Wisdom//

Ways to Change the World in 15 Minutes or Less

These "microshifts" can help you give back to others, which creates joy and purpose in your own life.

YJ.K / Shutterstock
YJ.K / Shutterstock

– Research various nonprofits (easy to do on the Internet) and find one that appeals to you. Then take action by donating either your time or your money to that organization.

– Make a sandwich or box up leftovers from your meals and offer these to a homeless person you pass along the way to work or school.

– Plant flowers and cultivate a prayer garden in your backyard.

– Read Dr. Seuss, the Bible, or The Lord of the Rings aloud to your children, your nieces and nephews, or a shut-in.

– Walk an elderly neighbor’s dog or commit to taking the neighbor’s garbage bins in and out each week on trash pickup days.Use a small notebook or a note-taking app on your phone to create a prayer list, and then pray for the people whose names are on that list.

– Set an alarm on your phone that sounds every afternoon. Then take time to meditate, or at least take a few moments to sit silently. Instead of a coffee break, try a mind break.

– Call your mom. OK, I’m sure some of you are saying, “Look here, Jansen, I can’t talk to my mom for 15 minutes a day. You don’t know my mom.” Maybe so, but maybe you could give your mom (or your grandmother or mother-in-law) a half of 1 percent of your day. After all, these women gave life to us and to the people we love most.

Don’t have 15 minutes? Try these MicroShifts you could do in about 7 minutes a day:

– Keep a gratitude journal and list daily a few things for which you are thankful.

– Write a letter to a soldier serving overseas.

– Collect and organize gently used baby clothes and redistribute them to new parents.

What’s that you say? You’re so busy that 7 minutes is too much? What about 3 minutes? Better yet, what are some MicroShifts you could do in just 1 minute every day?

– Allow someone to go ahead of you in the checkout line.

– Silently bless a stranger or strangers on the street. I walk a mile and a half to work every day through the streets of New York. In a single minute, I can bless a lot of people.

– If you’re having a bad day, pray that another person has a great day.

– Rub a puppy’s belly. That makes everyone happy.

Still too busy? OK, here are some mini-MicroShifts (but still important ones) you can do in just 10 seconds:

– Decide to forgive someone. Sometimes making that initial decision is the most you can do, but deciding to do it is a big start.

– Laugh.

And if you’re still too busy and only have a second to spare, well, in 1/60th of a minute you could:

– Close your eyes and pray the words, “Thank you.”

– Tell someone in your life, “I love you.”


Excerpted from MicroShifts: Transforming Your Life One Step at a Time by Gary Jansen (Loyola Press)

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