THE BLOG
12/15/2014 04:48 pm ET Updated Feb 14, 2015

Read This Because You Want to Change the World

I am not sure why the chicken crossed the road, but I can tell you why the woman jogged down the street wearing very high-heeled pumps; she wanted to make the world a better place.

When she asked for an opportunity to change the world she was thinking on a much grander scale and that ego trip is exactly what keeps her and so many people from being the change they want to see in the world. That was her epiphany and this is the rest of the story.

Who has not thought about it at least once or twice? To change the world, to make the world a better place; it's a desire that has existed probably from the first day after that really unfortunate fruit incident in the paradise garden. I have certainly thought about it and wished that I could change the world. And the wish is exactly where the desire stops for most people. Why?

The longing to make a substantial positive contribution to our world is one that burns in us and for the overwhelming majority remains a lifelong pang in our hearts. So why then don't we do something about it? What keeps us from changing the world?

In one of my more recent numerous self-studies, which I refer to as "days of my life", I had an epiphany that I want to share. One morning as I was closing out my morning devotion, I prayed that I would have the opportunity to change the world. Literally, those were my words. With that done, unsure of what grand opportunities would arise, I carried on with the rest of my day and went out to get the mail from my postbox.

Among the letters was an envelope of handmade paper, addressed to a completely different person on a completely different street with a name that was barely legible and completely unfamiliar to me. The zip code was the same as ours. The envelope was hand addressed with the cracked, jagged penmanship that often comes with very old age. Judging from the sender's old German name, I was fairly sure that she must be from a few generations past.

At first I was annoyed with the careless postman, who had committed the oversight. I planned to drop the letter into one of the public postboxes from which it would be returned to the sender, presumably an elderly woman named Adelheid.

For some reason that was unclear at the time, I began to think about the letter and suddenly Adelheid was a grandmother who had taken great care and effort to select beautiful stationary, write a birthday letter, slowly walk to the nearest post office and send it off. She was hopeful that it would arrive in time for the special occasion.

Compelled by an unseen force, I looked up the address that I could decipher from the envelope, typed it into my navigation system and drove to that location to find the addressee's name on the doorplate. I rang the bell and left the letter on the doorstep. Adelheid's letter had arrived at it's destination and hopefully not a day too late.

I returned to my car and a quiet happiness came over me. Every act of kindness makes the world a little kinder because we become a little kinder in the process.

Later in the day, I headed out the door to an appointment to meet a potential new client. Before I got in my car, I noticed a woman with a white guiding cane. She had been standing at the intersection signal light down the street for some time and attempted several times to step onto the street. She shrank back each time, aware of the oncoming cars. Despite the light's acoustic signal the blind woman seemed unable to decipher when it was safe to walk onto the street.

There were several people waiting for the bus just a few meters away from the woman. Surely they could all see this person who needed help. Why did no one move to help the blind woman cross the street?! Since my appointment was only a few miles away, I had not planned much extra time and needed to be on my way to arrive on time.

As I jogged down the street in my high-heeled pumps, which were designed for some purpose other than walking and definitely not running, again, I was slightly annoyed.

I hastily crossed the street and asked the woman to allow me to guide her across the street. She agreed and sighed in relief. When we had arrived on the other side, the woman thanked me and said, "I have no idea what happened. I usually don't have any problems, but today, something was different. I am so glad you were there to help me." Yes, so was I. Every act of love makes you and the world more lovable.

Maybe you are thinking, "Hey lady, that is not changing the world." Maybe you are right, but I have a feeling that Adelheid and the blind lady may think differently.

Seriously, if you have the opportunity to free a country from oppression, to save 100,000 lives with one heroic deed or open a school where thousands of poverty-stricken blind children can get a free education, by all means seize it. Make it happen!

I am just saying, while you are waiting for your big coup, don't be too busy or too afraid to change the world in your own zip code, one small gesture at a time.