What does a great life look like?
- Ask a hundred people what a great life looks like and you’ll probably get a hundred different answers – but certain answers will make virtually everyone’s list.
- Most people would agree, for example, that a great life includes something worth living for, maybe even worth dying for. A portion of a great life would be devoted to something bigger, greater, grander than yourself. Something that inspires you, energizes you, pulls you forward. Something that responds to your unique talent or touch and, ultimately, makes a difference in the world around you.
- A great life would naturally bring more meaning, purpose, love, laughter, wonder and adventure to your days. And, at the end of your journey you would look back on a life of significance, rather than regret – knowing in your heart that you left the world better than you found it. Knowing that you made a difference in the lives of others. Knowing that you got something wonderful out of it, and you gave something wonderful back.
- A great life, of course, is not something we experience, it’s something we create. That’s what this book is all about.
How many people does it take to make a difference? ONE
- One song can spark a moment
- One flower can wake the dream
- One tree can start a forest
- One bird can herald spring
- One smile begins a friendship
- One handclasp lifts a soul
- One star can guide a ship at sea
- One word can frame the goal
- One vote can change a nation
- One sunbeam lights a room
- One candle wipes out darkness
- One laugh will conquer gloom
- One step must start each journey
- One word must start a prayer
- One hope will raise our spirits
- One touch can show you care
- One voice can speak with wisdom
- One heart can know what’s true
- One life can make a difference
- That difference starts with you.
The world needs more you in it.
- More than ever before, our world needs more goodness, more kindness, more caring, more action, more “you” in it.
- John F. Kennedy said that one person can make a difference, and every person must try. What if each of us really tried? What if each of us spontaneously decided that, one by one, we really can be the better world we wish for?
- This is our time, yours and mine.
- You have important discoveries to make. Now is the time to make them.
- You have important talents to develop. Now is the time to develop them.
- You have important gifts to give to the world. Now is the time to give them.
- You are a marvel
- If we have never been amazed by the very fact that we exist, we are squandering the greatest fact of all. –Will Durant
- You are not here by mistake.
- Around the world and down through the ages there has never been another you, and there will never be another you. The miracle of your existence is now in your hands. You are here for a purpose. You have something that only you can give to the world. Take time to consider what that is.
- It is paradoxical but profoundly true that the most certain way for people to bring hope, help, meaning and joy to their own lives is by reaching out and bringing hope, help, meaning and joy to the lives of others. If you’ve already experienced this beautiful phenomenon for yourself, you are in good company.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights leader:
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
- Albert Einstein, physicist: “Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose we know not, though sometimes we sense it. But we know from daily life that we exist for other people first of all, for whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends.”
- Danny Thomas, founder, St. Jude’s Hospital: “All of us are born for a reason, but all of us don’t discover why. Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet: “Unselfish acts are the real miracles out of which all the reported miracles grow.”
- Robert Ingersoll, scholar: “We rise by lifting others.”
- Margaret Mead, anthropologist: “I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.”
- Albert Schweitzer, humanitarian: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but his I know: the only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”
- Ask yourself:
- Who am I?
- Why am I here?
- What am I doing for others?
You are a king.You are royalty.
- If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep…you are richer than 75% of the world’s population.
- If you have a little money in the bank or spare change in a dish someplace… you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.
- If you can drink from your kitchen faucet whenever you want…you are more fortunate by far than 1.5 billion people who have no access to clean water at all.
- If you can attend a church or a political rally without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death…you have the kind of freedom denied to more than three billion people in the world.
- If you can read this message, you are more blessed than two billion people who cannot read at all.
- If your everyday problems are weighing you down, there are millions of people on Earth who would gladly trade places with you right now – problems and all – and feel they have been royally blessed.
- Remember: “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.”
You’re already making a difference
- Julia Butterfly Hill, the American environmentalist, wrote, “The question is not ‘Can you make a difference?’ You already do make a difference. It’s just a matter of what kind of difference you want to make, during your life on this planet.”
- Your life can be a path of coincidence, happenstance, and luck, or it can be a purposefully charted course to touch the lives of others and make the differences that only you can make in the world.
Believe the start to a better world is our belief that it is possible.
- Believe in your dreams.
- Believe in today.
- Believe that you are loved.
- Believe that you make a difference.
- Believe we can build a better world.
- Believe when others might not.
- Believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
- Believe that you might be that light for someone else.
- Believe that the best is yet to be.
- Believe in each other.
- Believe in yourself.
- I believe in you.
Will tough times pull us together… or pull us apart?
- Problems shared grow smaller, courage is contagious, each of us can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors, and that a crisis is an opportunity to pull together instead of pulling apart:
- To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. –Josephine Billings
Which path of service is yours?
- There is a cause or an issue out there with your name on it, something you care about, someplace where you can serve or make a difference in a way that is unique to you. Whatever it is, find it – and follow it.
- Everybody has a strength to share. If we can tap into that – if people can find ways to contribute whatever their particular unique talent or gift is, then that really can change the world.
– Bill Shore, founder, Share Our Strength
- Help publicly. Help privately. Help in your actions by recycling and conserving and protecting, but help also in your attitude. Help make sense where sense has gone missing. Help bring reason and respect to discourse and debate. Help science to solve and faith to soothe. Help law bring justice, until justice is commonplace. Help and you will abolish apathy – the void that is so quickly filled by ignorance and evil. ~Tom Hanks
Look out over the next 10, 20, 30 years of your life.
- What are the most important things you are going to devote your time and energy to –your highest callings?
- How will you personally help address the world’s deepest inequities?
Who is the most important person in the organization? Everyone.
- In the best organizations, there is no such thing as them and us; there is only “we” – all of us working together. In the big picture everyone has a unique role to fill…everyone has a piece to the puzzle…everyone, including and perhaps especially you, makes a difference.
- Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. Stay hungry. Stay foolish. ~Steve Jobs
- There’s a silent killer that stalks people. It’s called “rustout” and it’s far more deadly and scary than burnout. Sure, burnout can wear down your body, but rustout can wipe out your soul and your spirit.
- “Rustout is the slow death that follows when we stop making the choices that keep life alive. It’s the feeling of numbness that comes from always taking the safe way, never accepting new challenges, continually surrendering to the day-to-day routine. Rustout means we are no longer growing, but at best, are simply maintaining. It implies that we have traded the sensation of life for the security of a paycheck….Rustout is the opposite of burnout. Burnout is overdoing. Rustout is underbeing.”
Richard Leider and Steve Buchhoz, The Rustout Syndrome
- There are only so many tomorrows
- You are, by accident of fate, alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. ~Carl Sagan
Love the green earth
- When you’re confronted with a problem, don’t get down—get excited, get involved. A problem is an opportunity to do something generous or positive for the world. ~Heidi Wills
- Never tell a young person that something cannot be done. God may have waited centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing.
The Arithmetic of making a difference
- The law of accumulation: The sum total of a lot of little things isn’t little. ~Dan Zadra
- Service to others has its own arithmetic. Combine two or more good-hearted people in the pursuit of a common cause, and suddenly one-plus-one is more than two. It’s called synergy. We can all do a little something, but together we can do something truly amazing.
- If we all use the arithmetic of service, there isn’t a problem in this world that can’t be solved.
- If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time. –Marian Wright Edelman
- How will you give something beautiful to the world?
- …the tragedy in life does not lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream it is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. ~Benjamin E. Mays
- Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead
- Why are you unhappy because 99.9 percent of everything you do is for yourself – and there isn’t one. ~Zen saying
- Rabbi Harold Kushner famously said, “The happiest people I know are people who don’t even think about being happy. They just think about being good neighbors, good people. And then happiness sort of sneaks in the back window while they are busy doing good.”
- A Cherokee elder was teaching his children about life. He said to them, “A terrible fight is going on inside me. It is a fight between two wolves. One is the wolf of joy, love, hope, kindness and compassion. The other is the wolf of fear, anger, cynicism, indifference and greed. The same fight is going on inside of you and every other person too.” The children thought about it for a moment, and then one child asked, “Which wolf will win?” The elder replied, “Whichever one you feed.”
- Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Helen Keller
- Life is a song. Love is the music. Cindy Vail
- Life is a glass given to us to fill. William Brown
- Life is a splendid gift. There is nothing small about it. Florence Nightingale
- Life is not a problem to solve, it’s a gift to cherish. Don Ward
- Life is something to be in, not something to get through. Dustin Hoffman
- Life is to be felt, not figured out. Thomas Hardy
- Life is a chance to grow a soul. Powell Davies
- Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be. Grandma Moses
- What’s your philosophy of life?
- The only thing you take with you when you’re gone is what you leave behind. What will you leave behind?
- Here is the test to find whether or not your mission on earth is finished: if you are alive, it isn’t. – Richard Bach
- May God bless you with the foolishness to think that you can make a difference in the world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done. You have great days still ahead of you. May there be many of them. ~Unknown
- Wherever you are is the entry point. Jump in…and let your good deeds ripple out.