Originally Posted by Marth
How can you possibly make a difference in the world when 6 billion people just like you want to accomplish the exact same thing of growing and making a notable difference in the world?
You can approach this many different ways. I'm sure you feel really good when you positively impact the people close to you, so you might question the necessity of impacting the whole world.
Moreover, I would question our ideas on what we commonly think of as "positive impact." If you won the lottery, is that objectively a good thing? Google lottery winners and you'll see that many curse the fact that they won. It could be that a $30+ million winner lost his daughter to expensive drugs (true story), or that a man simply got hit by a truck on his way to pick up his winnings (also true).
We can all agree that Steve's blog is awesome, and that has a net positive effect...right? Personally, it's been inspiring, but at the same time I could be out doing any number of things rather than on here, some of much may have led me to happiness or enlightenment.
Indeed, Steve's blog could be the catalyst for any number of "good" or "bad" effects: Maybe Mr. Smith is so caught up in reading it that he misses his train and comes home to find Mrs. Smith fully engaged in coitus with the mailman -- the enraged Mr. Smith deals the mailman a fatal blow to the temple with his briefcase. Later that day, a mom on welfare doesn't receive her monthly check due to the mailman's deceased state, and she drowns her four kids in the resulting nervous breakdown. And the cascade continues from there... Thanks Steve!
Many people think that people like Ghandi and Mother Teresa are overrated. There is no doubt that our estimation of their contribution is vastly out-of-line with their inheritant worth to this world, if worth is something that can be measured. What % more beneficial is Ghandi than the bum who I pass on my daily subway trip? I think both Ghandi and the bum probably have equal worth in all ways, including benefit to the world. Personally, I feel that just being here and being human is ENOUGH. I'm not saying I don't aspire for more, but I doubt we will truly be judged by the petty differences in our actions. And when we do aspire to do good, the streams of possibilities eminating from our actions -- whether it be throwing out a piece of litter or fighting for the poor -- are too numerous to predict a certain beneficial effect. In other words, causality is just to confounding a phenomenon for us to go on about striving towards a positive impact.
In the end, when people struggle with the question of, "How can I contribute," I'm just trying to answer with a different perspective. I'd love to hear what other people have to say.