Ideas and inspiration for efficient living.

You can’t change the world

on December 15, 2011

Have you ever said to yourself, “I want to change the world”?

Did you do it? Did you change the world? How did you do it?

Or did you come up with fifteen reasons and excuses not to? Did you let other people tell you it wasn’t possible AND you listened to them?

From a very early age, I knew I wanted to change the world. I read biographies about important people and told myself I would be like them. One day, a book would have to be written about me because I did something BIG.

I knew I wanted to do something to help children. Depending on the day, I wanted to be a pediatrician, sometimes in my own country, more times in a foreign poor country, almost always in Asia. As I grew older, I thought I would work in an orphanage, again somewhere in Asia. One thing I knew for sure, since I was eleven years old, was that I wanted to adopt a Chinese girl (or South East Asia). That desire came after a saw a documentary on the abandoned girls in China. At that moment, I knew that when my time would come to be a mom, I would give a forever family to one of those orphan girls.

I went to a college that was very big on the “go and change the world” motto. So I kept on believing I would, once I graduated.

Graduation came, I got married, got a job as a secretary while my husband was in school and I waited for my chance to change the world.

It never came. I sat in a lonely basement office 40 hours a week, for 3 years, hoping for a plane ticket to take me to the slums of India or the streets of South Korea.

I finally realized that I wouldn’t be changing the world – well, at least, not going anywhere in the world! – and that I had to settle for what I had.

In the meantime, I became a mom and thought that I’d put in all my time and energy into my child, because when you care for a child, you essentially change the world, right? I totally believe that’s true, but eventually, I wanted more, but didn’t feel there was anything more to get.

Enter a book called “The Art of Non-Conformity” by Chris Guillebeau. It was lent to my husband by a friend. I read any book that comes into my house, and the title seemed like it was written just for me, since I tend to conform to to few mainstream ideas. Here is the tagline from the book: “You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. You can do good things for yourself and make the world a better place at the same time. Here’s how to do it.”

After I read this book, I felt like I was given a new life. I felt like Guillebeau had “given me permission” to dream again about changing the world. He described “changing the world” as “leaving a legacy”. That is what I’ve always wanted to do: to impact someone so profoundly that the course of that person’s life, and therefore the world, is never the same.

I will share in more detail how I expect to change the world specifically in a later entry, so stay tuned.

If you currently believe that you can’t change the world, if you’ve let the voices of normalcy tell you to just be a good person and do your thing, then I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to believe the lies. You can go ahead and dream big.

So I ask again:

Have you ever said to yourself, “I want to change the world”?

Will you do it?


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