The Power of One

Sophia - Ketchum, Idaho
Entered on April 29, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in the power of one, well yes I trust that exponential powers are true as well, but more importantly I believe in the ability of an individual to make a difference. One person can change the world around them, for better or worse. Often, we are easily able to see a person’s negative contributions. We can see the faults of our elected officials, such Governor Spitzer. We can see the disappointment created by friends, parents, or even ourselves. Since we often focus on certain individual’s negative impact, we forget an individual also has an equal ability to make a positive difference.

We often dismiss ourselves as unimportant to constructive change. The quote “but I’m only one person, I can’t make a difference” echoes through out the world, but all actions begin with one person and are continued on by other individuals. I often think of the actions of one man, Jeff Taben. He is a mountaineer and a father; he is one man who uses his skills and efforts to positively impact the lives of others.

As a skilled climber, Jeff frequently travels to Nepal to ascend the largest mountains in the world. Through his travels, he has witnessed the despair of locals, who have become blind from the intensive sun. In Nepal, there are few local hospitals and fewer trained surgeons. Nepal is mountainous with dirt trails that function as roads. Those living with cataract blindness are unable to travel or work. They lives are destroyed.

Jeff, one man, one surgeon, has dedicated his time working pro bono, giving site back to the people of Nepal. Inspiring other, Jeff has raised money, organized camps, and fixed thousands of eyes. His individual actions have revived many lives. My parents regularly talked about Jeff’s accomplishments, but upon meeting him, I saw he was an ordinary guy. He loves his wife and kids; he enjoys mountains, and he even gets stressed about cooking dinner. He is a normal guy who wants to make a difference, so he took the initiative to focus his efforts into positive work for others. In doing so, he has changed lives of numerous people, by restoring their site and giving them a better life filled with opportunities.

Everyone’s actions create the world we live in. We all have the potential to control how we act. As Jane Goodall once said “what you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”