10 Ways to Leave it Better Than You Found it

Updated on:

“Leave it better than you found it."

a running man before a showcase

That is a motivational phrase but people are often left wondering what it really means. Fortunately, it doesn’t mean that you need to start a global non-profit to end hunger or solve the climate change crisis. It means that in your daily actions, you leave those people and places that you interact with better than you found them.

Read on to learn 10 ways that you can leave it better than you found it.

Spread Positivity

Being positive and seeing things from a positive viewpoint can be difficult but it will make your life better as well as the lives of people you interact with. A positive mindset is something that takes work and you can take action to change your mindset today. When you start to think positively for yourself, you can do more and you are happier. When you are happier, you will make others around happier as well.

Start by revamping the negative tape in your head. Turn phrases around. When you hear “I messed up,” rephrase it to “How can I make it better?” Taking a positive approach leads to greater motivation and you will feel better and accomplish more.

Smile at Strangers

It may seem to be a small gesture but smiling at strangers will leave them better than you found them. There are many benefits to smiling for you and the recipient. Not only does smiling release neuropeptides that help you manage stress and handle your emotions but it also lowers blood pressure and your heart rate.

The recipient of your smile will also feel better. Your smile could be the thing that gives that person hope or it could serve as a reminder that there is some kindness in the world today. If you make a conscious effort to smile at people as you pass them by, you will make a difference in their lives.

If You See Litter, Pick it up

Unfortunately, people drop their trash in the street, in parking lots, and right in front of stores. You can make the world a little better by picking up the random piece of litter when you see it. This act alone will make you feel good because you are doing something that makes a big difference.

In addition, other people might see you and join in. Sometimes it just takes one person to get a movement started. If you are feeling more inspired, you can organize a park or beach cleanup. Get a group of people together to pick up all the litter. This kind of action will improve your community.

Commit a Random Act of Kindness

If you think about it, you will be amazed at how many opportunities there are to commit a random act of kindness. You can hold the door for someone or let someone ahead of you in line at the grocery store. You can stop to let an elderly person cross the street. There are many simple things that you can do to show kindness.

Being kind to people is rewarding because it makes you feel good. It helps you to build your own self-confidence and make you a little stronger. You will know that you are a good person, which is great ammunition when you need to muster up inner strength.

Make a Conscious Effort to Avoid Gossip

Many people love to gossip. The problem is that it is a very negative action that has lasting effects on the gossiper and the person who is the subject. It’s human nature to be curious and want to hear, and it’s also human nature to tell the next person. However, it makes the world a little uglier and it can create anxiety for you.

When you choose not to gossip, you will find that you feel more confident. You will focus your mind on more productive things. When people gossip and tell you about other people, you have to know that they are gossiping about you as well. Ask yourself “How would I feel if this person were talking about me?” Then you can do more listening and less talking.

Say Please and Thank You

When you check out at the grocery store or a waitress takes your order at a restaurant, make an effort to always say please and thank you. This is such a little thing but you can change the course of the day for these people.

People who work in customer service jobs have to hear what they did wrong all day long. When you do something as simple as say “please” to show respect and “thank you” to show your appreciation for their service, you might be the bright star that gives them the motivation to get up and return to work the next day.


There are many different opportunities for volunteering and you can definitely find something that you enjoy. Animal shelters need people to spend some time with their rescues and churches need help feeding homeless people. If you have time to take on a larger commitment, find an organization that is important to you and give them a call to find out how you can help.

The power of charity is significant and you can be a part of it no matter who you are. There are so many different opportunities and your help could be the thing that changes an animal or person’s life. In addition, you will have the benefit of feeling really good about yourself. It feels great to help others and this will boost your own confidence.

Try to Live a Little “Greener”

There is no doubt about climate change any longer. It’s real and it’s happening. The best thing that every single person on the planet can do is reduce his or her carbon footprint. You can do something small, such as conserving your energy by turning off lights, or you might be in a position to buy an electric car or use solar energy in your home. There are many ways to live a little greener.

No matter what you can do, do it. Bring your own bag to the grocery store to reduce the amount of plastic you use. Carpool or take mass transit if it is feasible. Buy products from eco-friendly companies. Every little step you take adds up and this is a way to leave the world better than you found it.

Teach Your Children Social Responsibility

The schools do a good job of introducing issues to kids. They learn about global warming, recycling, and more. However, you can take it a step further. Your kids can do little things to have a positive impact at their schools and on the world.

When they are young, take them with you to volunteer. Many places, such as beach clean ups, animal shelters, and church gatherings, welcome children. As they grow older, let them choose what matters to them. Teach them how to be kind to the kid at school who has no friends. Make sure that they understand the importance of social responsibility and kindness to people.

Take Time to Celebrate Your Successes

When you go through your days making an effort to make the world (or your community or family) better, you should take time to celebrate your successes. If you work with an animal shelter and all of the animals are adopted, this is cause for joy. When you clean up a beach and the community can enjoy it litter-free, this is a good thing.

Take time with your loved ones to be thankful for the opportunity to help and celebrate the good you have done. It feels good to make a difference whether it is in one person or on a larger scale.

Final Words

When you hear the phrase “Leave it better than you found it”, you may wonder exactly what that means. Boy Scouts learn to do this when they go camping. To them, it means that they should do more than clean up after themselves. They should leave the campsite better than it was when they arrived.

In everyday life, you have many opportunities to leave it better than you found it. You can start with your own home and simply clean it up to a standard that is a little higher each time. You can treat your partner or your children with a little more respect than you did before. You can cut back on plastics and bring your own bags to the grocery store. Remember to smile at strangers.

You can also do more on a larger scale. If your life allows it, you can volunteer. There are so many different organizations that you will be able to find one that matters to you. When you make a conscious effort to be more positive every day, you will have a happier life and you will feel more motivated and productive. You should always do what you can to leave the world a little better than you found it.

Photo of author

Jesse Long

Hi, my name is Jesse, father of a Yorkie and the founder of motivation2life.com. I really enjoy writing, especially the inspired and motivational articles, and believe that they will definitely help you become better.

Related Posts

1 thought on “10 Ways to Leave it Better Than You Found it”

  1. Hello Jesse,

    Thank you for writing this piece on Leave it Better Than You Found It! I really enjoyed reading this. I was looking for something to share with someone who recently left my rental unit in a mess. I was very disappointed in them because they are family and I expected better. I recited this to idea to them, the idea that in life one should seek to leave things better than they find them. My family member didn’t quite get it which led me to search the quote on the Internet.
    That is how I came across this piece written by you. It’s great advice and I am going to share it with a few people. I hope that you don’t mind. Thank you again!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow Us: