Everyone wants to have an impact on the world around them, right? We want to leave home and make our mark in the world. But at some point, we have a wakeup call that it isn't just as easy as wishing it. Maybe you were a local celebrity in your hometown, but when you leave home, go to the university or get a job, no one cares. It is at that point, or soon thereafter that most people give up and surrender themselves to obscurity. Or maybe they still desire to have an impact they just don't know how to do it. Well here is something to help you measure your global impact & a few tips to increase your influence.
What languages do you speak? If you speak English that is a good start because 20% of the world speaks English. But that is a relatively small percentage. It will be hard to have a global impact today speaking only English, most influential people today are at least bilingual. Consider learning one of these other languages if you want to expand your impact and influence.
Mandarin: 955 million speakers
Spanish: 405 million speakers
Arabic: 295 million speakers
French: 76 million speakers
What conversations do you engage in? You can not have an impact on the real issues in the world if you are uninformed or unengaged. Learn about the key topics affecting the world today. Topics like Sex trafficking, the Global economy, the Refugee Crisis or Renewable energy. Let me warn you of a trap, do not let the news or Facebook posts dictate which topics you should engage in or what you should believe about the said topic. Be aware that everyone has an agenda and politics rarely help solve the world's problems. It is okay to have an opinion on everything but focus your energies on one or two issues that you can really have an impact in.
What kind of friends do you have? Do all of your friends look, think and believe like you? If so you need to branch out, meet some new people, hear their perspectives. Learn to see the people behind the beliefs and you will become more measured in your responses due to the relationships you have built. Who knows you may learn something that has a long-lasting impact on you.
Are you an influential voice on a global topic? Speak out, be passionate, educate yourself. Start small by sharing with your circle of influence then move into a larger arena by educating others on the facts and finding people who will join you as you try to make a lasting impact. But be careful with your voice, everyone hates a troll, don't try to embarrass or ridicule someone else's perspective. You can disagree without being disagreeable.
Do you read? Move beyond the newest bestsellers and go deep into some of the profound thought of those who went before you. Those who impacted the world before you were born. What can you learn about them? their lives? their discipline? their passions? And don't just read things that you agree with. Challenge yourself read things that oppose your current perspective and learn to understand multiple perspectives with an open mind.
Do you have a passport? How can you expect to have a global impact from your living room?! You have to get out there experience something, volunteer to help wherever you are needed. Fill that passport with stamps, then apply for a replacement. You will know that you are making a difference when you have replaced your passport because you have run out of pages rather than your passport expiring.
What are your motives? The most disappointing trend of the last 10 years is not the selfie or duck lips, but the "Helpie." Helpies are photos you take of yourself with the poor and impoverished to show how involved you are in helping people who are struggling. To put it bluntly, it is disingenuous and self-serving, not to mention how degrading it is to the people you are helping. So, be sure your motives are pure and you are not just in it for the fame and glory. Ask yourself, if no one knew I was doing this, how would it affect my attitude? Would I even still be doing it?
Fads or foundations? Finally, make sure the efforts you are making have a real impact. Don't get sucked into the latest social justice fads. Avoid learning about needs through Facebook and the popular media. Don't let people use you to accomplish their ends, but determine for yourself what is a worthwhile cause. What is so foundational that it will have a ripple effect in other sectors? Which of these causes is a fad that will go away in 5-10 years?
Climate change, in my opinion, is a fad (mostly because they keep changing their narrative), but common sense conservation has been a mainstay of people trying to make a difference for a long time. It isn't as glamorous or trendy, but it can have a larger impact in the long run. Fads come and go but there are some topics and some perspectives have been changing history for almost as long as History has existed. Feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, caring for vulnerable people, breaking the chains of slavery and addiction, all of these are mainstays of the modern day revolutionary.
Interestingly enough, they were also central to the teachings of Jesus Christ and were at the core of who His church was supposed to be. We Christians should be at the forefront, we should be leading the way, making an impact on the world around us. It is as simple as following the teachings of Christ and dying to your own selfish desires. Now, get out there and change the world!