For the most part we all hope that what we do each day makes a difference. Whether it is to make a difference to those that know us directly, a stranger we were able to help or someone we don’t even know. We want to feel like our lives mean something more than the humdrum of daily comings and goings.
I often ask guests on The Bottom Line what they would like people to say about them when they are sitting on the porch at 95. A good percentage tell me they want people to remember that they were genuine and that their life mattered.
Ian Kiernan has certainly contributed to something greater than himself. His ‘Clean Up’ program has been adopted by more 140 countries around the world, changing the way entire generations approach the conservation of their environment.
Inspired by his passion and vision for the future I thought it would be fitting to share the 3 reasons I think it is important to contribute to something greater than yourself:
1. It is soul nourishing. There is something that happens when you contribute the world in a selfless way. It doesn’t have to be something massive or even particularly charitable, but it has to feel like you pushed the boundaries of your comfort zone and contributed to something in a way that is not your usual practice. Don’t forget, this small act could be the one thing that ignites a spark in someone else to do something really big.
2. Greatness will follow. Great people, the ones we remember, are those who made great personal sacrifices for what they believed to be a great cause. If you look back at some of the most famous examples of people that fit into this category it is hard to deny the power that comes from this kind of contribution to the world. The likes of Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa are just a few.
3. It is infinitely more exciting. Finding something that you are passionate about and that you are working towards is more exciting and purposeful than sleep walking through life. It creates a sense of power and focus to keep moving forward, compelled by the energy of your goals. Norman Vincent Peale famously said: The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.
Contributing to something greater than yourself will keep you humble and connect you to others in unpredictable ways. It will make you passionate, inspiring and interesting. Today is as good a day as any to find the little ways you can make a difference – opportunities will always follow.
We want to know what you think: do enough Australian’s care about the environment?
Join the conversation with me on Twitter @ceovanessa
Vanessa’s mission is to positively impact people by increasing their knowledge base and decision making ability around leadership, finance and business principles. She is the co-creator of The Bottom Line and founder of the parent company, evolution media group.