Ideas and inspiration for efficient living.

The power of personal vision

Earlier this month, I posted about the danger of complacency and how to remedy it via legacy work.

I discovered Scott Neeson’s story while thumbing through Reader’s Digest in a waiting room last December. I was very moved by his story, so I am sharing it with you now.

Here is the “About” description from his foundation’s website:

It’s been seven years since Scott Neeson first set foot in Cambodia, and six since he moved to Phnom Penh. He originally came to Cambodia as part of a five-week backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, but found his life changed by the tableau of Steung Meanchey, and the desperate circumstances and unlikely courage of some of the country’s most impoverished children.

After a 26 year-career in the film business, including tenure as president of 20th Century Fox International, where he oversaw the release and marketing of several of the top films of all time – ‘Braveheart,’ ‘Titanic,’ ‘Star Wars’ and ‘X-men’ – Scott left the industry to establish and personally oversee Cambodian Children’s Fund as Executive Director.

What is Steung Meanchey? It’s a massive dump where children gather various recyclables to sell in exchange for a bowl of rice. Many of these children are orphans.

Work conditions are treacherous. Cambodian garbage disposal laws are largely uncontrolled, so it’s not rare to find toxic chemicals, body parts, used syringes and aborted fetuses in the piles of refuse. Garbage truck drivers are careless and an average of 24 children are run over and killed each year.

This is the injustice that Scott Neeson saw on his backpacking trip that forever changed his life and ignited the fire of his personal vision.

He sold all his belongings, moved to Cambodia and begun the Cambodian Children’s Fund. His charity work provides landfill children with food, clothing, housing, education and much more. He gives them hope for what would have been a hopeless future.

So what does he have to say about leaving the jet-set lifestyle, the high income, the prestige all behind?

“There is a contentment now and a fulfillment that I would never get anywhere else. I’m not sure if it’s happiness — I don’t know how you define happiness — but there’s a knowledge now that what I’m doing is right and what I was meant to do.”

Neeson returns a couple of weeks per year to Hollywood to fundraise among the showbiz crowd. After a week, he can’t wait to return to Cambodia. I think we can safely say that he’s found his higher purpose.

What ignites your personal vision?