Remember when we were kids?
Back when we were little people, we had big dreams. Dreams of changing the world. Dreams of leaving a mark on history.
We dreamed of being astronauts. Firemen. Explorers. Fighter pilots. We dreamed of becoming President. Of curing cancer. Of ending wars.
We dreamed big.
Then, life happened.
As we grew older, and as we faced obstacles, our dreams were tempered by the fire of reality, shrunk in the dryer of the daily grind. We set our sights on careers with smaller impacts. We listened to the calm voice of reason instead of to the rebel yell of risk.
We got so wrapped up in making a living that we forgot to make a life.
Now, we sit in our cubicles, in our committees, at our conferences, with our clients, or on our couches, wondering what happened to our dreams of changing the world.
I have good news for you.
You can still change the world.
Impossible, you tenuously mutter to yourself. You have a mortgage. Bills. Kids. A family. Friends. A job. A dog that you love, at most times, more than everything else in this paragraph.
Well, you're probably not going to cure world hunger or eradicate terrorism anytime soon. You're most likely not going to devote yourself to the destitute hordes of Calcutta. You're too old to be a rock star, and you're too (insert any number of negative adjectives here) to be a supermodel.
You left your childhood dreams in a box, along with all your action figures and stuffed animals, somewhere in your parents' basement.
But, you can still change the world. Not metaphorically. Tangibly.
Here's how: Show some love to someone. Today. Right now. Love someone lovable. Then, love someone unlovable. Then, do it over again.
Heard of the ripple effect? The butterfly effect? You have. Believe in their efficacy? You probably don't.
Love someone. Try it today. Will you see the effects overnight? Probably not. Will you be voted Time's Person Of The Year? Doubtful. Will your actions have a very real, lasting effect on your sphere of influence, and eventually many other spheres as well? Unequivocally, yes.
Be the kind of person you want in your own life. The kind of person who changes the people around you for the better. They, in turn, will do the same.
Kevin Bacon has only six degrees of separation from everyone else on the planet? I'm pretty sure that love and kindness spread considerably faster.
So, go ahead and dream big. Dream of being kind to someone who life has passed by. Dream of responding to a snarky comment from your significant other with love and grace. Dream of giving when no one is looking. Dream of loving your family even when you don't feel like it. Dream of being the kind of person who exudes such joy, such love, such concern, such grace, that everyone around you can't get enough of you.
Dream of loving and expecting nothing in return.
Dream it, then do it. It really is that simple.
You rarely change someone else's life from on stage. From a space shuttle. From the Pentagon. From a mansion in Beverly Hills. You change someone's life, someone's world, when they are standing right in front of you, imperfectly perfect, beautifully bittersweet. Just like you.
Riches, fame, and success are fleeting. Faith, hope and love remain, and the greatest of these is love.
What are you waiting for? Go change the world.