I think given the chance everyone would like to make a difference, in the world, in their world of in someone’s world. I hope so anyway but I also realize that I might be a little naive in my thinking. I hope not.
Let’s assume for the purposes of this post that I’m correct and that we all want to make a difference.
So why do so relatively few actually make a difference? I believe it’s because they don’t know that they have in fact been given that chance.
You see, the title of this post is a bit misleading, you can make a difference, the only question is, will you. You have a life, your decisions make a difference in that life everyday. There are people in your life, you naturally influence the people around you, therefore, you have a chance to make a difference for them.
You might be the only person to smile at them on a given day and that little smile could be a big difference for them. Your efforts at maintaining a positive attitude might rub off on them. That could possibly make a difference for them and it will definitely make a difference for you.
You don’t need to invent the next iPhone or find the cure for cancer in order to make a difference. You just have to decide that you will make a difference.
Once you decide that you will make a difference, you begin to discover for yourself all the ways that you already do. When you realize that you already do make a difference, you will likely be more intentional at making even more and bigger differences.
If you’ve convinced yourself that you just cannot make a difference for others, then make a difference for yourself. Overcome a fear, learn a new skill, take a risk. Once you know that it can be done, once you know that you can do it, you’ll know that you can help someone else do it too.
Now, here is the most compelling reason to do any of this, to make that difference for you or those around you: because YOU CAN!
The question remains. Will You?
14 thoughts on “Why You Can’t Make a Difference”
The essence of your post was one of the biggest learnings for me this past year – that making a difference doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. As you point out, once we form the intention to make a difference and seek those opportunities, they start to crop up all over. A bonus: When we stop trying to “save the world” in one fell swoop, it takes the pressure off.
Great comment. I can’t help but think of the song, “It’s a small world…” Well, it’s not so small when you’re trying to make a difference for the whole world at once. All the little differences we make collectively everyday are bigger than any difference one person could ever make. All we need to do is decide that we WILL make a difference!
Great post, thought provoking as ever. I believe that at the heart of this lies the belief Vs fact debate.
In many cases, there is a huge difference between what we believe and what the facts are. You may believe that you will or won’t make a difference and whichever you choose, for you, in your reality, you will be 100% correct!
BUT the reality (the fact) is you won’t ever know unless you try. And as you also point out, you may never know even if you do try (like the smile you mention that completely changes someone’s day).
I think the question is why do you need to know anyway? If you believe you’re making a difference, the fact is that you will feel better for it and that’s what matters most.
You’re right and sometimes we won’t know that we made a difference until long after we’ve made it. If we do what’s right, in the right way, at the right time, a difference will be made, even if we never see it.
I love your point that we are already making a difference. Sometimes we just don’t realize it. Once we realize the impact we make in each other’s lives, we are able to do more often and more positively. And that is the key. Thanks for the positive impact you’ve made in my life today!
Thanks Deb, as a teacher you make a positive difference EVERY day and the differences you make last a lifetime.
Great article, thank you. IMO, the most compelling reason is not because we can but because we must! If not us than who?
Indeed, imagine the world we could live in if no one ever waited for someone else to make a difference.
It’s out there. Just like those who wait to make a difference, we who see the potential cannot simply imagine but implement
Steve, love this paragraph: “So why do so relatively few actually make a difference? I believe it’s because they don’t know that they have in fact been given that chance.”
When our eyes are open to the fact that we have been given the chance to make a differences, we can see all the opportunities we have in front of us.
Thanks Kent, you’re right, once we open our eyes to the possibilities they start to appear all over the place.