My wife’s niece loves me (She’s 5).
She loves me so much that my wife believes I am her first crush.
When I show up, she runs for a hug. When I leave, she cries. When I am not here, she asks “When is Gregory coming?”
It’s that kind of love.
In our age, so many young people, advocates, and leaders suffer silently wondering about their impact on the world, their legacy (big trendy word), how to help more people, how to become the best version of themselves, their calling, their purpose or their mission in this lifetime.
I do too. I am not immune to this.
But when I see my wife’s niece, I tell myself:
“Thanks to me, this child will become a Japanese adult who won’t be afraid of foreigners, a Japanese adult who won’t share insecure cliches about foreigners, a Japanese adult who will feel like foreigners are really nice”.
This is my impact on the world.
Will you hear about this in the news? No.
Will I receive a gold medal or an NBA ring for that? No.
Will you share this blog post with others? No.
But isn’t it a great way to impact the world?
If you live outside of your native environment, you are probably very aware of this challenge and the subconscious yet palpable way others look at you.
If you are a Westerner living in Asia, an Asian living in Europe, or a member of any other minority, you have an amazing opportunity in front of you:
Make people from the Majority understand that the members from your Minority are actually great people, and that everything they heard before is actually BS.
The other morning, my wife and I walked her niece to her bus stop, before kindergarten.
As her niece got in the bus, my wife and I started waving goodbye and slowly walking away from the bus.
And then, at one point, as we were 50 meters away from the bus and still waving goodbye, I took my wife in my arms, lifted her and kept waving goodbye.
Later that same day, her niece came back home and said to her mother:
“You’re not going to believe this! This morning, Gregory took (my wife) in his arms and lifted her! When I become an adult, me too, I want someone to take me in his arms and lift me off the ground!”
When I hear this, I think:
“Thanks to me, this child will become a Japanese adult who won’t be afraid to display affection in public, a Japanese adult who will think that it’s great to take someone in her arms, a Japanese adult who will associate loving someone with taking that person in her arms”.
You and I could worry endlessly about our impact on the world.
You and I could choose to believe that Impact must about something cooler than this.
Or you and I could simply understand that this is the definition of Impact.
Do the right thing, right now, wherever you are with whoever is close to you.
Are you and I ready to understand this?
Maybe yes, maybe you think “Of course!” but maybe you and I don’t truly want to.
Maybe you and I still want to believe that Impact is only about big things, big business or athletic achievements, and big social media metrics.
Or maybe you and I, yes, we are mature enough to understand that Impact is simply about doing the right thing, right now, wherever we are with whoever is close to us.
I am with you.