As a student scheduled to graduate in the spring, the axioms and wisdom of others is frequent and plentiful. Relatives, professors, friends, and even strangers feel it necessary to prepare me for the road ahead and all of its bumps, curves, and hills. They want to ensure that I reach my “full potential” and don’t make the “same mistakes” they did. However, as hard as they will try, there are some lessons that are only learned through experience.
Ultimately throughout my life, I know that I will have choices and decisions that will alter my path one way or another. Those decisions can not be taught in a classroom, at dinner, or in conversation, yet I have to prepare all the same. I will have to decide whether to act, whether to change, and ultimately to choose whether to leave the world better than when I found it.
This credo wraps up every axiom, lesson, and piece of wisdom into one neat sentence. Many of the wisdom givers have told me that at some point in my life, I will have a chance to be a monumental world changer. Just like every student graduating from top university with an ounce of leadership ability, I am told that I will have my opportunity. The typical questions in response are: When will that opportunity be? What will I decide? How will that impact me?
Those questions are answered by stories of Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Edison, and Google founders, Larry Paige and Sergey Brin. My opportunity will be there in a simple decision of whether to go or stop; to move or halt; or to act or sit. However, I do not believe it is that simple, but rather it is a series of choices that you make every day. Each day I will face a multitude of choices that will test not only my ambition, but my morals and values. Each decision may vary in size and effort, but not in importance.
The smallest of acts may be one of my world changers. How do I know this to be true? Some of the most inspirational experiences that I have taken out of my life have been minute in scale. Whether it was my three year old cousin, Evan, maintaining a positive attitude through his battle with leukemia or Austin, a 13-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy, and his ability to light up a room with his jokes and enthusiasm, they are both world changers in their own right. Their impacts may have not inspired or improved the lives of millions of people. By not letting adversity impact their life-long attitude, they have changed the world in their own individual way.
I believe this attitude is crucial. It is the desire to improve the world every day with every opportunity. If I can maintain this aspiration, I will not only receive my opportunity to make enormous change, but I will see the monumental change come in the small improvements made along the way.