Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two Years to December 21, 2012: Is Helping Others on Your Bucket List?

For the record, I strongly believe that the world is not going to end on a predetermined date, much less anytime soon. But I couldn’t help but notice that today (December 21, 2010) is exactly two years away from the date that many people think the world will end. It reminds me of my own mortality. Any of us could die any day.

We should all be writing our own bucket list, or a list of things we want to do before we die.* My top goal is making a difference and I feel that it should be on everyone’s list. Many people will tell you that helping someone else gives you the greatest feeling in the world. Besides, when faced with mortality, what could be more comforting than knowing you left a positive legacy?

Cynics might question whether it matters to help someone if the world is going to end, but the most likely situation is that when you die, there will be other people alive whose lives will either have been improved, worsened, or unaffected by your life. I think we would all want to improve as many lives as possible, right?

Well, I looked at the top goals on the 43 Things website, where you can make your own list, and the top ten goals involved things like adopting healthier habits, traveling, getting a tattoo, and getting married. I searched for “make a difference,” and only about 7000 people listed that as a goal, followed by 5000 who want to volunteer, 3500 who want to “change the world, and a total of less than 2500 who want to “help people” or “help others.” The sum of all of these is about 2000 people short of making the top 10 list.

It seems that people are not too concerned with helping others as an end in itself, but they should be! If you really want to live a happy, fulfilling life, with no regrets at the end of your life and a great legacy, put “make a difference” on your bucket list.

*The term comes from the 2007 movie “The Bucket List.” See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bucket_List#Popular_culture .

Monday, December 20, 2010

An Introduction

My name is Amanda, and I have always been upset to a certain degree by what I see in my daily life. I see superficial goals, relationships, and discussions. I see violence, hatred, intolerance, and drug abuse. There is a huge gap where altruism and community engagement should be.

Instead of taking antidepressants or paying hundreds of dollars to pour my heart out to a professional, I have decided to take my enthusiasm and knack for empiricism to get some answers!

For a few years, I have toyed with the idea of starting a comprehensive organization to raise awareness on various issues and inspire action. I have favorited hundreds of related websites and typed up more than 100 pages of original ideas for an organization called Guide to Good (adorably abbreviated as G2G).

Now I think it is time to go public with my ideas and find out who, if anyone, is behind me, while doing some research to see how viable these ideas actually are. I will do this by observing the world around me, interviewing people and trying little experiments, and reading about these subjects. I will document everything on this blog and hopefully receive feedback and ideas in the comments.

I expect to start soon!