One person can impact so many lives. Imagine if your life were to change the course of thousands or millions of people and if the work you are doing now were to becoming a living legacy remembered long after you had left this world.
Is that something you would like to strive toward? Or would you like to leave even a tiny legacy behind, impact some small, medium or large number of people during your life?
I thought about this last week as I read the obituaries (here, too) written about Reb Meshullam Zalman Hiyyeh Schachter-Shalomi, the founder of the Jewish Renewal movement. I also considered it all this week as I read the social media posts of his many students and friends—even me, who never met him. I’m thinking about it this evening as many of my friends gather in Santa Cruz at a Jewish Renewal memorial in his honor.
Who Starts a Movement?
Reb Zalman started a movement. The lessons he taught, the books he wrote, the prayers he created, the people he touched, these are just small parts of the larger way he impacted the world.
Most of us hope to have some sort of lingering influence on our significant others, children, friends, or coworkers. If we are writers or speakers, we hope to touch greater numbers of people with our ideas and our words.
But who starts a movement? Just anyone? Me? You? We can…
What does it takes to be a Reb Zalman or a Martin Luther King, Jr. or a Ghandi, for example? They didn’t set out to become leaders of movements. I’m sure as young children they didn’t say, “I want to start some radical change when I grow up.” But something inside made them rise to become leaders, inspire others to follow their lead, and create change.
They felt passion. They had purpose. They felt inspired.
And when they had ideas, they took action upon them.
They also showed great compassion and insight. They had wisdom. They had vision.
You and I might have these things as well. The only difference might be how we use them or act upon them. We might not make the best use of them. But we can…
How Will You Impact the World?
Not everyone wants to become the leader of a movement. For instance, you may have no desire to have your obituary say you made the most significant contribution to some area of life. That doesn’t mean we don’t all have something to give, some way to make a difference.
And maybe we all have an obligation to do so… Maybe that’s why we are on this earth−to have impact, to create positive change.
I suppose that’s why I love what I do so much. Most writers want to have impact in the world or on some segment of the population. I know I do as well. I enjoy helping other writers get their books written so they can change lives, and I enjoy seeing mine published and in the hands of readers, where I hope they make a difference.
If you ask a writer, “How do you want to impact the world,” they usually have an answer—especially if he or she writes nonfiction.
But you don’t have to be a writer to want to make a difference. So let me ask you:
How do you want to impact the world? And how do you plan to do so?