For many people, the greatest sources of stress and strife come from mundane annoyances: traffic slowed to a standstill on the way into work; the barista made the latte too hot to drink right away; the dog puked on the expensive, new rug; there’s a project due, and you’re not sure how to get it done before the deadline; your favorite TV show was cancelled. The list goes on, and to be sure, those instances can be truly frustrating. But, what those annoyances all mean is that: you’ve got a reliable car that can take you anywhere; you’re able to afford luxuries like $5 coffees; you have a home and a loving pet and nice things; you’re gainfully employed, and you have the chance to experience the world from other people’s perspectives. So, how do you, as a privileged person, make your mark on the world?
You Can Make Your Mark Through Humanitarian Work
Whether you’re helping to dig wells in Uganda or supplying life-saving medicine to the most impoverished parts of Cambodia, when you engage in humanitarian work, you get the unique opportunity to make a positive mark on the world.
Not only do you get the chance to make the people’s lives in the communities you serve better, but you also have the distinct privilege of being able to examine your own life through those new lenses. Suddenly, when viewed through the scope of someone who finds immense joy in potable water, that steaming hot latte seems like more of a blessing than ever. When you see the way so many people have to walk for miles each day just to provide food and water for their starving families, you relish the time you get to spend in your car, traffic or not.
In the end, that humanitarian work will likely have a far greater impact on you than it does on the community (not to diminish the impact of those efforts; they are real and tangible), but it’s the intangible changes in who you are as a person that leave the most lasting marks.
You Can Change the World By Being an Advocate
If you can’t make it out to the heart of any developing nations, the best course of action you can take to make your mark on the world is to be an advocate.
Advocates take many forms, but the common thread holding them all together is their drive to help others and to be a voice for the voiceless. Some advocates draft petitions for change. Others incite global change through policy making. Many advocates find specialized platforms for spreading their message. In any case, these advocates change the world by taking the microphone and holding it to the most pressing and important global issues.
You Can Use Your Privilege to Transform New Mindsets
One of the most richly impactful ways you can assert influence on a global scale is by beginning at a local one. Start making your mark on the world by transforming the mindsets of those around you. If you come from a place of privilege, you’re most likely well-acquainted with those who have privilege themselves. Changing the world doesn’t come from people pulling themselves up out of nothing on their own; it comes from helping hands.
When you impart the wisdom you’ve gained from being an advocate and doing humanitarian work to those who haven’t had those experiences, you do the world an enormous favor. You bring everyone closer together through new, more informed mindsets. And that is truly worth leaving a mark on the world.