Self-understanding Can Yield A Great Global Impact

Any one person can change the world. It’s happened before. An individual or small group of individuals makes a discovery, invents something, or forms an idea that may affect countless lives: Newton, Curie, Einstein—all thinkers whose intellectual ventures impacted the lives of all that followed.

If you are determined, one person can make a difference. If you are committed and energetic and have the right vision, you can make a big difference. That difference, if you are indeed focused, can save hundreds of thousands, even millions, of lives. But before saving those lives, you must understand yourself as best you can. Understand your weaknesses and strengths, your aspirations, and your selfish inclinations.

Understanding who you are will help you focus your energy on the work that you love, that you can make the most significant impact in, that you can look back and be proud of your accomplishments. I spent years under the tutelage of top minds in science and academia. As I honed my craft under their guidance, I also did a fair amount of self-examination. Who am I, and how can I best position myself to have an impact on the world?

These are the questions a world-changer needs to ask themselves. What do you like? What don’t you like? What are your real capabilities? Your limitations? Try to understand how those fit. The world is enormous, and there are many areas you can step into to make a difference. The key is finding the right place of need suited for your skillset, your passions, and your determination.

Some will try to tell you what you are best at, where you may excel, like a high school counselor telling you which college major you may like. While helpful, these suggestions cannot be your map. You are the compass to your destiny. You know best the impact you can create on the world and the path to do so. Look deeply, and be honest with yourself. What is the difference I want to make, and how can I get there?

This blog is one in a series showcasing writing samples from my autobiography: My Lifelong Fight Against Disease. Available for purchase here.

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.