.
If I see a war I will try to stop it.
I do not wanna make this post larger, so. I want to thank again ( I do not regret to say that there is the word most used for me in this conversation) Thanks TED, Thanks to all of you pen mates to attend and participate in this conversation. And especially Thanks God for inspiring me to be in this place, in this moment and with this post.

  • Feb 1 2014: I've developed two programs, one for at-risk teens and children and one for survivors of torture and their families. Word Journeys gave the teens job skills and confidence -- they trained as mentors, helped write curriculum, facilitate logistics, and each worked with one of the elementary students during fun literacy activities and trips to culturally rich destinations and into nature (places our kids never went before). They journaled each week and discussed what went well and what we could do better. In 2008, I got to take one of my students who'd never even been to an airport -- to the White House to receive an award. Budget closed that program down last year, but we had a great 12 year run and I still hear from and write letters of recommendation for some of these mentors. Since 1999, I have run the Owl and Panther project. Refugee survivors of torture are referred and with a group of fabulous volunteers and community partners we create a sense of a safe community and belonging. The families we serve engage in expressive arts (art, drumming, writing, dancing, drama) and we get them out into nature. All of this helps them get to a place where they can begin to heal. http://bbc.in/17G9Ve4 My book Journey of Dreams grew from that refugee work and I hope it helps readers be more welcoming to refugees, and help them understand why they might be here. My children's writing is about community engagement, personal boundaries and moving through grief and loss. I serve as an example of someone who makes everyday decisions based on its impact on the environment (human right abuse comes often around greed over natural resources.) My husband and I have raised a son who is centered and thoughtful who will take what he embraces from our example forward into the world.
    • Feb 2 2014: Many thanks Marge for your brilliant contribution. From this space I want to reccommend everyone to watch your video on the BBC. I personally am very impressed by the work you do and my words here are superfluous. I am very honored for this space space have deserved your attention I give you my warmest congratulations and I Wish you every succes,
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    Feb 10 2014: Although I am only 18 and a freshman in college. I tutor and help people understand math. I feel like I have helped many people overcome this challenge. I go to school every day believing that I can change a person's day just by engaging their brains and change ow they see math. I hope to continue helping people for many years to come.
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      Feb 10 2014: You can do what you describe for a lifetime, whether as a career or alongside a career.
    • Feb 11 2014: I am very pleased to learn the purposes of some young persons of the new generation. I would pray for your attitude was wdely contagious. Timothy, please, do not change.
    • Feb 11 2014: Many Thanks Timothy for your thumb. I wish have had a son with your same capabilities. All The Best!!
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    Feb 8 2014: Well, I try to smile and connect with those around me. When I walk through airports, stand in line, pay for gasoline or just stroll down the street, I look at people, say hi and smile. Oh, I've been and still am involved in organizations trying to make a difference and I feel that we have had an impact. But I feel that by smiling and greeting people I am creating positive change.
    • Feb 8 2014: Hello Randall You seem to belong to the positive pole of humanity. I am with you, little gestures help to change the world. Too often in shops, offices etc. we find people of the opposite pole and sometimes we suffer small attacks or rudeness but... that should not be sufficient grounds for us to change our way of being
      • Feb 8 2014: We are constantly invited to partake on this or that side... through all sort of means... each decides which side to feed/energize...

        Differentiating what seems to be...
        --- because it be ...
        --- because it just seems like what be ...
        can be an interesting adventure... which in itself may be an invitation to partake on a given journey that keep us from participating into a much better possibility.

        Who in their right mind would pick the valueless over the valuable? Well evidently someone who knows that something that has no value because it be priceless invaluable be infinitely more precious that some trinket that has some value or price. Sometimes the actual value of stuff isn't in the stuff itself it's in something affiliated to it; which only some individuals can manage to appreciate.

        For example a genuine smile... :-)
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      Feb 10 2014: Hi mr. Lopez,

      I am quite new to this community, but I perticularly like these questions.
      They make you think about what you are doing, and where you want to go to.

      On a TED conference someone talked about "Lollipop moments" (Couldn't find it anymore, my appolagies).
      Story in a nutshell;

      He was working as a promotional employee. He handed out lollypops together with a sales pitch.
      He made a deep impression on a woman walking pased.
      She had recognized the man 4 years later in the grocery store, she called him Mr. Lollypop.
      Ever since the man had called this a lollypop moment.
      (My appolagies for my very bad story telling).

      Based on this TED talk, I thought about all the people who were responsible for the "lollypop moments" in my short life untill now.
      I had decided to send all these people a personal thank you, together with a summary of what I was privileged to learn from these people.

      The feedback I got on this was tremendous, It filled my heart by knowing these people were so greatfull to be a part of my life, whilst I should be privileged to have these people come into my life when I needed it.

      Positive people make the world a very likeable place.
      These people make other people smile,

      Do I think I have done something to make the world a better place?
      Yes, By genuinely happy.
      • Feb 11 2014: Hi Mr.Snider., my excuses for not answering sooner.. Very nice the story that you give us. I think the positive power helps to build however the negative force leads to destruction. Many thanks for being here.
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    Feb 5 2014: Dear Paco, I do not know but I continually aspire to make a difference in the world by working for women's empowerment, education and leadership and transforming self, society economy mindfully - the Buddha way. May be light a little lamp of insight in the entangled web of mass confusion and mess we have created.

    Peace and happiness for all beings.
    • Feb 6 2014: Dear Susmita Many thanks for your contribution and for the link on "New economic paradigm" I have to see it with more detail because that issue promise to be really interesting. Without any doubt an economic issue inspired by Buddha messages promises to be at least ethical, thing that in current days would be a novelty.and also a necessity. All the best.
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    Feb 5 2014: I am writing not to boast about myself, but about my son, Matt Winn, who has, and continues to make wonderful improvements in this world. At the age of 11, he was given a project to perform an act of kindness or volunteer work. The project he chose was to volunteer at our local senior center twice a week and read stories to those who could no longer see the small print, and play cards with large print playing cards all while chatting away with the seniors. He heard stories of their lives and improved his respect and admiration of our senior citizens.This also helped him develop a deep and loving relationship with his great grandmother (Nana), and they also talked and played cards together. When he was 14, Nana had a stoke and both her speech and hearing were altered terribly. Matt lost something that he cherished deeply and decided that he wanted to find a way to help victims of stoke, speech impediments and hearing loss so that they may not miss out on chatting with their loved ones. He graduated college with a degree in Speech and Hearing, went on to grad school and earned his Aud, and then proceeded as a post grad and prepared his dissertation on speech recognition to earn his PhD. He is presently a research scientist at the University of Wisconsin in the field of cochlear implants and is dedicated to improve the hearing for those who have lost the ability to communicate with those that they love. So, what started out as a small project, turned into his life's work and may have the ability to improve the lives of millions. Of course I am bursting with pride over his accomplishments, but what I am most proud of is that he had options to make lots of money as an athlete playing hockey, or make big money as a musician, as he is a very talented guitarist. Instead, he chose a path that took years of hard work and dedication to his studies in an effort to help others and make a positive difference in the lives of so many. He will surely make this a better world
    • Feb 5 2014: Amy, Congratulations to you and your son, his career is an example to us. I am not surprised you to feel proud, any parent would. I imagine that you as a mother have helped to guide your child and part of his success is yours too. Of course he is doing something very important to improve the world and you as well. Many thanks for exposing your story here. You are always Welcome.
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    Feb 4 2014: Hello everyone, I am an international student. Originally from Mauritius but now I live in Kentucky. I don't think I have contributed a whole lot to improve the world. However I have been contemplating on how I could change the lives of a whole nation; 1.3 million people and their future generation. Although not many Mauritians think about how much innovation can be implemented and how much more efficient our society can possibly be, there are some of us, including myself that see that there are limitless possibilities. I firmly believe that we can make Mauritius a platform to where we can use the ideas from several ted speakers to make Mauritius a role model as a country. I am willing to start and organization that through guidance from other foundations and organizations and effective messages from several media such as social networks to raise awareness and help people seek an innovative society. Ideas that I would like to see implemented would be open government, corruption-free, raise in employment and salary among many others and overall raise in standard of living. Even though those ideas seems too broad and vague, I believe small goals and the benefits outweighs the costs. I have what others don't have to start the movement; time to invest in collecting the data, testimonies, petitions and awareness. The reason that I believe that it can be done is because we live in a world where social networks can affect a significant amount of the population to help us reach our goals through proper and effective flow of messages in our social network. We all can change a nation to make it better. Developing countries can gain a lot from others. I want to be a social activist and I am inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. , Nelson Mandela and Mahattma Ghandi because they knew the obstacles were numerous but yet they know their goals were achievable. God bless our world.
    • Feb 4 2014: Welcome Elvin, complete and perfect presentation If I were a billionaire I wouldn´t exitate to invest in Mauritius. Hopefully this action of yours serve to fulfill your projects. I wish you much luck.
    • Feb 4 2014: Elvin,

      Consider that you will be the one guiding the guidances provided to raise awareness and help people seek an innovative society... start the implementation and design process taking the actions to form and cultivate the better society to envision and bring into being from the limitless possibilities.

      I would suggest that while there be infinite of possibilities some of them ought to remains as such as possibilities while some of them are carefully cultivated towards complete fructification. I would also suggest that in an ideal society a single murmuring voice of righteousness, even from an infant, suffices to get every individual to embrace what be righteous out of self determination to embrace what be better and right as individuals, groups and collectives, this through recognizing acknowledging and properly addressing the circumstantial eventualities which lead to incorporate beneficial systemic approaches. Simple rules that lead to complex behaviors and produce resilient healthy customs beneficial to the individual, the collective and the ecosystems wellbeing.

      Then there is the whole issue of taking the better ideas and implementing them while inspiring others to contribute, collaborate and effectively work together in enriching ways.

      It certainly is time for figuring out to resolve issues amongst siblings ... if you know what I mean...
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        Feb 4 2014: Esteban,

        You have just put into words what I could not, thank you very much for that. I do follow what you are saying. I find tremendous obstacles to convince or have followers of the same ideologies to come together and harder to stir the curiosity of those that are oblivious; all of them have their own little world that comes first, which is totally understandable, I myself I am expecting my baby boy here in April. I am trying to understand how social networks can affect certain people. If you have watched Nicholas Christakis speech, I believe that in Mauritian given that about 30% of the population is between 18 to 40 which are from statistics from CIA worldbook dated 2013, and assuming that most of those are directly or indirectly affected by social networks such as Facebook and that a fair share of those persons spend quite an amount of time checking their social network, I believe we can set a plan in motion through professional collaborations to raise awareness, I am willing to invest my time to find persons that can help me reach some of the goals that I envision. There are many other sectors that I believe we could stir the population's curiosity, I have had several friends and relative telling me about corruption, lack of jobs for graduates students, and there is room for investors and expansion of different sectors that will help innovate this developing country. I have a vision but I do not that the tools needed; human power, guidance, effective ways to communicate and motivate others among many more, but I am surely thinking of ways that will help but to me or others it might be too far fetched or difficult to achieve but yet I firmly believe if we can think of it, we can make it happen. We have generation in Mauritius that can be reached and follow, it is a matter of time of who will lead them and inculcate the morals and responsibilities to innovate their society.
        • Feb 5 2014: Elvin,

          From my perspective the key driver stems from a desire... to work / walk towards bringing about the vision. As you said many have their own little world that comes first... so the key driver is to realize that in order for their own little world to be they need to care for a broader world in which their little world can exist.

          I once read that anyone is only separated by six degrees from everyone else in the world. That means 1 you know 2 someone who knows 3 somebody who knows 4 another who knows 5 someone who knows 6 whomever you want to reach. The implication is that if you inspire and convince just the right individual to convince the next and so forth the message can reach the whole world rather quickly... and we are not even considering the use of tools like internet... The challenge as I said centers on convincing an individual to adopt and support the initiative... especially when they are rather oblivious to their own contributions...

          Something that I sort of harp about ( talk or write persistently and tenaciously on a particular topic ) involves the notion of choosing cautiously the stories that we want to feed and cultivate in our lives. I go a bit further and hold that if someone states something it is because they choose to give their life energy over to that idea... and invite everyone else to do the same... As an exercise I would like to give you an example of the stories that you chose to cultivate in your response... I think if you observed them as they are you would instantly agree that you would rather cultivate some alternatives... hopefully that will be the case... Do you really want to cultivate the notion " I find tremendous obstacles to convince" say instead os something like 'I am still looking for effective ways to convince and share certain ides' BTW I too am still looking for effective ways to share certain ideas... in a way that's why I am sensitive to this particular notion... I am surely thinking of ways that will help
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        Feb 5 2014: Esteban,

        Wow! today was my first day that I created my TED account and I am glad that I encountered you. You are very critical and I would love to converse with you more often I am sure tat I will learn a lot and have a better insight on various topics that would be very valuable to me. I have been thinking about the challenge to convince individuals, and I will use and example: Arnold Schwarzenegger, he is a person that is popular,is an attention getter, because of his career and he has ideologies that are worthy to our society, that is why many of us elected him. What if we find a way to make our organization popular, be an attention getter and have ideologies that are worthy, through collaboration with other famous persons, to stir interest of the oblivious persons? The famous person that I want to define here is not necessarily a worldwide one, maybe just like you described that we are separated by 6 degrees and we try try to convince the persons with the most connections(based on popularity on social networks i.e likes, shares, etc.) Our association with such person may help our ideologies and organizations's popularity to peak.
        • Feb 5 2014: In a way thats what leadership is all about... get the trend setters everyone imitates and viola... everyone is doing it... I heard some businesses even pay people to set the trends in communities by giving them freebees so that others will see them and imitate them... of course one has to find them key individuals and convince them to do it... though realize that this kind of behavior stems from coping others rather than a conscious self-determination ... if the leader changes the group changes... if the leader adopts this or that nuance everyone follows... I think that the vision of a better society would be based on individuals choices based on individual determinations rather than just copying what someone else is doing... Sometimes the better ways/solutions are far from following a popularity contest ... still they be the better ways regardless of the fact that only a murmuring 'unpopular' voice point it out...
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    Feb 3 2014: I think our day to day small choices are the most important, we are what we repeatedly do.
    Buying local, eating seasonally, not supporting the big companies that are only interested in profit and not the people, their well-being or the environment.
    • Feb 3 2014: Hi Judit, nice name! I think your quality as a person depends on how you respond to important situations. Are you agree?
    • Feb 9 2014: Judit Piñol Thank you very much for your thumb and for read me. All the best
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    Jan 29 2014: I work for a conservation charity in the UK, and like to think that I play my part in the wheel that is environmental conservation throughout the world. The question I often ask myself is; 'are my contributions going to make a difference? As one person, my efforts, in the wider sense of human existence, are just drops in the ocean. This doesn't sound inspiring in the slightest, but understanding that an ocean is just a multitude of droplets helps me to accept that my actions, however small, are acting towards the much wider picture of improving the world. From this I believe that our actions and attitudes have a cascading effect on the future state of the world and by expressing any of the dispositions and habits that Paco has listed (honesty, pacifism etc), can only be a step in the right direction. Everyone has a part to play in improving the world, even if the wider picture appears out of reach.
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    Feb 10 2014: I have met many people who have never known their capabilities. I have TED talks to thank a lot for me recognising the potential in myself, and now having realised this, I like to help others recognise the unbelievable and extraordinarily profound potential that they have, which so often goes unnoticed in too many people.
    • Feb 11 2014: Thank you David. I very much agree with you.
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    Feb 10 2014: A better world comes out from a better you. So...
    1) See the life as a gift
    2) See the world as a pssibility field, as a construction site
    3) Believe that love will finally win
    4) Be the unexpected help or smile, prayer or song for the other :)
    • Feb 10 2014: Thank you Narcis I share your point of view, so simple but so profound. Happy to have you here!
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      Feb 10 2014: Dear Narcis,
      I LOVE the image of life as a construction site.....thank you for that! We have a lot of materials available to us with which we can "build" our life:>)

      Welcome to TED conversations!
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    Feb 5 2014: Motivation. I keep positive motivation and keep idea words spreading, including, TED….
    • Feb 6 2014: Thank you very much Lamb Lamb, always positive, always forward, always motivated. Best Regards
    • Feb 6 2014: And... Many thanks for your thumb!!
  • Feb 2 2014: Hello all. I am a new member and hope you find the following information interesting.
    The overriding thing I have done in my life to hopefully improve the world is to realise that most of society is using conditional giving as a normal part of life. I felt uneasy for years and could not figure out why. It wasn't until I made a shift from conditional giving practices to unconditional giving that I felt a greater contentment.. My life is possibly very much different from many others as they feel the need to use conditional giving to survive. I believe that we are all capable of overcoming the fears associated with living without what is seen as protection. People seemingly tend to build up walls of perceived assurance due, I believe to a fear of the unknown, i.e the future, however the future will never exist as when you get to a point in the future it is seen as the present. I know I have changed my mindset from one of unease to one of acceptance. I give and do not expect to receive, therefore anything that I receive is seen as a bonus. It has been one hell of a journey, but worth every second.
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      Feb 2 2014: Stephen,
      That is a HUGE gift to yourself and all those you interact with! Welcome to TED conversations:>)
    • Feb 2 2014: Hello Stephen your phrase "I give and do not expect to receive" denotes a sensitive and generous soul, maybe you´re blessed from heaven with that gift and distinguishes you from most of people. I have humbly to admit that I do not possess that quality. Sometimes I act well but thinking of the reward and that has brought me many disappointments. The good thing is: I know my fault and I admit it. The Bad: Altough I try, sometimes I can´t help it. The justification is that I am human and imperfect creature. So Stephen I welcome you to this debate and to TED, you will find here lots of very interesting people, very good ideas This TED is kind of "Intelligence in Motion" All the best.
      • Feb 2 2014: Hello Paco, thankyou for your honest and humbling response. I corrected my initial response when responding to a post from Colleen, from"I give and do not expect to receive", to" I give and look not to expect to receive". I see this as a subtle difference and I hope I have acknowledged my imperfect nature and lifelong conditioning of expectation with this correction. I also recognise that it is a great challenge to overcome the conditioned side of conditional giving and would applaud any person who has the intent of doing so.
        • Feb 2 2014: Hi Stephen very nice to have you around. The human being, always fighting against itself. I think if we are reborn I hope it is in a better state of perfection.
        • Feb 2 2014: Stephen,

          I used to have a saying "Expect the best, be prepared for the rest".

          Meaning that I do expect something to happen without being surprised that something else actually happened. Whatever happens is what happens what we do with it and what will happen next will soon be known by what we do with it and what happened next...

          An acquaintance used to say that a gift as well as a favor had no stings attached ... if there where strings attached then it was an investment or a business transactional interchange. To put it rather drastically its what differentiates love from the other activity where one pays for it... love is invaluable as many other gifts... like genuine smiles and shared insights...
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      Feb 2 2014: By conditional giving, do you mean giving only in the expectation of some sort of reward or reciprocity or do you mean giving that depends on a person meeting particular conditions?
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        Feb 2 2014: Fritzie,
        Expectation of reward or reciprocity is a condition....is it not?
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          Feb 2 2014: Those are examples of conditions but do not exhaust the range of possible conditions to which Stephen might be referring. For example, giving only to people who can demonstrate they live in Virginia or play football or who submit an application explaining how they would use what you give them would also be giving that is conditional without suggesting any particular return to the individual (other than the joy of giving) Giving only to someone one believes needs help but not to someone who one believes doesn't involves a condition without suggesting anything about reciprocity or reward to the giver.

          I hope Stephen will explain what he means when he says "most of society is using conditional giving as a normal part of life."

          Stephen, you might find this talk interesting: http://www.ted.com/talks/sasha_dichter.html
      • Feb 2 2014: Hello Fritzie, thankyou for your reply. I think I understand where you are coming from and will elaborate...... I initially wrote that I expect nothing from others. In retrospect, this would imply perfection. In my post addessed to Colleen I changed this to looking to expect nothing from others. I still need to overcome my lifelong conditioning of expectation. I would like to do so but I am imperfect, therefore would aspire to do this, however, with the passing of time and learning opportunities I would say that i'm currently 95% there.
        By conditional giving, I mean giving in the expectation of reward or reciprocity and giving that depends on a person meeting particular conditions. as to me the two are linked.
        I am sometimes considerably inadequate with understanding as I do not consider myself to intellectuallly minded so please forgive my ignorance if I have been unable to answer your views on a satisfactory level.
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          Feb 2 2014: I understand that giving without expecting reward is your focus. There is no requirement or expectation in TED Conversations that a person be intellectually minded. People are drawn to TED out of an interest in considering and discussing ideas from whatever vantage point they bring to that.

          Do look for the Sasha Dichter TED talk.
    • Feb 2 2014: stephen,

      I hear you... in a way one does what one does because one chooses to do it ... and or finds it worthwhile to do... one gives a gift because one chooses to give it... if others find something valuable or not thats an extra thing...

      many-times as I write a comment out I realize and learn something myself ... recently I conceived of a protective encapsulation that had a unique property of a permeable boundaries... what I really liked about the notion was that rather than have the bubble around me the bubble could be placed around others and stuff... ensuring the safety of everyone and everything...Its a bit complicated to explain though it a bit related to what you said "I believe that we are all capable of overcoming the fears associated with living without what is seen as protection. People seemingly tend to build up walls of perceived assurance due, I believe to a fear of the unknown"... the unknown can be wonderfully pleasant ... and a source of wonder and divine surprises ... we just have to accept the gifts as they ought to be accepted... and do with them what ought to be done...
  • Feb 2 2014: There are a few rules working against us all in truly "making a difference that matters":

    1. Capitalism concentrates power so that the powerful successful few seek to strip the well-meaning, struggling majority of power.

    2. Capitalism rewards success with wealth which inherently isolates its possessors from the common reality.

    3. Capitalism by virtue defines the increase of personal power as morally good and to lose power to the majority as morally evil (leading eventually to aristocratic oppression followed by popular revolution and Anarchy followed by more Capitalism due to collective amnesia).

    Improving this world and the lives of others is not Capitalist.

    What these forces mean is that the limits of what the well-meaning, struggling majority can meaningfully change have unfortunately been predefined by the few in power clinging to their alternate reality, while controling your reality and gradually stripping you of your powers advertising it as "morally good for mankind" and your attempts at meaningful change as "dangerous and morally evil... an immediate threat to mankind."

    The solution is simple - plug your ears!
    • Feb 2 2014: Antonio,

      I find that the story you got going there ought to be changed... to gradually empower individuals to act accordingly to what actually be morally good for them and others... btw if one plugs their ears one may not hear what they ought and need to hear... likely dew to a defensive schemata which clings to their alternate reality.
      • Feb 3 2014: The powerful few already bought and control our formal education system. So if you are talking about education - he who controls the education of the masses still rules over them (easily). I am not against formal education but against blindly trusting institutions without questioning and reasoning for yourself internally ("plugging your ears... and pondering").

        Yes there is a lot to learn from others, but we may have already pass the point at which common sense is now wiser than official propaganda.
        • Feb 9 2014: Hello Antonio. I very much understand your views and I also very much understand Estebans views. I would like to add that I see such people in power as being of a higher level of inadequacy than others due to their extreme need to possess money, countries, people, minerals etc. They must live in a world of great deception, not just from their associates but from their personal outlook. I feel sorry for these people as the need to possess comes from a need to ensure survival. With these people it is this need that has seemingly been skewed and that makes them believe that wants are needs. They likely see competition as the only way to get ahead and will likely use aggression, intimidation and other negative energy states to secure their deceptive needs.This is a very primitive state of mind but this is likely the world they live in, where they feel unable to trust anyone. I believe that Stalin must have felt the same way not long before he died. If he was able to realise that the only enemy was himself and that his paranoia was due to being in a dilemma, then history may be different. Some people seemingly believe that in order to secure their perceived needs, they have to behave with aggression. They seem highly unlikely to understand that other people can and do give willingly if asked in a humble,understanding and respectful way. These behaviour patterns are no doubt reinforced through generations, so although they may be seen to be wealthy in what they, and others, think they possess, they are very likely unhappy with life. Their personal energy focus is directed on seeing most, if not all things in life as battles to be won at any cost.This view must drain their personal energy resources to such an extent that In the end, that cost is to them. In my view, this whole way of being stemsfrom a need to control, and that need is only manifested if you feel unable to control, I therefore see such people as full of fear. I feel so sorry for them.
    • Feb 2 2014: Many thanks Antonio. Here we are hearing many interesting and constructive things. You have my support to manifest your point of view, the ideal democratic reaction would be to listen you carefully and take out each one his particular conclusión. Your opinion is as valid as any other but there may be people who think otherwise, the plurality of ideas and positions moves the world. You are welcome
      • Feb 2 2014: Paco,

        Put in a simplistic way : I think this happened. You think that happened. Whether this or that corresponds to what happened to happen depends on what happened to happen and how it correlates to what this and that claims to have happened.

        Someone opinion is as valid as any others opinion which happens to hold the same validity though there are opinions that actually reflect and correspond to what be happening better than others but as you said there may be people who think otherwise. What moves the world are individual actions and interactions.
        • Feb 3 2014: So what! Was a term much used by Seneca in his debates. Normally i do not argue about the opinions of others, only listen and just in case I ask for clarification.The interventions are rated by themselves and by the echo among participants. What possibly "Happens" is maybe you need your own conversation and lead it at your way.
        • Feb 3 2014: "What is reality?" (a separate discussion)

          But I must say that you are touching another valid point - that "What you think is meaningfully changing the world for good" is a large matter of personal subjective opinion as many mass movements in the past have been lead by those already in power in the background so as to direct their outcomes. We are in a tricky world.

          I believe that "meaningfully changing the world" is to "change yourself meaningfully".
          Don't lie down and complain. Lead by personal example. You just changed the world for good for everyone!
      • Feb 3 2014: Maybe what 'happens' is that some opinions are being exposed in a certain way which produce a cognitive dissonance that some find challenging to assimilate because whichever way they addresses the challenge it boils down to someone having to recognizing the correspondence between what one claims to be and what be which depends on the congruency between the two (not just on what some like to claim to be).

        of course a conversation over the facts is quite a different interaction than An argument over the facts which is a futile waste of time... one either accepts the fact as fact or reject it being so... though what happens to be remains what happens to be.... Like I was telling someone today I would rather play a win-win game... and if others want to play a win-lose game well I would rather it be where I win and they lose ... it's their choice which games they want to play as it is my choice to always desire to be on the wining side ... I would rather play a win-win game where everyone gets to win though understand how some still engage in futile arguments thinking they can change the facts according to their claims rather than have the claims reflect the facts...

        I believe that "meaningfully changing the world" involves both "changing oneself and helping others change themselves in meaningfully ways". Some opinions better remain within the domain of a possibility never to exists as a reality...
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    Feb 1 2014: My hypothesis is that everyone does some things that contribute to a better world and probably other things that don't. but that very much most people- perhaps all- seek to do good for others in their lives. A single-minded focus on oneself is mainly a caricature many people assume of others. I expect there is a solid psychological explanation why some people find it difficult to recognize in others their hearts.

    If people don't share what their offerings have been, this should not be taken to suggest a weakness of commitment or lack of activity on their parts. Rather, deeply ingrained cultural beliefs may affect whether people feel comfortable drawing attention to their own good acts.
    • Feb 2 2014: Wellcome Fritzie. I completely agee with you, especially in this part:" My hypothesis is that everyone does some things that contribute to a better world and probably other things that don't. but that very much most people- perhaps all- seek to do good for others in their lives". I want to link this with a humble theory of mine about trying to be positive. No one can be positive all the time, sometimes we are overcome by our negative part. But.alike you use unconciously one of your hands in preference to the other, equally could fight to make the positive side prevailed over negative or confirming your own words "people feel comfortable drawing attention to their own good acts. Many thanks for your valuable contribution. All the best
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        Feb 2 2014: I would think that positive inclinations and actions naturally prevail for a great majority of people and that many acts which turn out not for the better come out that way by accident, as it were, rather than out of negative intention. People can focus on only so many things, and sometimes areas that get little focus go awry.

        I do think that assuming good intentions unless there is solid cause to doubt it is not only a beneficial practice among people who seek to collaborate or sustain community but actually an accurate assumption in the vast majority of cases.
  • Feb 1 2014: Hi Paco! Yes! My mission is to encourage, inspire, and communicate "possibility" to people with aspirations everywhere. There is an opportunity for me to make a difference in every conversation I have. That in turn alters the course of action in many people's lives.

    In addition, I lead a year long community leadership program in which adults from the community come to learn how to work together to make a positive impact in their community on an ongoing basis.
    • Feb 1 2014: Thank you Sherry, When you say "people with aspirations eveywhere" May I ask for which class of aspirations. Should I understand your job is a sort of counselor or adviser? and On the program for adults is it difficult to deal with them? your group consists mostly men or women? I say that because I am very interested. I admire the U.S. volunteer programs, for some time I was able to verify the effectivenes and the sweetness of the elder volunteers in M.D Anderson Houston they were a group of senior angels. Their work contributed to making a better world and to relieve tha pain of people. Nice to see you around.
    • Feb 1 2014: Sherry,

      Can you elaborate on the community leadership program ... link-share?

      FWIIW I see your positive focus in your statements... and applaud it. . There certainly exists an opportunity for each to make a difference in every conversation one has. That in turn alters the course of action in many people's lives. In a way we are bound to impact everyone while sort of free to choose how to impact them ... will one choose a positive or some other alternative be the key... I prefer the positives and hope thats be the impacts of my words, thoughts, feelings, attitudes and actions.
      • Feb 1 2014: Esteban,

        I provided links in my response to Paco. Scroll up the page and you will see them.
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    Jan 29 2014: Yes, I have did & still doing a small piece of charity work to help the humanity in some way or the other by providing medical e-books to the medical students all over the world via Facebook forum. Members of my page are very happy with my this work and they pray a lot for me which is more than enough for me as a human to see a smile on the faces of people & in return earning prayers from them. That's all about my small act of charity.
  • Feb 11 2014: Thank you Paco, for now I work with my friends and classmates who understand my passion and have a similar one. then I finance our operations from my allowance.
    • Feb 11 2014: Benedicta, very impressive your work, just with your hands!! Don´t you have the possibility to publish in a newspaper or similar your project or raise funds in any way? Your project is very valuable, if you could promote it; I am sure you´d find people willing to financially contribute. This world also contains good and caring people.
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    Feb 10 2014: I forget about being comfortable & affluent. Live on $250/month, sleeping bag, bicycle, food... Removing all financial worries (bills), enjoying life, getting away from "Serving Myself" to serving others and having others serve me. By following in Buddha/Jesus's steps, one becomes transformed into someone more than oneself. He who saves himself loses himself.
    I hope to provide free Education in all the World's Languages. The World Mentoring Academy has been in existence since May 2010, with no income stream, except $250/month($200 food stamps & $50). I recommend that others try it,, how many of you wake to birds overhead? If I didn't Urban Camp, I might get more full of myself, so it also helps me self correct arrogance.
    With so little resources I do not have a Marketing/PR fund, so I have to self promote through social & public networks. I got kicked off Twitter 3x's in a week for spamming, I'm a good boy now.
    Back story: http://www.ocregister.com/news/williams-522495-says-one.html
    • Feb 10 2014: Many Thanks Michael Williams, I´ve just visited the link of the Orange County Register and I´ve read the whole article about you and your initiative, I´ve to tell you that I´ve never read anyting like that, is a totally amazing and original experience, from my heart I wish you all the luck in the world and that the publication in this humble conversation became a bunch of positive responses for you.
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    Feb 10 2014: Agree that anyone would behave with close people differently thats how humans are, but about to support the Global Family would be different as the actions to motivate, inspire or express the good intention are not the same. So that to improve the world has to be different acts yes but as same as effective with actual family, which is in compare to the actions at least what i have done might change and support other people, even though it is not noticeable or world wide effects.
    • Feb 10 2014: Hello Hussain. Maybe I didn´t express well. What I meant is that a person who cares and loves family, friends etc.Those good feelings supposedly and inherently involve also (consciously or unconsciosly) good wishes and feelings for the rest of humanity. Anyway. I respect your point of view. Thank you for your answer.
  • Feb 10 2014: So far, at this point of the conversation I would make a personal reflection: Once listened the whole contributions received I would say that we all, indeed are doing something for getting a better world, conciously or unconsciously, working in it or passively. I think it is very important to have the attitude or, say, the right fuel. But... How do you get the fuel? I would say: by appreciating the whole what you have: your health, your livelihood, your family, your job, even small details like that you have water to wash up or light in your home; many people in war or refugee camps not even have that. So I think:
    If I see a beggar I will try to help.
    If I see a sick person I will try to comfort.
    If I see a sad person I will try to encourage.
    If I see a war I will try to stop it.
    I do not wanna make this post larger, so. I want to thank again ( I do not regret to say that there is the word most used for me in this conversation) Thanks TED, Thanks to all of you pen mates to attend and participate in this conversation. And especially Thanks God for inspiring me to be in this place, in this moment and with this post.
  • Feb 10 2014: Hi Dear paco,I think if I think of improving this world,I must improve myself at first.When I was a kid I was taught to serve people as our life goal.I think that's right.But that was totally wrong we were also taught:take care of ourselves means selfish.Infact the instinct of the world comes from me at first,if we can't take care of ourselves but think of taking care of others,that's totally big liar.

    Infact the better world is from every good one of us,so be conscious of us,reflecting ourself often:if we take care of ourself everyday?if we do,we do take care of others surely.
    • Feb 10 2014: Hi Edulover Nice to hear from you again. Let´s see. Yours, for me, is a good reflection I actually think for doing good to others first have to do it to yourself, not for a selfish motivation but to improve and perfect yourself if you don´t do it like that, what you probably shall offer will be flawed.
  • Feb 8 2014: Best way to improve world is to resolve issues of people whom you know. Your relatives friends , associates.

    (1) I have convinced a woman to give up custody of her teen age daughter to her ex-husband. Her concern was her life style was badly impacting her daughter. She did it.

    (2) A divorcee with two children was on alimony and welfare. I convinced her she is smart and will succeed well at work and her daughters life will impact for better. It has worked out very well

    Small things like that.

    Change the world one person at a time where you already know the person/ Love near one first before one goes to help people whom they do not know at all.
    • Feb 8 2014: Hello Raj. My congratulations for the two cases resolved; and this is only a question apart: Don´t you think that sometimes to try to resolve such conflicts can also worsen?
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    Feb 7 2014: Hello Paco,
    Nice question - and a popular one given the large number of responses so far.
    My own contribution to improving the world has focussed on my own inner world and has been to become a happy learner, and add life to life.
    • Feb 7 2014: Hello Joshua, Many thanks for being here. Well: I would say you´ve done a good job with your inner world, your kindly reply to this conversation is a good confirmation. You´re always welcome!
  • Feb 7 2014: Hi everyone, i'm 2nd year student in Sport Sciences in France (University Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand).
    I'm interested in Sport psychology and i do a little study about Success and Human performance.

    I try to undesertand why only a few people succeed and live their dreams, and others not.

    Your question is very interessant, i think people lack of self-confidence. If we want to improve this world, we have to be different from others. And, be ourselves can be daunting. I think fear is one of the the biggest problem for Human beings. "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” said Yoda in Star Wars I :)

    About this question, i do a quickly study for students from 18 to 25 years old about success (In every fields, not only sport). If you want to help me, can you answer to this questionnaire ? (Or share it, if you're too young or too old :) )


    Thanks !
    • Feb 7 2014: Hi Remi I have just seen your survey questions and seem intelligently raised. I tried to answer but sorry I´m too old. Anyway I believe for success in sport one of the key factors apart from the will is "Genetic" I think Fate can be of great influence, not always a person who works hard is rewarded by success. I also find your comments about fear very wise. Thanks for your contribution. All the best and success in your career.
    • Feb 7 2014: Rémi,

      Consider that to improve this world each ought do what they ought to do... be that to be similar or be that to be different from others.

      I too wonder about why's and how's that people succeed and live their dreams. This has to do with nature, nurture and individual choices and a bit extra all integrated into a singular successful experience. How to accomplish this especially when one focuses on 'the ultimate dream' where each lives the better dreams (and helps other successfully accomplish the better dreams) seems to present quite a daunting adventure...

      for some the daunting suspense may lead to fear-anger-hate-suffering, for some this suspense may lead to excitement - pleasure - love - delight - and into other divine experiences. Notice the two different framings just put forth here related to 'the daunting suspense'... why is it that some choose to head in the direction of the dark ways rather than the direction of the light? From what I saw of the study question they seem to lead into what you hold to be ... and looking for supporting evidence... to make your case... though in actuality there be a bit more to consider, understand and learn. Just be aware of the questions asked may well constrain the responses obtained, especially when asked in a certain way... in theory leading the witness may help the witness to visualize/tell/experience a pre-planned story using a certain framing which individuals could/would readily choose to embrace rather than question though it most works by relaying on mostly ignoring what actually be going on rather than considering and making a conscious choice accordingly to what ought to be done. Closed dualistic question of yes/no may be easier to evaluate and tabulate than open ones though the latter will likely expose a broader set of alternatives.
      • Feb 7 2014: Esteban, thanks for your answer. I agree with you about the question "Feeling about your future", there is a lot of choices possible and not only four. But, it's not the most important in my study, the most important things are questions about genetics and "Be born to succeed or not" (Ideas frequently heard, especially in sport field).

        I don't agree with the idea that people were born better or stronger than others, and i would like to know the way of thinking of students from 18 to 25 years old about this idea. (Especially in France, where we're generally thinking others are always better than us). It's important to know that people think about themselves in sport, because, in my opinion, mental training is most important that physical training in reality. That was the main goal of my little study, and not try to explain "the keys of success" in life
        • Feb 7 2014: Rémi,

          Even within the particular issue there be different ways to frame the inquiry; which may affect the responses; and affect what people consider and decide to do. For example asking what % does genetics play in success, what % does training play, what % does individuals attitude play.

          I read of an intriguing case where differences in the 'volunteer' organ donor participation actually stemmed from the way the question was asked in different countries/states. The de facto implicit response was 'chosen' over the alternative. Asking would you like to opt out from volunteering vs would you like to volunteer may well determine what individuals choose to do! I do understand the nature vs nurture, means vs ends intellectual scrimmages frequented by some. Like you, I do not agree with the idea that people were born and destined in a certain way for I hold that individuals, their education, their genetics and a bit more all play a part in what happens.

          Yea its important to know what people think about themselves. it's kind of funny how most individuals in a group generally think to be above the mean of the group! In my opinion mental, physical and other kinds of training are vital important in reality. If memory serves me well in What the Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell makes the point that 'training coupled with physical talent' leads to success. Akin to how personal-connections can get you into the meeting while performance is what keep you there.

          Looking for a reference on how the framing of a question changes the responses I found a couple of articles which may help, thought just did a quick scan. point being an opt in and and opt out positive or negative closed open single multiple choice the words used frame the inquiry and can change the results: even 4 vs 5 options to questions may induce shifts!

          (http://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/to2020/resources/ThepotentialimpactofanoptoutsystemfororgandonationintheUK.pdf )
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          Feb 7 2014: Here is a popular TED talk (over 2.5 million views) on the point of how the framing of the question affects choices and in particular how choices are influenced by the "default option." http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_asks_are_we_in_control_of_our_own_decisions.html
      • Feb 8 2014: Thanks for these articles. I undesrtand what you're saying.
        • Feb 8 2014: Glad to read that... hope that what you understand and what I understand correspond each other and be enriching.

          It would be quite interesting to understand the better ways to influence each contributing factor especially when done through the other... In other words to what extent can the physical be influenced by the cognitive the emotive and the spiritual... to what extent the cognitive be influenced by the others... etc... a while back I read "Addictive Thinking: Understanding Self-Deception" by Abraham J Twerski M.D. Curiously it became quite evident ( half way into the reading and just to me ) that the book I was reading and the book the author had written where related by the particle arrangements though conceptually where quite apart... for example the author was likely talking about thinking under the influence of addictive stuff normally meant under physical mind altering things while I was thinking of operating under the influence of addictive ideas, feelings, behaviors that produced additional mind altering addictive stuff both within the non-physical and the physical ... imagine craving and getting a fix from 'exercising' certain thoughts/feelings/actions. Imagine going through detox addictive withdrawal symptoms though 'the drugging stuff' comes in the form of a single thought/feeling/action... having the addictive 'stuff' literally a thought away can complicate going through the detox process... yet its possible to detox and shift from damaging addictions to beneficial habits ... to me everyone is addicted to stuff the key question is what stuff one be addicted into... and how to develop better 'addictions'/habits (while letting go of harmful/detrimental stuff)... something I think that I learned in this conversation recently was the notion of encapsulating force fields... extended and projected unto stuff ... to transform what comes out of it and what goes into it... and what happens everywhere.

          Thank you... I just had a new insight!
  • Feb 6 2014: Hello Marge, It seems to me like you are aware of what is needed to nurture and motivate others. Your focus must be very rewarding and, to me, you seem the sort of person that is an example to us all to look to do more for the betterment of human society.
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    Feb 6 2014: Hello every one cells of this planet,
    we share & use the same vibrations,
    if "Just be" means live fully your present and be proud of who are,
    so "live fully your present" means be aware of needs around you (take time to be kind).
    I touch and enhance daily the life of 25 different people.
    The time is a human creation, and share a duality with the wisdom,
    who's being shared by education and our genes.
    Take time to notice 3 important critic situations; Education, Food transformation, Economie
    We feel less and think depending on those outside laws,
    First we are, than we be, than we shift.
    Our body and soul just ask for a better tomorrow,
    so he need a better present, The present is tomorrow .

    The importance of being humble is to not create shade on others.

    Live the world the way you feel

    Just be and share who you are,
    learn to listen,
    • Feb 6 2014: Hello Jean-Guillaume. For me your intervention is like a prose poem from start to finish and I will not spoil it with any personal comment, sounds perfect what you say and the way you say it; I have no more to add except I will read your post two or three more times. Thank you very much.
    • Feb 6 2014: Can you elaborate a bit on what you mean by :
      First we are, than we be, than we shift.
  • Feb 6 2014: yes, since i am not a hero, i simply try everyday to be a positive influence on my partner for life.
    if everyone would truly care for just another human being,
    the world would notice.
    • Feb 6 2014: Hello Jamie, heroes are not particularly Top one in this conversation. We, mostly, are common people trying to do our best with the tools that we have; your comment is very positive and deserves to be heard and considered. Many thanks.
    • Feb 6 2014: Jamie,

      That pretty much corresponds to my definition of love!
      I like to use : A conscious choice pro wellbeing
      what you said : be a positive influence on my partner for life.

      BTW I agree if each would actually care for just one human being the world would notice...

      it seems many still have to learn to actually care ... even it that just involved them!
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    Feb 5 2014: As an artist I've been involved in many international projects to better the world over the years. But I worry that art– which I feel is more powerful than even war– sometimes works too slowly. Our current crises are so dramatic and fast-moving that we need more rapid creative enterprise than is provided by images cast into the stream of culture. I now spend my time thinking of ways that single individuals can help preserve humanity from what appears to be a mad dash to extinction. My contributions have been varied but all have to do with preserving the body (the species) from absorption into the machine of amoral "progress". (I recently gave a TEDx talk on this, called "The Erotic Crisis" which is not yet available on the TED site).

    But perhaps the most powerful idea I've contributed is a vision for a kind of global citizenship that is now possible through the internet. We are all affected by global issues now, making us global citizens whether we like it or not, but there is no way for individuals to express our civic values beyond our citizenship through smaller governments like cities or nations. We should each have an equal voice in the evolution of humanity regardless of our individual identity or circumstances. I have put forward a model for this vision of individual participation on a global scale at a site called DemocraticGlobe.com. It proposes a format to direct the evolution of civilization not by the narrow interests of great powers but by aggregating human values. I welcome anyone's ideas for bringing such a vision to fruition!

    Thank you. I can be reached through that site or through my art portal, TimHolmesStudio.com.
    • Feb 5 2014: Many thanks Tim for your contribution. The culture today seems a bit undervalued as a way to improve the world. I write and I know about the problems that exist for publishing. There is a fact that binds me to you, the need to expose the values and aspirations of the citizens I found my way after passing an examination on some collaborations in one of the most known newspapers in Spain I am satisfied because they give me the opportunity to express daily my ideas in the online edition. I imagine in U.S. that will be easier That comment is only for if it can be of any help. The best would be a private platform but I think you can get more audience through a newspaper. Thank you for exposing your project here. I wish you success.
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    Feb 5 2014: It is VERY HARD to HELP people help themselves.

    The majority of us, adults, want Financial help, but do not want to learn a thing, do not wish to change anything in our recycling lifestyle.
    • Feb 5 2014: Do you mean about new ways of investments? or a new ways to earn a salary?
  • Feb 5 2014: Who knows? I have volunteered for years, sometimes I wonder if it is worth it. I can only hope. Some of the projects I worked on are now part of history and have led to things we consider necessary and part of everyday life.
    • Feb 5 2014: Yes Wayne it is worth, the work of all of us is part of the history. But if you look backwards and think of all you have done You´ll find yeah it was worth. To be a volunteer is for me like wearing an honor medal on your chest..