How Can You Impact a Billion People and Change the World?

I was recently browsing through some of my social media channels and ran across this Inc. Magazine article by marketing executive Sangram Vajrek: Try This Life Goal: Impact One Billion People …Now that’s a BHAG: “Big Hairy Audacious Goal!”

Most of my colleagues and friends know that I’m drawn to any type of media (books, articles, music) that includes an idea or opinion about changing the world. While there may be a lot of evil  going on in the world today, I still think there are many more people (including me) who really want to have an impact on the world in some way and change the world for the better.

Early in my career, I worked for a small company as a controller. I remember having a discussion with the two owners about how they could be doing something great with their company and citing the famous Steve Jobs quote, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”  That was the line Jobs gave to Pepsi executive John Sculley upon trying to convince him to come to work for Apple. The two owners simply responded to me with a “What’s gotten into you Richard? We don’t pay you to think like that please just stick with accounting” kind of look. In my opinion, they certainly were not looking to do something great with their firm or looking to change the world.

In his book, Your Dreams on Fire (an exceptional read—I highly recommend it!), author Will Marre wrote about a Phoenix, Arizona CEO who struggled with her company going public and her concern that she might be selling her soul for money when all that she wanted to do was change the world! I found her story so inspirational, I met her for lunch (since I lived in the area) to understand how she grappled with that issue. She told me that she realized that changing the world happens with one life and one student at a time, and she finally discovered that change started with her.

I’ve since read several articles and books and watched videos on the “change the world” topic. InIt’s not What You Sell It’s what You Stand For (another great read I highly recommend!), author Roy Spence writes: “Every extraordinary business is driven by purpose and that businesses that are driven by a higher purpose outperform those that do not.”  In her March 15, 2017 Future in 5 interview program, American business executive and current Vice Chair of General Electric, Beth Comstock interviewed serial entrepreneur Peter Diamondis and author of Abundance and Bold. In Comstock’s latest segment, Diamondis encouraged viewers to identify their “massively transformative purpose” and challenged viewers with the question: “If you had a billion dollars what good would you do for the world?”

Wow, a billion dollars to solve world problems. Right? What could you do with a billion dollars? Do you think we could solve the health care challenge in the United States?

What about world hunger or human trafficking or homelessness, immigration…. you fill in the blank: What would you do with a billion dollars _____________________?
Then I asked myself this question, How can I impact a billion people?  Well, I’m certainly not a Gandhi, or a Steve Jobs of Apple or a Bill Gates of Microsoft or a Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook with 1.86 billion active users. These, of course, are the names most commonly mentioned when it comes to billionaires. I’m far from a billionaire, or even a millionaire. I’m just a guy who wants to make a difference in the world and help small to medium sizes businesses do the same.

I thought long and hard about this, but then it dawned on me!  What about Jesus?

Now there’s a guy who has impacted billions and billions of people not only for the world, but for all of eternity! Yet he’s never mentioned in today’s “change the world” narrative. In fact, I might even be openly criticized for even mentioning his name! I believe that Jesus had a very simple message:“Love God and love your neighbor.” 

Don’t you think that if people today would just follow His simple message, this world could be so much better off than it is? Isn’t that the fastest way to impact one billion people for good? Think about it.

No, I may never be able to reach billions of people (like Jesus and the others I’ve listed above), but if I could just reach one person and help that one person make a change for the better —then perhaps I can have an impact and maybe I can change that one person’s world for all of eternity! As the Phoenix CEO told me, changing the world happens with one life and one student at a time… I too think that change starts with me.

If this article has stuck a nerve with you and or you want to know more about Him, email me directly or comment below.

Either way, let’s continue the conversation:
How can we impact a billion people for good and change the world together?

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