Find 100 Ways

James Ingram and Quincy Jones teamed up on a fantastic R&B song in 1981 titled “Find 100 Ways.”  It encourages men to find 100 ways to make the women in their lives happy.  Not a bad sentiment.

But I started thinking:  could I find 100 ways to simply make a difference?  I’m not talking about grand scale programs and crusades.  Just 100 ways to make a difference in this life.  When I started the list, I was thinking about making a difference for others.  But I soon began to realize that making a difference for others is really making a difference for me; and making a difference for me, in turn, makes a difference for others if what I do helps me to become a better person.

It’s not an easy task.  The first 80 or so weren’t bad, but then I had to really think about how to fill out the last few.  I rearranged, grouped, regrouped, tried to limit redundancy, and tried to make sense.  Some are simple gestures.  Others are core attitudes.  None of them requires a college degree, millions of dollars, or a bully pulpit from which to proclaim its benefit.

I am in no wise suggesting that this is an exhaustive list.  Your list will be different from mine, but I would imagine there would be some common themes.  I’ll probably be coming up with different ideas for a long time, now that I’ve committed this much to words.  The challenge, though, is not just coming up with a list, but living the list.

Here’s what I have come up with so far.

1.  Smile.

2.  Say “Hello.”

3.  Open a door for someone you don’t know.

4.  Carry a package for someone who has her hands full.

5.  Thank a veteran.

6.  Thank a service person.

7.  Volunteer.

8.  Vote.

9.  Give blood.

10.  Give up something for yourself so that you can donate to charity.

11.  Donate food to your local food bank.

12.  Hug a child.

13.  Call your parents.

14.  Call your children.

15. Say “I love you” to the most important people in your life.  Mean it.

16.  Play fair.

17.  Be objective.

18.  Build your faith with humility.

19.  Live your faith with integrity.

20.  Share your faith respectfully.

21.  Forgive if someone asks it of you.

22.  Forgive without being asked.

23.  Forgive yourself.

24.  Compliment your spouse.

25.  Do your best.

26.  Learn something new.

27.  Make someone happy.

28.  Listen.

29.  Look for solutions.

30.  Don’t be afraid—or ashamed—to cry.

31.  Be informed.

32.  Be courteous.

33.  Be kind.

34.  Read to a child.

35.  Tip well.

36.  Use your turn signals.

37.  Be a friend.

38.  Be patient.

39.  Apologize.  Mean it.

40.  Support local businesses.

41.  Stop smoking if you do, don’t start if you don’t.

42.  Observe everything.

43.  Ask for help.

44.  Be willing to help.

45.  Offer sympathy.  Mean it.

46.  Overlook a fault.

47.  Acknowledge your own faults.

48.  Know your limitations.

49.  Take responsibility.

50.  Don’t place blame.

51.  Cooperate.

52.  Lead.

53.  Follow.

54.  Learn from the past.

55.  Live in the present.

56.  Plan for the future.

57.  Respect other cultures.

58.  Wash your hands.  Frequently.  And well.

59.  Mind your health.

60.  Appreciate sacrifice.

61.  Cherish freedom.

62.  Plant a tree.

63.  Thank a teacher.

64.  Thank a farmer.

65.  Avoid arguments.

66.  Protect wildlife.

67.  Believe in yourself.

68.  Believe in something bigger than yourself.

69.  Trust others.

70.  Be trustworthy.

71.  Don’t litter.

72.  Return a shopping cart.

73.  Face your fears.

74.  Give respite to a caregiver.

75.  Don’t stare at people who are different.

76.  Talk less.

77.  Communicate more.

78.  Simplify.

79.  Practice humility.

80.  Share.

81.  Commit to excellence.

82.  Be honest without arrogance.

83.  Change a flat tire for someone who can’t.

84.  Seek clarity.

85.  Withhold judgment if you are short on facts.

86.  Don’t criticize without praise.

87.  Don’t praise without sincerity.

88.  Be humane.

89.  Appreciate diversity.

90.  Seek unity.

91.  Be passionate about something.

92.  Find a purpose in life.

93.  Be persistent.

94.  Be consistent.

95.  Seek to understand others so that you may be understood.

96.  Find good in every person.

97.  Be thankful.

98.  Pray for peace.

99.  Think.

100.  Love well.

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