Summer Series: How to Build a Better World (A Manual)

Week 3 - Taking Action and Tools for Connection

After breaking out of the mold society sets for us, it can be hard to know where to go from there. Changing our mindset is one thing, but taking action in order to establish meaningful connections is another. Additionally, finding the tools to subsequently develop those connections is often difficult, and often results in one’s mind seeking out its old ways of thinking in hopes of an easier path. Through making connections from who we really are to the wider world, and to people who believe in what we do, we can encourage change in others’ mindsets, and change in our world.

Personally, I tend to lean more towards making connections that I have some kind of personal interest or link to. Because of this, I first have tried to define who I am, writing or drawing it all in a circle. This might seem overwhelming, but it’s essentially just anything that matters to you, things that you enjoy doing, people whom you care about, where you are from, and the list can go on and on and on. After doing this, I try to identify what things I believe the world needs, putting them around the circle. Finally, I draw arrows from things about me to needs the world has, in order to trace how I specifically can help to meet those needs, because of who I am. This technique helps us to not only learn more about ourselves, and reflect on who who are, but also to further discover how we can help the world. Keep in mind that the arrows don’t have to be big gestures, or require life changing decisions; rather, they can be small acts of kindness, pledges to decrease one’s environmental footprint, or ideas for ways to encourage others to change their mindset too.

Once we have further explored how to take action in our lives, it’s helpful to find others who feel the same way. For youth, opportunities include joining or starting clubs in school, going on an exchange, or volunteering with a local organization that supports what you believe in. Alternatively, there are numerous ways to virtually connect with others, along with the various forms of social media. Often looked down on, social media can be a powerful tool when used for connection, and it’s when it’s used for disconnection that it poses a problem. As a young woman with a very privileged lifestyle, it’s important for me to learn others’ stories, which I have done by using social media, attending summer courses, reading books, magazines and newspapers, watching movies, and even talking to people on the street. Just yesterday I was walking off the ferry, and I had a lovely conversation with a man from Madagascar, who teaches international students in North Vancouver. Especially organically speaking with others, but also hearing stories in any form, can give us more ideas for taking action, provides inspiration, and lets us experience life in a different way.

By making a simple circle diagram, seeking out others who think similarly to us, and creating chains of changemakers, we can continue to spread our passion for change around the globe.