By Kristen Manieri

How to Make a Difference in the World with Colin Beavan

I think a lot about how I can make a difference in the world, now more than ever. The trouble is, sometimes I just don’t know where to start. I look at the issues that are important to me—poverty, hunger, ending human trafficking and climate change, racial justice, animal welfare, education—and honestly, I get overwhelmed. What can I do? I’m just one person. What difference could I possibly make?

Colin Beavan wrote his book, How to Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps the World, to answer these sorts of questions and he counters with this: how about instead of wondering how we can save the world, why don’t we simply become a person who tries?

What’s ahead in this week’s episode of 60 Mindful Minutes is a conversation that’s less about the results we create or the impact we want to make and more about the type of person we want to be.

To Colin, having a meaningful, happy life and engaging in helping to address the problems of the world isn’t an either/or equation; they are conjoined. We create a meaningful, happy life because we learn how to address the problems of the world.

So, a little about Colin Beavan. He’s the author of two books: How to Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness that Helps the World, and No Impact Man (which is also a documentary). His writing, speaking, coaching, consulting and activism have encouraged hundreds of thousands of people, businesses, colleges and governments to discover ways of living and operating that are better for themselves, for their communities and for the world. It is Colin’s mission to wake people up, on an individual and collective level, to ways of life and doing business that are healthier and happier for individuals, for our society, and for our world.

Colin is a speaker, coach and a consultant. You can learn more about him and his work at colinbeavan.com.


I left my conversation with Colin with a newfound sense of mattering. And not like I can become an overnight superhero and I suddenly see clearly exactly the difference I can make. But there was something striking about Colin’s invitation to simply carry one question like a mantra: how can I help? “How can I help” can become a way we do life, without changing our careers, moving or starting a non-profit.

Thank you, Colin, for joining me on 60 Mindful Minutes this week. And thank you for joining me as well. I really appreciate the time you took to tune in. Really. Thank you.

See you next week. Stay well out there.

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