Thursday, August 23, 2012

Making a Difference

I really love to read books. Over this summer I was able to just read and read and read. I'm the kind of person who reads with a pen in their hand and writes all over everything. I underline, make notes, insert thoughts, and circle page numbers of really good pages. I enjoy doing this because it helps me process my thoughts about the book and its a lot of fun to return to a book and remember everything I learned.

The other day I was sitting in front of my bookcase, looking at my books (which I do in an almost OCD kind of way) and selecting them at random, revisiting old thoughts. I picked up a book, 1491 by Charles C. Mann, and I flipped through it. It is a book about the Americas before Columbus came and I remember enjoying it very much. I turned to the cover page where I had summed up my thoughts into one sentence. When I was 17, I had written, "One man, can change the entire course of history." I had been impressed over and over how one man would change everything. Whether things changed for good or bad, it often rested on the decision of a single person, or one small group.

There are good people who can change the world. Who knows if Columbus, Cortes, or Pizarro's impacts are ultimately for good or bad, but there are other heroes of mine. William Wilberforce is someone I truly admire and respect, he truly changed the world. His biography has a special place on my shelf, and I even have his portrait on my desk next to William Tyndale, Sir Thomas Moore (oh the irony), and a person from the Latter-Day Saint canon of scripture named Moroni. One person can make a difference.

This is something I think about in my own life. I'm 22 and planning the direction I wish to take. One thing that seems paramount to me is that my life have meaning, that I make a difference in some way. I don't want my career path to be all about making the most money I can make. That would feel like a pair of golden handcuffs to me. I just want to help, to change something.

I get so happy when I hear about good people doing good things. Like the Lundberg's and the Bridge of Love foundation, humanitarian groups, my friend Jeff who just wants to save the world, Boy Scouts doing their Eagle Projects, different religions and organizations reaching out to people in need, and even individuals who find the fire to right a wrong.

One such individual is a new-found friend, Chris, who is doing something quite similar to my own longboarding endeavor. He is sacrificing a lot of time and energy to make a difference where he sees one must be made. Hearing about people like him makes me happy. To know that the world still has good people. Check out his website. Hopefully his and my blogs help to show that any normal person can make a difference. You can take anything from a career, or a life's work, or a quirky hobby of yours and make a difference.

                                  One man can change the entire course of history.
Chris at

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