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What Can I Do… for the WORLD?

As I get into my forties, sometimes I find reality confronting me.

I’m not on top of the world – like I thought I might be by 30. I haven’t made it by 40 either. I had this idea since high school, that by thirty I’d be wildly successful and on top of the world – the world at my feet so to speak. Maybe you had that idea too? Seems fairly common!

While it’s true I’ve had a hell of an amazing life so far and had plenty of success at things I’ve done – plenty of failure too, I’m not where I thought I’d be back then.

Don’t misunderstand… I’m quite happy where I am right now. Quite comfortable with how little I have and want. I literally don’t want anything else but what I have now… but still comes this question out of the recesses of my twisting blob of cerebellum.

What can I do for the world?

While Bill Gates created Windows and Microsoft that wasn’t near his greatest feat. I count giving away billions of dollars to humanitarian causes as much more important. Nothing is more disgusting than those with uber-cash keeping for themselves or using it in nefarious ways to make more uber-cash. That’s gotta be wrong. Doesn’t it?

People are decoding the human genome. I read recently about a guy that was no kind of student in high school and college… served in the Vietnam war… and then went back to college in his 30’s or 40’s. He’s now one of the top genetic researchers on the planet.

What happened?

A: He ran with the ball.

Am I going to run with the ball and contribute to a few million people’s lives? BILLIONS of lives? I have that deep drive to do so… but I haven’t really given myself the challenge. It’s been there… hovering around back there – occasionally popping into the conscious. But, I never really LOOKED at the question before.

I want to look at it now for myself. I want to ask myself all the questions that need asked about this. I’m intrigued by it. My curiosity is running willy-nilly (as mom used to say).

There are some ultra-smart people reading this blog. People that have godlike IQ’s, straight A degrees at Harvard, Yale, MIT, and 100 other awesome schools.

There are those of you with drive and ambition that put you in the top 1% on the planet of people with such traits.

Some of you have ten hours a day to do whatever you choose. I fall in this category. I’ve chosen to write, produce videos, books, e-books and help people online with whatever they need done.

Are we all living up to our potential?

Why not ask yourself the BIG question – What can I do for the whole world?

I challenge all of you reading this blog to face this bigger than life question.

Yesterday when I began thinking about this topic in earnest I asked myself another question that seemed natural…

“What was the best idea you ever had?”

What the #*$@!!?

The lights flickered when I asked myself that question. I’m an idea machine. I think you could pit me against a think-tank of 5 people and give us a topic to brainstorm ideas about over one hour and I would come up with more. Not at all joking. For some reason I’m able to look at a question from many angles and come up with ideas about it – possible solutions, outcomes, challenges.

I wrote here before that I’m a big picture kind of person. That is true… and the main reason is that I can think of a huge variety of material related to a question, a project, or a hypothetical. I haven’t always been like this – early on in my teens and early twenties I couldn’t put together a line of thought to save my life. Attention Deficit Disorder ruled my life at that time. From mid-twenties on I’ve been able to churn out ideas by the hundreds whenever I choose.

So – I began going through ideas I could remember. Mostly that included the ones that left an impression on me or that I wrote down in some of my journal entries. The rest have been lost as the neural network couldn’t possibly store them all.

I opened Excel and started on a list of past ideas… Of course just this exercise prompted new ideas so I had to make another column for new ideas…

I got to 87 ideas I’ve remembered from the past and thought – it must be here already. If it was really the best idea I’d have remembered it and put it in the first 87 I thought of. Wouldn’t I?

Not necessarily.

I kept thinking… I got to 130 and stopped again. I looked back at the last 43 I’d written after I almost stopped and realized there were some damn good ideas in that group.

When should I stop?

I decided I’d make it a few day exercise and call it a game on Sunday (tomorrow).

I’ll go back to it after I write this post because I’ve already remembered a couple things I don’t think I’ve added to the list yet.

As I look over the list there are a lot of ideas that wouldn’t make a bit of difference to the whole world. There are ideas for video games. I’ve drawn maps and planned in detail a really fun video game for smart people that I thought at one time would be a blast to do, but never did. I have viral e-card ideas. I have book ideas. Movie ideas. Movie scripts outlined. I’ve had negative ideas about creating sites that today I’d never go forward with. Back then it was anything goes. I’ve mellowed quite a bit. I’ve embraced a real karma type outlook with life recently. Not that I believe in the idea of getting something back, but just DOING the right thing seems to be a great idea that I can’t make myself go against if I wanted to. It’s like a new morality – maybe it started about 7 years ago. In the present it’s really taken hold and it’s a great feeling.

Maybe it was some of the impetus behind the question…

What can I do for the world?

There must be something. I’m fairly intelligent. I have time. If I don’t find the idea among those I’ve already had then surely I can think of one. I must be able to think of something. It should be as big an idea as possible.

You should take yourself through this process too.

Why be average?
Why be great just in your own little world?

I’ve always been happy with what I’ve achieved… not really satisfied, but you know… I’ve only been looking at being the best in my little niche of the world.

There’s a HUGE world out there that is struggling with many problems that perhaps I could contribute some solution or work toward solving. Maybe I have something inside I can share and help a huge group of people. Maybe mankind. I’d never know unless I asked myself the question and got moving toward making it a reality.

Some people KNOW they need to ask themselves that question. You might know someone like that. Some people just fall into it, challenging themselves to be great in their small world which leads to greatness for the entire world.

I think every person reading this blog has it within them to do something that affects the entire world in a positive way.

What is it?

Best of Life!

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5 thoughts on “What Can I Do… for the WORLD?

  • at 11:01 pm

    Great post and a good idea to boot. The question really becomes, How can I make a real impact?

    I have been moving forward with this idea myself. There is a real need, a big problem and a lack of solid solutions, and I’m going to try to create the solution. (My field is addiction and recovery).

    It won’t change the entire planet, but it will affect potentially millions of lives. That’s good enough for me.

    It will start with my website, but eventually it will be a book. Then it will become a movement. It’s about helping others with addiction. Not a huge audience, but not a small one either.

    And definitely in high demand.

    So it’s decided. I’m going to change the world. Thanks for the inspiration, there, Vern! I’ll be sure to let you know when I’ve “arrived!”

  • at 7:51 pm

    Excellent post, Vern! I know you’re looking for ideas bigger than this (and that’s fine), but I think a simple answer to “What can I do for the world?” that works for everyone is right in your post.

    “…just DOING the right thing seems to be a great idea that I can’t make myself go against if I wanted to. It’s like a new morality…”

    I’m going to say that the number 1, most important thing that everyone can do for the world is to live by that principle. If everyone…every single person on the planet…just tried to always do the right thing JUST BECAUSE….well, it would be a much better world.

    There are certainly other “things” that each of us could and should do, but I think that’s the springboard for all of them right there.

    Thanks for being so thought-provoking!

  • at 7:16 am

    @ Patrick – interested in seeing more… my MA degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling. I’ve worked with those with addictions some.

    @ Jon – Thanks Jon. That one principle has become pervasive in my life… it seems secure and like it makes sense. Of course we all know what the right thing is in our minds – and it’s different for each of us – but overall I think quite similar. I extend it even to being by myself… seeing a napkin on the floor, something out of place – now I fix it immediately and move forward. In the past I’d let it pile up a little bit. lol. Now I do things as I see they need done – not put anything off. It’s a good feeling.

    Thanks for the comments guys.

  • at 1:23 am

    Great post and it was definitely one that got me thinking. For me personally, changing the world isn’t really on my priorities list. I’m perfectly satisfied and content knowing that if I can benefit a few people (especially the ones I care about) I can rest easy at night.

    That’s not to say I wouldn’t like to reach a larger audience (that is why I write a blog too, after all), but it’s not the end of the world (no pun intended) if it doesn’t happen.

    In my opinion, I think the better question is “why do you want to change the world” rather than how. Once that is answered, you can work on executing your plan. It seems like too many people jump on a bandwagon of changing the world without ever thinking what exactly they are doing, or for what purpose. After all, in the grand scheme of things, solving global warming could be as trivial as your idea for a video game, if viewed from a relative universal perspective – sorry if that sounds a little cynical! 🙂

    Either way, I just just found your blog and love your posts – they always keep me thinking! Keep up the great work!

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