Do you have to live an unusual or remarkable life to make an impact in this world?
Recently, I was told that “your writing is good but there’s no real hook: you haven’t survived raising sextuplets in a bed-sit.”
Ahem. My first reaction was I do not want to be raising sextuplets or live in a bed-sit and if you would only read someone’s writing if they have raised sextuplets then by all means, move along. There is nothing to see here.
But after thinking about it for a while, I realised something. Everyone of us in this world is on our own journey and possibly at different stages of life. Just because I haven’t survived a world war or have not had multiple birth doesn’t mean what I have to say is less interesting or useful. Yes sure my message may be simple, my life may be not unusual but I can still make an impact through what I do and say.
And then I thought of a conversation I had with a junior person during a career coaching session. She said and I quote, “I want to make an impact in the world and join an organisation with a purpose. But I am just a developer. What could I possibly offer?”
After putting 2 and 2 together, I understood where she was coming from. It is because our society praises those who has done unusual things, it seems like only if you have lived a remarkable life, should you think about giving back or opening your mouth, so to speak.
The reality though is that there is nothing wrong with living a simple and normal life and trying and doing your best in the areas you care about. There is nothing unworthy about giving back where you can and making a positive impact to someone’s life, however small it may be. Do you think a charity will deny a small monetary donation because it is not good enough? Likewise, if you pick up litter on a street and put it into a rubbish bin, someone will come running to you to stop because what you are doing is not earth shattering? Of course not.
So go ahead. You want to live in a kinder world? Be kind and show and teach kindness whenever you can. You want to see more confident and successful women in next generation? Go ahead and say something thoughtful and encouraging to girls who will one day become adults. You want to empower women in workplace? Go ahead and start with supporting a junior woman in your team. You want to end child poverty one day? Go ahead and sponsor a child in a third world country to get an education.
There are so many things we can do to make a difference. And yet because we live a society where you must be unusually interesting or you must already be an influencer with a lot of followers to make an impact, many ordinary people shy away from doing anything at all. And a lot of people don’t understand what a loss it is because those people who are really impacted do not have a voice.