(This post is excerpted from a speech I gave in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 26, 2012 at the Aria Convention Center at a LifeVantage corporate event.)
There have been, and are, many inspiring people in the world. One person from history who inspires me is Leonardo da Vinci, but not just because of of his art. Yes, he is famous for his art, like “The Mona Lisa,” but he was also a scientist and inventor who envisioned many ideas long before the technology existed to build them: solar power, the calculator, weapons of war, motorized vehicles, parachutes and flying machines. Pretty visionary for a man born in the 1400s!
He dreamed big, left the world a better place and said, “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough…being willing is not enough, we must do.” That wasn’t just Leonardo da Vinci’s philosophy, however. I’m fortunate to work for a company that also believes in doing, and changing lives, not just through its products and business opportunity but through its charitable efforts as well. Like da Vinci, we feel the “urgency of doing” and we ARE doing!
For example, earlier this year LifeVantage and its distributor generously supported LifeVantage Legacy (the charitable program of the Company) which resulted in a donation of over $53,000 to Deworm the World and contributed to improving the health, education and quality of life for over 3.7 million children in Bihar, India. That is significant!
Nelson Mandela said, “What counts in life is not there mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the lives we lead.”
I recently met a “modern day” man who inspires me. He’s a graduate of Cambridge and Harvard University and a philanthropist—he credits his involvement in philanthropy to being “completely and utterly rubbish” at operating a remote control. One night, while attempting to turn off his television he accidentally turned to a program featuring a 2-year-old girl who suffered burns over 90% of her body in a house fire. (The only part of her not injured was the wet skin under her diaper.) He felt he had to do something to help the little girl.
So he arranged to swim the distance of the English Channel in a swimming pool with two friends, and ended up with 10,000 people in 75 countries swimming for the little girl! Which made him wonder, “What if I got one million people to swim for something global, medical and nonpolitical—like malaria?” And he ended up with 250,000 people, including Michael Phelps, swimming for malaria. The world’s largest swim for the world’s biggest killer of babies and children under five years old. His name is Rob Mather, he founded the Against Malaria Foundation and he is an inspiring example to me of the power of one.
There’s an African proverb that says, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito!” We’re never too small, or too insignificant, that we can’t make a difference in the life of someone else.
Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For indeed, that’s all who ever have. (Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist, 1902-1978)
I’m grateful to all those who have made my life, the lives of others and the world better through their small and simple acts as well as their heroic, global endeavors. And may we each strive to be like them in our own way and make a difference in the lives of others.