There’s a simple joy found in everyday niceties that may seem meaningless, or even thankless. But sometimes the best reward for small deed is the pleasure in knowing you’re improving something in your own small part of the vast universe.
One AskReddit thread asked users “How do you contribute to society besides having a job?” Peoples’ answers ranged from the menial things we used to consider typical (like using your turn signal or being nice to cashiers) to ways to improve the environment.
If you’re looking for way to make a difference, even a small one, try incorporating one of these wee deeds into your day.
1. specfreader goes outdoors
I volunteer to clean up a local river
2. aer7 does it for the kids.
I am a hospital magician for sick kids.
3. rocketshipblue saves lives in his spare time.
I volunteer as a telephone counsellor for people who are suicidal or going through crisis. It’s very rewarding and I highly recommend it for anyone interested.
4. mawo333 is helping out some very little guys.
I am a Hobby beekeeper so I do my part for nature.
Plus I teach Kids about it several times a year.
Not much but at least it is something
5. BigDogAlex is simply nice.
I approach every single person working in any sort of customer service position with a smile and a pleasant attitude.
I like to make them feel like the stuff they’re doing for me (packing the cheese from the deli or checking if this shirt comes in my size or whatever) actually means something to me and that I understand that they are making things easier for me.
Usually makes them smile, which also makes me smile.
6. n1c0_ds is a problem solver.
I document anything that can be useful to others: how to solve technical problems, how to go through the local bureaucracy, where to find English-speaking professionals (I’m an expat) and so on.
It doesn’t bring me any money, but it’s immensely rewarding to get messages from people whose problem I solved.
7. werethehatstoscale rescues beaches … and cats.
I take a garbage bag to the beach and pick up trash as I’m searching for shells. I also take in sad stray cats and have them fixed and love them forever. And I’m always really nice to cashiers.
8. lunchesandbentos’ backyard is an urban foragers dream.
I’ve been slowly transforming my backyard into an edible perennial food forest to reclaim the land that had been sterile homogenous grass for so long, bombarded with weed killer and pesticides.
The soil used to be almost straight sand and had NO organic matter, couldn’t hold water for shit. I went to my local compost facility, began hauling in compost and mulch (which is free), I stopped cleaning up in the fall and instead used the lawnmower to mow over the leaves so they decompose in the yard, planted lots of perennial edible fruits and veggies but layered them in a way where it looked like a garden. This was started 3 years ago… these days when I’m working in the yard, I come upon more worms than I can count, the soil is dark and rich, and I have hummingbirds, honeybees, and butterflies visiting. I also have not bought eggs or vegetables since early April (I keep ducks) so I also go to the grocery less and use less gas.
I don’t think it’s much, but I’m hoping I’m doing a little part in helping the environment heal.
9. mogeni is a math tutor, and gets beer out of it too.
I help high schoolers with their math problems once a week and occasionally volunteer at a student run pub, got to make sure students can handle their studies.
10. Time_for_a_cuppa isn’t just in it for the snacks, though they help.
I give blood. Although they give me tea and biscuits afterwards, I still feel that I am giving more than I am receiving.
11. ZerexTheCool undoes what lazy shoppers do.
There is a lot of litter in my neighborhood. When I take my dog for a walk, I’ll take a bag with me and fill it with some garbage.
I will also occasionally return shopping carts that are left abandoned on the side of the street. I think it looks a bit trashy and I certainly need to get more exercise anyway.
12. You can thank WikiWantsYourPics for your quick Google search results.
I edit Wikipedia. Right now I’m doing a 100 WikiDays project where I’m translating an article from English into Afrikaans every day, and I’ve contributed lots of diagrams and pictures as well….
13. arn2gm keeps kids safe in their car seats.
I volunteer with my local police department and am a car seat technician. I think the car seat techs stuff makes more of an impact in the long run. Teaching families how to make sure their children are as safe as possible in vehicles. I’ve had a couple families come back to me after a collision to tell me how glad they are that I had helped them. The thing I love most about the police volunteer stuff is when little girls come up to me (I’m in uniform and look like an officer) and tell me how they want to be an officer or their parents tell me how excited they were to see a female officer. Teaches little girls they can be anything they put their mind to.
14. tiger_without_teeth is just glad they used their blinker.
I let people who use their blinker cut in front of me in traffic whenever possible.
15. StirStir just has a couple of suggestions when you’re out and about.
By being aware and considerate of the people around you.
- Move to the back of the bus if you know more people are getting on
- Get off the train to let others off if you’re blocking the way
- Stand to the right (or left depending on country) of escalators
16. matingmoose helps make sure you get to work on time.
If you have a car/carpool and a cellphone you can use the waze app and update it when you see something abnormal in the road(traffic, pothole, mattress, etc). It’s a small thing, but helps people avoid traffic/hazards and helps the government diagnose problem areas.
17. philipjameshunt opened his home.
My wife and I just became foster parents. I think it’s a great thing to do if you have space in your home to do so.