Call to Action #2: Contribute to a better world

This one is simple:

Contribute to the world in meaningful ways, to make sure it keeps heading towards an Eternal Blissful Life for everyone!

The better and brighter the world we live in, the more likely it is that humanity will eventually solve all its problems. Obviously, the world right now is far from being perfect. But if everyone does their bit, we can make it a much better place. The sooner this happens, the sooner we can all enjoy our Eternal Blissful Life.

There are at least four distinct spheres in which improving the world becomes not just inherently worthwhile, but also increases the likelihood of an Eternal Blissful Life.

First, we should take care of the environment. Living for centuries may not be particularly pleasant, after all, in a world plagued by pollution, cluttered with garbage, and lacking a proper ozone layer. Streams that can’t be swum in, seas that destroy our coastlines, and increasingly extreme weather events will remain problems unless we actively do something about them. We don’t want to recreate the scenario of the film Interstellar, which sees the world become uninhabitable due to crop blights, dust storms and a host of other environmental problems.

Great Barrier Reef
The world is beautiful. We want it to stay this way!

Second, we should strive to do good in our own small circle of friends and acquaintances. If you’re consistently nice to those around you, they’ll be more likely to pay it forward to someone else. Be a role model: shy away from cheating and lying, always be fair, try to help others as much as possible, and be thoughtful and respectful of others’ needs. If people see you behaving this way, many will follow your example. As Rudyard Kipling wrote in his classic poem If:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

. . .

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Hatred, jealousy, and deceit are potholes on the path to an Eternal Blissful Life. The more you resist these things, the smoother the road will be – and the first step is to rid them from your own mind. Every person you have a positive influence on is more likely to become the next philanthropist, humanitarian, or benevolent scientist.

Third, you should contribute to the world at large. You might do this by fighting poverty, looking for ways to cure various diseases, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or by taking initiative in some other way. The benefits of this approach aren’t limited to the world outside yourself. This video explains why altruism can improve your own life, too:

The basic argument goes like this: The richer, healthier and better off everyone is – even in developing countries you’ve never heard of – the more speedily we’ll come up with technological breakthroughs that ultimately benefit everyone, including you. This is due to a simultaneous increase in demand and supply. In a more prosperous world, more people feel the need – and possess the means – for such innovations. And at the same time, more people are skilled enough and comfortable enough to pursue work on those innovations. As increasing numbers of people are able to afford a theoretical cure for cancer, for example, they’ll start to put more money into cancer research.

Interestingly, even helping the poorest children on Earth will improve your chances of an Eternal Blissful Life. By reducing child mortality and giving women freedom over their own reproductive cycles, population growth is actually mitigated rather than accelerated. This video explains why such a counterintuitive correlation exists. A smaller and steadier population, engaged in less competition for scarce resources, will make it easier for rejuvenation biotechnology to become widely accessible. 1(click me)

Finally, you can also support anti-aging research. This arguably has a big potential to reduce suffering and make the world a better place. 2 Obviously, it would also increase your chances of living forever. You can support this research by advocating for it, donating, or even becoming an anti-aging researcher yourself. Check out these links to get started: SENS and

If you support the variety of anti-aging research that aims to increase our healthy lifespan 3, specifically, then you’ll be helping scientists reduce the ever-expanding period at the end of our lives that we spend sick, frail, and stuck in a hospital bed. Increasing our healthy lifespan would also yield massive economic benefits, since people will remain productive for longer and will require less dedicated care when they’re old. 4

scene from a retirement home
Although some elderly people do enjoy their time in retirement homes, they’re most often there because they have no choice.

Rejuvenation biotechnology aimed at increasing healthy lifespans would give older adults the ability to choose. The suffering that old people endure these days – that they are expected to endure – could one day become a thing of the past. Aging may one day become the next polio – something that used to happen to people before an effective cure was found. That’s why supporting anti-aging research has a big potential to reduce suffering and make the world a better place.

Of course, you probably don’t need to be persuaded to make the world a better place. Regardless of how you feel about an Eternal Blissful Life, I imagine this is something you want to do anyway. But a belief in the possibility of immortality merely provides an additional motivation – an additional reason to fight the good fight. And for the more intransigent among us, it may be precisely what they need to nudge them into a more ethical and altruistic  way of life. 5

Putting it into practice

There are many ways to be a good person. On a personal level, you can try to make the people around you happy, be a good friend, and avoid cheating and lying. Don’t be egoistic or self-centered. It’s variation of the Golden Rule: be the kind of person you want everyone around you to be! 6

In terms of the environment, you’ll probably get the biggest impact by becoming a vegetarian. Additionally, you could take care not to litter, not to waste any food, and to recycle as much as possible. Use a bike instead of a car, and so on – you get the idea!

The single most important decision you’ll make regarding your impact on the world is probably your career choice. The NGO 80,000 hours  estimates that you’ll spend approximately 80,000 hours of your life 7 working. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had an ethical job, which allows you to do what you love, what you’re good at and what pays well, while at the same time contributing to the world in a meaningful way. The mission of 80,000 hours is to help you find out exactly what that job is. They also produce fantastic evidence-based articles on what makes for a dream job, and how to be successful in any job.

Remember the Japanese concept of Ikigai  – “the reason to live”? Why not contribute to the world via your professional career and find your ikigai there?


A good way to maximize your positive impact on the world via your career is to be ambitious, climb the career ladder and attain as much power, influence and money as possible (as long as you don’t harm anyone along the way), since this puts you in a far better position to do good. Making the world a better place is far easier when you are the CEO of google, the president of the United States, the next Oprah Winfrey, or if you have a billion dollar in your bank accounts. Often, the best way to change a bad system is to infiltrate it and beat it with its own rules. You can try to get leaders to do good – or you simply become a leader and do good yourself!

Besides your career, the Effective Altruism movement is in my view the best way to contribute to the world. You can learn about some of their key ideas in this talk:

Effective Altruism uses reason and evidence to find ways to “do good better”. To take an example from the movement’s website: Suppose you have a $40,000 budget to fight blindness, which you can spend as you wish. One possibility would be using the money to provide a guide dog to a blind person in the United States, helping them overcome their disability. Due to the intensive training and upkeep involved, a single guide dog costs $40,000. Another option would be to pay for surgeries to reverse the effects of trachoma 8 in Africa. This costs $20-50 per patient cured.

There are of course many other options, but for simplicity’s sake let’s consider those two. The difference between the two choices is stark: you could use your entire budget to help one person overcome the challenges of blindness, or you could use it to cure more than 500 people. If you believe that all people have equal moral value, then the second course of action is infinitely better than the first. Based on considerations like this, Effective Altruism tries to determine how you can do the most good.

Effective Altruism focuses not only on global poverty, but also on animal welfare and on improving the well-being of future generations. Importantly, it also aims to reduce existential risks. 9. Its advocates work closely with institutions like the Future of Humanity Institute , the Future of Life Institute, and the Machine Intelligence Reseach Institute. All three of these institutions are well worth checking out. Supporting them in any way – ideally by working for them – will ultimately benefit everyone.

Besides doing good by picking the right career or volunteering in your free time, another easy and effective way to improve the world is by donating money to a worthy cause.

relation betwenn income and happiness


As you can see, once you’ve reached a certain income level, having more money only makes a slight difference in how happy you are. On the other hand, donating money is proven to make you happier. So if you have a decent income that fulfils all your basic needs, donating 10% of it probably won’t decrease your happiness at all. 10 Also, as explained in this TED talk, money does buy happiness – if you spend it on others.

If you decide to donate money, I strongly advise you to read the recommendations on GiveWell. Like the Effective Altruism movement, Give Well uses reason and evidence to determine where your donated dollar will go the furthest.

Besides simply donating money to a worthy cause, you could also undertake voluntary work or become a more active member of your community. You could donate items like food, medicine, or clothing to people in need, or offer them pro bono services. You could make more ethical choices in your career, refuse to do the wrong thing, and be a role model for your colleagues. Even something as simple as baking cookies for people living on the street can make a difference. There are a million ways to make the world a better place – so you can invent a way that suits you!

The great thing about helping others is that it’s also extremely good for you. Here is a nice summary of all the health benefits that can stem from being altruistic. Those who undertake social work are less likely to suffer from ill health later in life, and generally have lower mortality rates. But perhaps even more important is the fact that contributing to society in meaningful ways can lead to greater eudaimonic well-being. In other words, it gives you a greater sense of purpose, meaning, and self-realization. (source)

As you can see, helping others is fantastic for both your physical and psychological well-being. It’s good for the planet – and at the risk of stating the obvious, it’s certainly good for the people you help! Furthermore, it prolongs your life and improves the odds that you’ll experience an Eternal Blissful Life. A true win-win situation!

If you need additional motivation to start making a difference, I highly recommend the following video. It may be a little corny, but it’s certainly persuasive! (Disclaimer: I don’t know Mindvalley or Vishen Lakhiani, so I don’t have an opinion on either of them. I just think this particular video hits the nail on the head.)