“I want to change the world.”
No you don’t. You want recognition for changing the world.
See, when people spout this drivel, what they’re really doing is demonstrating how they’ve managed to clothe their own need for appreciation and applause in altruistic terms.
If they really wanted to change the world, they’d stop going on about it. They’d be ploughing all their time and energy into what really matters instead of telling us about their ego-driven vision.
If they really wanted to change the world, they could. But they don’t. They’re after a specific type of change. The type of change that comes from having an idea that makes the world quiver and changes the landscape on a societal level.
But there’s more than one way to change the world.
Doctors and nurses do it every day when they give people care and treatment. Social workers do it when they help put families back together. Teachers do it everyday when they guide the next generation. That woman I met the other day who told me she re-homed sixty dogs in Cyprus did it. She reminded me that kindness and compassion is found in the most unlikely of places.
Changing the world has this aura, as if it’s glamorous. It’s not. Changing the world is hard, dirty work. It means connecting with other people, listening to them, showing them you care, solving problems, taking hits, taking risks.
“Changing the World” is something that can’t be predicted. It can’t be plotted. Yes, be brave. Test the boundaries of your craft and your field and the technology that you use. Yes, strive to get better and do more every day.
But remember, the small, everyday actions that have a momentous impact, that do change the world every time they are performed, can be enacted by anyone.
So what if you stopped looking for the idea that is going to disrupt the landscape and focused more on the acts that, although smaller and far less glamorous, have a far greater impact?
Give someone your attention, use your energy and time in service of others, be kind, be generous, listen. These are the little things of life. You won’t get a feature in Forbes or build mega-wealth doing them, but you’ll go one better than the majority of people who are seeking the recognition and wealth that comes from changing the world.
You’ll actually change it for the better.