Lives That Made a Difference

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Thousands of people today don't believe in meaning and purpose as something to discover or pursue in life. And others believe in a life purpose but won't take the risk to identify or honor it. Those with positive influence feel otherwise.

2. Inspiration

They have found that there is a purpose to their life, and that purpose usually involves some aspect of turning their "mess into a message," or using what they've learned often the hard way as a means of being of service to others. People with a sense of purpose are driven, focused, committed, and lit up from the inside -- unable to be deterred or distracted from what they believe is the reason they're on this planet at this time.

This sense of meaning and purpose gives them inexhaustible drive and offers guideposts to follow along the path. It informs them of what they wish to attend to in life, and what they need to walk away from because it doesn't support their higher purpose. People who impact the world for the better know that they are not perfect. They understand how their knowledge isn't "complete" -- there are always gaps, biases, limitations and prejudices, and new places to go with their expertise.

Yes, there are powerful narcissists aplenty, but their influence isn't positive or helpful in the long run -- it's damaging and destructive. Innovators who positively shape the world come from a "beginner's mind" and a loving, compassionate heart -- with an openness to see, learn, and experience new things on the way to being a better servant of the world.


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Those with huge positive influence understand the power of relationships, connection, and engaging with the world openly. They're not afraid to get "out there" -- connecting with others, sharing their knowledge and talents, offering their authentic and often contrarian viewpoints and opinions. They've pushed beyond any introversion, shyness or reluctance to be who they are, and have learned how to relate well with others and build mutually-supportive relationships that catapult both parties to a higher level.

They know that positive, supportive and authentic relationships are the foundational building blocks to anything and everything they want to achieve.


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The people I've interacted with and interviewed who've made a positive impact in the world don't settle for conformity. When they see something that agitates and disturbs them, they strive to know more, get to the root of the issue, research and understand the contributing factors, and arrive at new solutions. They observe gaps and mistakes in common thinking and behavior, and trust themselves in their belief that it's time to push the boundaries of what's accepted.

They want to affect change because they believe change will bring a better way to live.

Teachers Change Lives

We've all met authors or "experts" who keep their knowledge secret, close to the vest. They're afraid to let it out for fear someone will steal it or make money on their ideas. This is the opposite of the positive influencer's mindset. Those who make a true positive difference can't help but share and teach what they've learned.


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They don't see their knowledge as just some commodity to sell, as a meal ticket or a money maker -- they see it as information that has to be shared with the world for its betterment. It also inspired me to take my work to more needy people," he said.

People Who Made the World a Better Place

Taslima Nasreen, who works for the betterment of the transgender community, says she had been doing this service for the past seven years and had been acknowledged quite a few times. I would say this is the best appreciation I have got so far," she said choking with emotion.

The members pruned down more than a hundred suggestions to the 12 who were felicitated on Thursday. Navbharat Times. The x-axis shows the number of doctors per , people. You can see that the curve goes nearly flat once you have more than doctors per , people. After this point which almost all developed countries meet , additional doctors only achieve a small impact on average.

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Despite this uninspiring statistic about how many lives a doctor saves, some doctors have had much more impact than this. In , while working in a refugee camp on the border of Bangladesh and Burma, Dr. David Nalin discovered a breakthrough treatment for patients suffering from diarrhea. He realised that giving patients water mixed with the right concentration of salt and sugar would rehydrate them at the same rate at which they lost water. This prevented death from dehydration much more cheaply than did the conventional treatment of using an intravenous drip.

Since then, this astonishingly simple treatment has been used all over the world, and the annual rate of child deaths from diarrhea has plummeted from 5 million to 1. If Dr. Nalin had not been around, someone else would, no doubt, have discovered this treatment eventually.

However, even if we imagine that he sped up the roll-out of the treatment by only five months, his work alone would have saved about , lives. This is a very approximate estimate, but it makes his impact more than , times greater than that of an ordinary doctor:. But even just within medical research, Dr. Nalin is far from the most extreme example of a high-impact career. Roger Bacon and Galileo pioneered the scientific method, without which none of the discoveries we covered above would have been possible, along with other major technological breakthroughs like the Industrial Revolution.

These individuals were able to do vastly more good than even outstanding medical practitioners. In , Petrov was on duty in a Soviet missile base when early warning systems apparently detected an incoming missile strike from the United States. Protocol dictated that the Soviets order a return strike. He reasoned that the number of missiles was too small to warrant a counterattack, thereby disobeying protocol.

You have made a difference in a lot of lives.

The two countries may have even ended up engaged in an all-out nuclear war, leading to billions of deaths and, potentially, the end of civilisation. But that could be an underestimate, because a nuclear war would also have devastated scientific, artistic, economic and all other forms of progress leading to a huge loss of life and well-being over the long run. Some component of this is due to luck — the people mentioned above were in the right place at the right time, affording them the opportunity to have an impact that they might not have otherwise received.

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So, what does this mean for you? Because the highest-impact careers achieve so much, a small increase in your chances means a great deal. The examples above also show that the highest-impact paths might not be the most obvious ones. Having a big impact might require doing something a little unconventional.

So how much impact can you have if you try, while still doing something personally rewarding?

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