This article was published on January 16, 2012

Being Awesome: A list of simple things to become a better person

Being Awesome: A list of simple things to become a better person
Howard Yeend
Story by

Howard Yeend

I'm a web developer who blogs about self improvement, innovative coding and web philosophy at puremango. Follow me on Twitter at @user24, I' I'm a web developer who blogs about self improvement, innovative coding and web philosophy at puremango. Follow me on Twitter at @user24, I'd love to chat with you!

Three months ago, there was a post on Reddit entitled “What is something I can do today that will make me a better person by the time I go to bed tonight?”

I think this is an incredibly valuable question to ask of ourselves. So many people are struggling to find meaning in their lives, and it’s surprising how even small actions can improve our self-esteem and feeling of self-worth.

So this post is inspired by that Reddit thread as well as some inspirational videos, and contains some simple things that you can do with little to no investment of money or time.

It doesn’t take long to become awesome, these are things you can do right now which will make you a better person.

  • Register to give blood at or in the USA. Registration is easy and they’ll send you some info on when and where your next donation sessions are. 
  • Right now grab a bag, walk around outside for ten minutes and pick up all the litter you can find. You’ll make the area look nicer, reduce pollution and could save animals who might otherwise ingest or get tangled.
  • Buy a Nalgene bottle. Use it instead of bottled water.
  • Make a mental note to hold doors for people who are carrying things. They really do appreciate it.
  • Buy re-usable shopping bags. It really doesn’t take long to get in the habit of bringing bags with you to the shops instead of using disposable ones. Sidenote: we never buy small bin bags any more as we have so many disposable plastic bags that we’ve just collected over time.
  • Donate some money to an interesting project on Kickstarter or Kiva.
  • Buy a first aid kit for your home and definitely for your car. I recommend this one for home: Zenith First Aid Kit.

Those are all things you can do right now, literally they take 10 minutes of effort or less, and between “zero” and “very little” money.

There’s no excuse for not doing at least one of them right now.

Here are some more involved things which take up to a day.

  • Actually follow up on giving blood. My first donation session will be this coming friday. Woohoo!
  • Clear your wardrobe, shelves and cupboards out and take anything you haven’t used for 6 months to a charity shop (aka thrift store).
  • Make a meal bought entirely from independent shops. It might be slightly more expensive (or in some cases cheaper), but you’re funding someone’s dream at the same time, as well as making your town better – if people don’t buy local, the shops will close and the town will be dead.
  • Buy a random person a pizza: Random Acts of Pizza.
  • Walk around aimlessly all day. I don’t mean round in circles, just pick a direction and go. Wherever you end up you can get a taxi/bus/lift back from. Exploring and discovering things can be very fulfilling.
  • Make a new meal from a recipe book.
  • Bake bread or make lemonade. These are very simple recipes but the feeling of accomplishment you get from eating and drinking something you made from scratch is hard to beat, silly as it sounds. 
  • Offer to babysit for someone so they can take an evening off.
  • Take a first aid course. This one is good and only costs £30: Essential First Aid for All Ages.
  • Put together a budget in order to get yourself out of debt, or to create savings. It’s not hard to do, and will help you control your life better.

And finally some things which are longer term:

  • Learn a language. It gives you insight into a new way of thinking, and can help you out on holiday!
  • Volunteer long-term (there are thousands of ways to volunteer – check out your local Volunteer Centre or in the USA)
  • Do something bold to raise money for charity – sponsored swim, walk, marathon, abseil, parachute drop. Have an amazing experience and help a worthy cause at the same time. Trek across the Sahara, climb Kilimanjaro.
  • Go on a BTCV working holiday, they’re great fun. 
  • Learn to swim, or if you already do, start working towards the mile. Your local pool probably has an adult ‘improvers’ class you can sign up to, or just develop your own style like I did. Swimming is a great way to keep fit, and again gives you a sense of achievement when you beat your personal bests.

This post originally appeared at puremango.

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