I spent the past week in Denmark with over 100 remarkable individuals from Universities in Denmark discussing leadership and how to bring change to the world.It was one of the conferences AIESEC organises for it members to be trained on acquiring the relevant skills to impact the world positively.
A core topic we constantly came back to every time was on ‘what it really takes to change the world’. Even though I dont think anyone particularly has the final answer to this question, we all agreed there were some core characteristics of people who change the world.
1.They care. Perhaps it’s the most important people we identified as change agents possessed. They care about something. They felt ‘angry’ about something that was not working or how something was working and how it could be different. We could say the late Steve Jobs cared about designing products that helped consumers. Products that were intuitive and easy to use.More importantly he was obsessed with aesthetics that meant the products also had to be beautiful.
2.They Act. It is not enough to care. People who change the world do something about what they care about. regardless of how little the action was. In most cases they did not wait for the perfect opportunity.It is said that ‘ideas change the world’. Ideas don’t really change the world.Only ideas put into action change the world. So it doesn’t matter how great your idea is, without action, it is just an idea.
3.They Persevere. The verb persevere comes from the Latin root persevereus which means “continue steadfastly, persist” and that word comes from two others, per– for “very” and severus for “strict. To do something remarkable, you will have to ‘continue steadfastly’ on what you believe in. You will have to stand firm with your ideas. There are just too many people and circumstances out there to make you abandon what you set your mind to do. People like Thomas Edison ,Henry Ford or the Wright brothers are strong testimonies to this quality.
Finally, changing the world is not about feeding every hungry person in the world or about finding the cure for cancer or doing something that makes you so popular like Mandela or Martin Luther King Jr. or Mother Theresa. Changing the world might just be about helping one person.It could even be your friend or family or someone you don’t know. Changing the world is about doing something for the world than just yourself.