Extreme Esteem: Help us change the world

“One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.”

– Malala Yousafzia, Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize Laureate

“You said something the other day, and I wanted to talk about it.”

“Was it witty, intelligent and thought-provoking?” I asked, jokingly.

“It was what you said about changing the world,” he replied.

I had been having coffee with a buddy when the topic arose. The week prior, he and I had both been at a writers’ meeting where I read a piece I had written about being a world changer. In it, I’d made the bold statement that we are all capable of changing the world. This sparked quite the discussion. Some agreed while others called me delusional. My buddy’s thought was why bother? Any contribution he (or most of us) could make would be too small to notice.

Perhaps, like my friend, you don’t think you have enough “sway” to influence change in the world. I once believed that change was the domain of people like scientists, inventors, political leaders and Nobel Prize Laureates – certainly not within the realm of people like me.

Since then, I’ve changed my opinion somewhat. I think we can all make a difference and bring about change if we choose to do so. I’m not suggesting that you find a cure for the currently incurable, end homelessness or bring about peace between warring factions in the Middle East. What I am saying is that you try to make the world just a little bit better every day by your words and actions. I appreciate the sentiment behind a comment made by Mother Teresa, “If you can’t feed a hundred people then feed just one.” After all, it’s not the size of your contribution but the fact that you made an effort to contribute that counts.

None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something. Think your lone voice can make no real difference? Consider the typical turnout for an election – municipal through federal. Millions of people didn’t bother to vote because their one ballot would make little difference. Your words, actions and opinions make a difference. You make a difference!

It was the great Buddha who wrote, “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.” I think two of the greatest contributions we can make to changing the world is the sharing of our love and passion. For me, I have a love of writing and a passion for helping others discover their true value.

In our modern world, it’s easy to indulge in self-gratification with no regard for those who experience little joy and happiness. I believe that to receive, you must give. Joy is never diminished by sharing it. The world is filled with enough sadness, anger and hate. Decide here and now to share your love and passion with the world and you will make a difference.

As for my friend, he changed his mind and decided to become active in the local political arena – standing up for the homeless and underprivileged. He is making a difference in his own small, yet profound way and people are beginning to notice. You can make a difference. Start today! Do what you can and share your knowledge, insights and yourself with the world. Perhaps you’ll choose, like me, to help others feel better about themselves and learn to love and embrace their many gifts. After all, I think people with a healthy sense of self make better choices for their families, communities and the world. Where will you start?

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