Who Am I To Save The World?

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As a naive young college graduate in the late 1990s, I can remember actually telling people who interviewed me as I embarked upon a career in the nonprofit sector that I wanted to help save the world, or something like that. Nearly 20 years later, I look back on my career in human services and wonder if I have actually made any difference at all, let alone save the world. Yes, I have touched thousands of lives, listened and offered understanding, created opportunities, made visible and tangible positive changes, and stuck my neck out to get a result that would otherwise be impossible given the intricacies and bureaucracies of nonprofit and government systems. But during that time, is the world really any better off? And if it is, can I really claim to have had any influence at all?

Who am I to save the world? And who am I to determine that the world is in need of saving in the first place?

I wonder what the world would be like today if I had chosen a career in banking, or real estate, or hospitality, or marine biology instead. Would the world be any different? Would the lives of those thousands of people be the same, or even better off that they are as a result of my intervention?

We can never truly know what the impact of our actions will be. We can only act with a hopeful heart filled with love. If we all did that, all of the time, imagine how beautiful the world might be.

Letters to a Young Activist: Anger

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We live in a world full of injustice and despair. I suspect that, at least in part, your anger has led you to conceptualize and co-create a different kind of world, one in which all people are valued and have opportunities to flourish.

Anger is indeed a useful, but sometimes deceptive, emotion. It can create awareness, provoke creative thought, and lead to transformation — but it can also destroy all that might be good in this world. While anger is a useful provocateur, it is usually short-sighted when employed as a tactic. Deep, lasting change can only emerge when hearts and minds are enlightened and united in a spirit of growth and universal harmony.

I ask you not to extinguish or ignore your anger, but to nurture it. Feed it with the bountiful blossoms of hope and love. Allow it to transform into something graceful, something that will inspire the creation of a better world. Do not let your anger overwhelm your good intentions, and share only the most beautiful parts of yourself with others so that they may see what is possible.