In the movie Pay It Forward a fictional social studies teacher gives an assignment to his junior high class to think of an idea to change the world for the better. Then put it in action.
One student passionately contrives a plan of paying forward good deeds for 3 other people. Choose the people do the good deeds. The story unfolds his actions which not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but also starts a wave of human kindness that grows into a national movement to change the world.
A feel good movie that stirs in everyone who watches it the good intentions to put the concept into practice. It’s exciting to think that a small act on our part can have big and far reaching impact. But for many that intention just fizzles – it gets parked along with the other “someday” to-dos. That’s how it used to be for me. But I’ve learned something.
When you watch a movie or read a book it summons a response from you. Some you either love, hate or are unaffected by. You’re engaged by the characters and themes or disenchanted with who they are and the lives they live. What if your life was unveiled as a “story”?
Did you know the most impactful and memorable are based on true-life stories? As Joseph Campbell mentions in The Hero With a Thousand Faces it’s human nature to relate to story.
Up until this year my life story was concealed, shared only with those who lived it alongside me. Most of us share safe “bullet points” – basically demographic information that keeps us in a safe zone because we fail to understand the impact of our own story or know how to live a better story. If you think that you are watching a badly lived life unfold before you watch this 2-minute video called A Better Story.
Learning to live and tell a better story are skills we can learn.
Doing the right thing, for the right reason and at the right time is the sweet spot of success. Sometimes being stretched by too many tasks in life others are making the choices for me and I bet it’s the same for you. We often confuse being busy with being productive with little Margin. Accepting every opportunity, squeeze in one more commitment, one more phone call, one more email. We operate on the principle of scarcity rather than abundance and are tempted to take everything on all at once! Change your thinking and it will change your life.
In ancient times, Moses father in law Jethro was the first life coach and business consultant. Watching Moses exhausting himself judging all the Israelites, he suggested the appointment of others to handle the simpler cases and freeing Moses to judge the complex ones.
Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.
Last week I gave you a glimpse of an opportunity to be a hero! Is it a hero’s task? When 2.6 billion people lack adequate drinking water and safe sanitation and 3.4 million die annually from unsafe water and water related diseases?
Yes – hero’s take on an impossible task and give it everything they have!
As a businessman, when spending money, my #1 question is : What’s my Return On Investment, my ROI? Whether it’s making a purchase, an investment or donating money.
I visited Kenya, three years ago, and helped provide clean drinking water solution for two villages. And, yes, undoubtedly, the clean water provided saved lives. But wasit a good return on investment? The cost of providing clean water to two villages was over $100,000. To some, this may seem a crass and calculating – why am I telling you $ amounts? Isn’t every life worth saving regardless of cost?
Humbly, I want you to learn from my experiences and be a better hero! There is a much better solution to the clean drinking water problem with a much higher return on investment.
Stop looking around, over your shoulder or to social media to find a hero. Look in the mirror instead. You were created for a purpose and your life has meaning. Do you consider doing something unimaginably courageous? You can make a world of difference.
Whether you’re a Christian or not, doing this one thing will make you a hero and make a difference to the lives of millions of people! If you’re a Christian, even better, because we’re called by God to make disciples in all nations.
Three years ago, in a small rural Kenyan village, I saw a glorious thing. A dug well that provided water for thousands of villagers. But horror hit me when I took two steps and was introduced to the graves of the patriarchs of the village. Grandma and Grandpa were buried within feet of this precious water source were decomposing and turning this precious well into a contaminated water source that was killing villagers. The image continues to haunt me.
It’s time to get personal and share with you some of my journey to redirecting my own story. Wondering about how to make a difference? Want to redirect your journey?
In Finding Your Purpose, by Regi Campbell, an eBook on his blog Radical Mentoring there is a simple analogy; “if your life is a dollar bill, what are you spending it on?’ The average person meets over 10,000 people during their lifetime. That’s 10,000 opportunities! It’s often small things that are done that accumulate to a big difference. Don’t overlook the little things!
Young or old, we all wonder if our life is going to make a difference? We all want to find purpose in life and make our lives count for something. But how do we find out where to invest our time and our money? It’s not enough for us to do our best. We need to figure out God’s plan for our lives and THEN do our best. But where do you turn to for insight?
God through the apostle Paul provides illumination
We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Every day, 1 billion people wake up to another day without safe drinking water. Children are sick and weak. There’s a constant struggle to find the most basic of human needs. Poverty grips 80% of the worlds’ population and won’t let go. The lack of safe drinking water is a crisis worldwide.
Here’s how this applies you. Watch this 3 minute video.
This young girl wants to buy 1,000,000 chickens – doesn’t that video make you scream – “what can I do to apply this teaching to my life to make a difference?” Through this and other events in my life, I realized being generous meant drilling wells as the most cost effective way to help the most people. But not everyone’s called to do this. However, everyone can make a difference by asking “how many people will I try to help”?
This is thin ice I’m stepping on; after all as Canadians we pride ourselves in helping around the world. But I really want you to wrestle with this for yourself. Don’t think about an image that we project and protect. Think about reality!
Sometimes you need to look back to move forward. Looking back in history we uncover how people connected on the basis of their shared values and ideas. When they connected they started communities, companies, revolutions – they made a difference. What about BIG differences today?
Do you want to begin making a difference ?. Someone who has already made a huge difference is Seth Godin. Seth is an entrepreneur and the most popular business blogger in the world. He makes some profound observations about marketing ideas in this digital age. He often tells people “Go make a difference”. I wonder how to make big changes first in myself, then in people around me. All leadership starts with self, then leading others.
There are probably some things you believe in. We all have dreams, passions and desires. But how do you lead others to believe in your hobby, interest, business, or cause? William James said “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”