Recently I came across the book and work of Adam Braun. Several years ago Adam decided to partake in a Semester At Sea. Not long after his journey commenced tragedy stuck the ship and he thought he was going to die, in those moments he asked himself, what he was meant to be here for, what was his purpose and he realised even though he didn’t know what it was yet, it existed. After the disaster was averted he spent the next months travelling around the globe. A lot of the other students took souvenirs home, Adam decided to ask one child in each country if they could have anything in the world what would it be? He received answers like “to dance,” “a book,” and “magic.” However, Adam’s life changed when he met a boy in India who had nothing, he was living in poverty and owned nothing. The only thing he wanted was…”a pencil.” So Adam handed over a pencil and the look of pure joy in that little boys eyes ignited Adam’s purpose, his passion.
Since that fateful trip Adam has founded Pencils of Promise a “for-purpose” organisation that builds schools in the developing world. To date Pencils of Promise has built over 250 schools in Africa, Asia and South America. These schools give children the opportunity to not only have an education, (which is something we probably take for granted everyday), but also to fulfil their purpose. To step out of the poverty cycle. What an empowering and inspiring way to change the world. It is through Pencils of Promise that the developing world is slowly stepping into the limelight. Teachers are dedicated to their students, students are loving going to school and the children are realising that their dreams are within closer reach than they may realise.
How Do I Choose?
I believe there are many worthy charities out there that need support, and when you see them all it can become a bit overwhelming about which one/s to choose. My answer is simple choose a few that resonate with you, that you feel strongly about. You may think that “I’m only one person, how can I change the world?” Well, this is how: one person turns into two people, which then turns into a small group and as Margaret Mead famously stated
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
What I’m saying is that even though we may be one person now, our actions influence and inspire others to take similar actions. If each one of us commits to a cause that we are passionate about, can you imagine the effect that would have on the world? I can and it is beautiful and empowering.
How You Can Contribute Now
I’ve said this many times before, and I’m going to say it again courtesy of Ghandi “be the change you wish to see in the world.” If you want a world of gender equality, freedom, equal opportunity, education, an end to poverty and disease then stop just sitting around and get up and do something. The world isn’t going to change while you just think about and contemplate how it should be or what others should do. Remember actions are what matter, you don’t have to go start your own charity or find a solution to poverty overnight but you can contribute to organisations that are out there now, if money is an issue you can spread awareness through social media for example or even volunteering in your local area for a cause you are passionate about.
Here are some ways you can change the world right now:
- Change yourself - start fulfilling your own potential; you have so many opportunities that these women and girls do die for every single day; live life to the fullest because once you have more you become more and that effects everyone around you. As Ghandi famously said "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Change begins with you.
- Speak Up- read the book, watch the film and then spread the word. Whether that be to one of your family members or friends, your colleagues or social media.
- Get Engaged - donating time, money or even awareness goes a long way. Fifty cents can de-worm a child in a third world country which allows them to experience better health and go to school; forty dollars is all it costs for an operation for a woman to have her sight returned. Spreading the word and creating awareness is like a Mexican wave. You have the power.
Each and every one of us has a responsibility not only to humanity, but also to ourselves and our children to make this world realise the full potential we all have. Don’t leave it to others because you believe you can’t or others can do it better; each and everyone of us has a unique gift that you brought into this world and the world needs to see that spark, your inner light shine.
I recently read Adam’s book The Promise of a Pencil, which outlines his incredible journey of how he formed this amazing organisation and how he grew as a person to help thousands of lives across the globe. I deeply resonated with his message and energy, which is why I have decided to donate 10% of my coaching fees to Pencils of Promise on a permanent basis.
BE THE CHANGE
I discovered this Hawaiian parable that I think summarises what I have been talking about:
“A man goes out on the beach and sees that it is covered with starfish that have washed up on the tide. A little boy is walking along, picking them up and throwing them back into the water.
“What are you doing son?” the man asks. “You see how many starfish there are? You’ll never make a difference.”
The boy paused thoughtfully, and picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean.
“It sure made a difference to that one.” He said.”
We may not be able to change the entire world by ourselves, but no one said you needed to do it alone. If we each make a difference to at least one person’s life, together we can change families, communities, countries, the world.
I would love to hear about how you are changing the world, how you plan on changing the world or even random acts of kindness you have sprinkled over the world. Leave a comment below and let me know.
Love & Gratitude,