As introverts, we have the power to change the world in our own quiet way.
I always thought that in order to have an impact you had to do something grand. I figured that you had to build elephant sanctuaries, heal the sick, feed starving children, or otherwise save the less fortunate. Inventing cool stuff made the list too.
It turns out, I was wrong. There are several ways that we can make the world a better place, which don’t necessarily involve volunteering in Africa or winning the Nobel Prize. We can have an impact without leaving our city, or even our home. And we don’t need to change our personality either.
“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
When I was younger, I spent a lot of time volunteering and helping out at church. I wanted to be good person. I yearned to make a difference. My intentions and actions were noble, but looking back, they were not really me.
I had aspirations of being a nurse or working with children. I imagined myself floating along with outstretched arms, offering light and love to the vulnerable. In reality I would have felt harried, exhausted and inadequate in these professions.
Can introverts be great nurses and teachers? Of course. My point is that this introvert could not. I actually think the world is better off because I didn’t become a nurse. Unfortunately, many of us still believe that people-person careers and activities are the only way to make a difference in this world. This can be discouraging for introverts who are quickly drained by such environments.
When it comes to having an impact, we shouldn’t be preoccupied with what we lack. Instead we should discover what specific gifts we have to offer the world. As John Wooden put it: “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
In all honesty, I do believe that we must connect with people in order to change the world. But how we connect with them can vary greatly. Making a difference does not always involve ‘helping people’ in the traditional sense. It can mean simply connecting with others through writing, creation or the sharing of ideas. These types of connections can be made face-to-face, over the Internet or through an object you create.
So how can introverts change the world? By unearthing our own unique gifts instead of trying to be someone we’re not; by recognizing that connection is often more valuable than charity; and by having the courage to give that which only we can give to the world.
No elephant sanctuaries or stethoscopes necessary.