You Can Have a Bigger Impact than You Think
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
– Marianne Williamson
Last week I attend my very first live TEDx event in San Francisco. It’s been on my list for over a year and it massively blew away my expectations. TED is hands down one of my favorite organizations. The things they’ve taught me are priceless. I watch a Talk on my iPad almost daily on my way to the office. It’s a way to surround yourself with passionate people without even having to leave your house…
The theme of the night was Creating Your Own Government and the speakers blew my mind.
As I listened to the eight or so talented folks on stage, from every background, experience and walk of life you could imagine, one thing stuck more than anything:
The impact one person can have can be powerful beyond belief.
These people weren’t inherently famous, privileged or gifted. In fact many of their stories of living meal to meal and idea to idea were quite the opposite.
One of the men Rory Arrow, an ex British newspaper reporter, talked of his experience of having just spent every ounce and penny of his past few years creating a documentary about the work of Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Gene Sharp (more on him later). His dream of completing the documentary has come true and currently he doesn’t even have a home. He’s not exactly sure what’s next but he knows what he’s doing matters.
You can check out the film trailer here: How to Start a Revolution. It will make every hair on your body stick straight up.
Next up was Jamila Raquib, the Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution, the nonprofit created by Gene Sharp, the above Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, dedicated to the study and use of strategic nonviolent action in conflicts throughout the world.
Gene Sharp is over eighty years old and has dedicated the vast majority of his life to understanding the science and psychology behind nonviolent protest and the effect it can have on governments, especially dictatorships. He works in a small office with only a couple employees, one of which is Jamila. And since he’s begun his work, he’s published countless papers and books on the topic and one of them, From Dictatorship to Democracy, is in over 30 languages. People get arrested in certain countries just for having the book in their possession.
Not only are people around the world reading this book, but they are actually using his 198 ‘weapons’ for non-violent revolution to start and lead revolutions and to create change. It was the guidance behind the recent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and is being used all over the world as I write this.
He’s learned what works and he’s sharing it with the world. As a result the world is changing. There’s no getting around that.
You Can Have a Bigger Impact than You Think
The above are simply examples. Ones that recently struck me personally and in-person. The nature of the work these people are doing (and the many others from the event I didn’t mention) is not what I’m concerned with (although it is nothing short of magnificent). My point here is that these people, just one or two people at a time, are doing work that is educating the whole world and even overthrowing governments.
These people have created massive leverage with a single idea that they deeply believe needs to get out to the world.
They are not any different than any of us. Other than the fact that they have a burning belief. But that’s something we all have, if we take the time to identify it. That’s exactly why I created Live Off Your Passion.
Once we find that belief, anything is possible.
So often we underestimate what we’re capable of. We think that one person alone can’t make a big enough difference so why try. Then many of us don’t so much as lift a finger. If everyone thought that way, nothing meaningful would ever happen.
You are not the only one who believes what you believe.
As soon as you decide to take your dream or belief or idea seriously, you’ll start to notice there are others who believe the same. They were just waiting for someone to lead them. Once that person stands up, the support can be be massively powerful.
When people join together with similar beliefs, be it about health, government, education, you name it, magic starts to happen.
But it starts with the belief that you, your idea, can have an impact. That belief is what will get you to start. It’s what will allow you to attract your first follower. It’s what will give you the courage to pour your soul into something that matters.
I don’t care what revolution you decide to lead. All that matters is you decide to lead one. If it’s with the group of elementary school kids down the street teaching them an alternative way to learn algebra, so be it. If it’s with helping countries around the world experience freedom, that’s fine too. Or perhaps it’s changing the world be getting people to do work they LOVE, like here at Live Your Legend. Awesome.
It doesn’t matter what you do. All that matters is that you do something.
I recently recorded a 3-minute video for the Live Off Your Passion community. I think it’s pretty fitting right about now…
There is no standing still
Most people see situations as having three different options:
1. You could do something to make it better
2. You could do something to make it worse
3. You could do nothing at all
As it turns out there is no such thing as doing nothing.
In life there is no standing still. You are either heading up or heading down. Think about it. If you have a distant relationship with your spouse, what will happen if you do the exact same thing for five more years? It will be much worse. If fact you probably won’t have a spouse anymore.
If your business is only mildly profitable and you change nothing for the next five or ten years, you’ll be out of business. If you’re slightly overweight and unhealthy today, that might lead to a heart attack years down the road.
Take a few seconds to let that soak it. Read the last few sentences again.
If you’re not growing, you’re dying!
There has to be progress. Any amount of progress can make all the difference. But no progress can kill you – your dreams, your potential, you confidence, all of it.
We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. It’s time to stop selling yourself short. Because in doing so, you’re selling the world short too.
However big or small, make your impact.
Image courtesy of carlo cravero