Note: This blog originally published in October 2011.
It was 9:45 in the morning, I was sitting in class half in a daze like the majority of students around me, and I was jolted from my trance when my instructor requested of us very blatantly, “Stand up if you’re going to change the world.”
Her request was posed so matter-of-factly, like she was asking us to stand up if our favorite color was red, or our favorite food spaghetti.
The question got my attention immediately, and I looked up to see a few people here and there contemplating standing up, some getting in the position to stand up, and a few were already even standing.
Change the world? Gosh, I thought to myself. Could I change the world? That seems like a pretty colossal thing for one person to do—and difficult. What would I do? How would I do it?
Unique gifts and talents
Out of my class of 100, there were eight students who stood up. One was a guy who composed music and thought he could change the world through music. One was a clothing designer who thought she could change the world through her design. Two felt so strongly about their faith they thought they were chosen upon by their gods to change the world.
There was another girl who is from Yemen. She explained once she’s finished with her education in the states, she is going to return to Yemen with her newfound knowledge and leadership to revolutionize her country. There was even a dancer who felt so strongly about combining physical therapy with dance that it would change the world.
And then there was the guy who had no idea. He stood up, a bit uncertainly, and explained he had no idea how he was going to change the world, but he’s gonna do it. “I’m passionate,” he said.
Well, I can relate to this guy, I thought. I’m not really fantastic at anything—I’m not a designer, a musician, a dancer, or would even consider myself extremely faithful. I believe in god, but do I feel like I could change the world with faith? No. But this last guy, I thought, yeah, I can relate.
The extraordinary power of passion
This made me realize amongst the great minds, the insanely intelligent, the astoundingly artistic, the terrifically talented, there are people who are just that–passionate. And I agree that passion is enough to change the world.
Maybe you’re passionate about your career, or maybe you’re a passionate friend, mother, girlfriend, or wife. Maybe you’re passionate about your family. That’s enough to change a few people’s worlds, and that’s pretty extraordinary.
Should I have stood up? Maybe I should’ve. But another thing to learn from this is maybe I could spend more time exploring my passions, as we are all given our own unique gifts that truly do have the capacity to change the world.
What would you say if someone asked you, “Are you going to change the world?” Would you have stood up?