Can One Person Make a Difference?

Arvin Ardakani/ May 14, 2018/ Coffee Chat with Arvin

So what does it mean exactly to make a difference? And can only one person do it?

Making a difference is when someone uses his/her vision, values and beliefs to change the future, no matter how small. Looking back at history, the number of people who changed the direction of the world and the future of humanity is not small. So, the short answer would be YES! One person can make a difference.

Think about it. Steve Jobs believed that computers should be simple enough to be easily used by even computer-illiterate people. Jobs was the only one envisioning this at the time. Of course, in the beginning, no one could imagine selling computers to people other than programmers, but it was not long after that his vision and beliefs resonated with everyone around the world. Now it is very normal to see even kids with a laptop in their bag packs!

Similarly, the Wright brothers had the vision to fly. They insisted that the available tools were enough to make humans fly, but who would believe them? The idea of flying was “impossible“!

On December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright built their first successful airplane and started flying. This was supposed to be “possible” only in dreams.

Some people might incorrectly argue that those were special people in history and things like that can no longer happen in the 21st century. I would argue the opposite. The time that we are living in has made it even easier than ever before to make a difference and have an impact on people around us.

Technology (Internet specifically) has revolutionized how we communicate with each other, with an overwhelming speed of data transfer. According to Brandwatch, in 2016, the Internet had 3.17 billion users in total and Facebook had a daily average of 8 billion video views by 500 million users in 2016.

This means that every one of us has the capability of influencing hundreds or even thousands of people in our circle of connections on social media, using only our smartphones and with just a click of a button! After all, this is just when one person shares their values and vision on the Internet. If other people keep sharing the same content, the voice gets amplified and can ultimately reach millions of people around the world in a matter of days! Pete Frates was an example of this.

Pete was just another typical person diagnosed with ALS in 2014. In the Summer of 2014, he decided to start a fundraising campaign for this fatal disease. In the beginning, he asked some of his friends as well as some people who are diagnosed with the disease like him to pour cold water on their heads, share it on social media and donate to the campaign. Next thing they knew, this cause was being passed on from person to person and had reached millions of people around the world. They ended up raising $115 million for this campaign, and in 2016, scientists discovered a new gene that is tied to this disease!

Therefore, we can all make a considerable difference in the world and communities that we are part of. No matter how small, our actions have the potential of changing the direction of the future in the long run. Especially in the 21st century, every single person has the power of influencing thousands of people with just the touch of a button from their personal computers or smartphones.

Even large changes in the world are now possible easier than they have ever been because of how connected we all are to each other nowadays. The only things that we need, is having a clear vision and values that resonate with other people in our community, and the courage of standing up for what we believe to be right.

“Have the courage to stand up for what you believe to be right.”

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