HJ: All people who changed the world share a common list of traits that allowed them to accomplish the extraordinary task of changing the course of history and transforming human consciousness. I know many of you reading this have the same vision for yourselves — you want to help create a better future/planet/society for us all to share. You have high ideals and a passion for helping others — and this is as it should be because if you want to change the world, you will need this kind of motivation.
This article is intended to help those of you who want to join the ranks of people who changed the world develop the skills and courage necessary to do so. By understanding the core characteristic of transformational leaders, you can begin to cultivate them in yourself and help build a movement towards whatever positive social change you are intent on creating.
The world needs cultural creatives with a strong, positive, inclusive vision at this time. It is our sincerest hope that this article helps you to step into your power and destiny and embrace the leader within yourself.
The 4 Common Traits of People Who Changed the World
By Bongani Sibeko | Dumb Little Man
There is one thing that intrigues me and it’s seeing some individuals completely transforming the face of this earth while others are just getting by and being satisfied with that. This has always been an intriguing mystery to me, I have always been curious and wondered just how some people are so different and unique while others are just average and common. What separates these two groups? They are both humans, both with the same number of hours per day and both with the mental capacity to think, but somehow others step up to the plate while the rest takes pride in eating the crumbs on the floor.
My question has always been, what is the difference here? What sets these guys apart? Since that question entered my mind I have never been completely free, it has disturbed my mind and kicked me out of my comfort zone because now I realize there is a big puzzle that I am a piece of and unless I choose to find that specific space to fill, the puzzle will never be complete.
I have been drawn to the world of those who completely revolutionized the face of this earth, in studying them there is always a common thread that runs through their veins and that has reeled me in their way of life and below I point out the 4 main things that these mavericks proudly possess. These things are not reserved only for the few elite individuals but whoever desires them can have them. They are what I live my life by now and it is not a shocker that many who possess them go on to be a great world changer.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and change your world the only way you can, you must:
1. Have a purpose
World changers have a consuming purpose for their lives.
A purpose is what you were born to do here on this earth, only you were assigned this purpose, you do not share it with anyone and when you know it and live by it, you can’t help but transform your world.
History has lots of great individuals who discovered their purpose and went on to commit to their cause no matter what. Others even went to the grave for their cause and we will never forget them because their feats are so ingrained in the history books they are indelible.
World changers know who they are; they don’t wait for the world to define them. They find their identity deep in their purpose and define themselves to the world. Connecting to your purpose validates you as the only one of your kind and this is where you become aware of the gift that you are here to serve. Serving your gift to us is what enables you to change the world because nobody has your gift, it is uniquely yours.
As Abraham Lincoln, the16th president of the United States adeptly puts it, “By serving others and putting others’ needs before oneself, only then can anyone truly impact the world with change."
Your purpose is the only cause for which you are born, nothing beats this. This is what made the great Dr Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther king Jr. to risk their lives to the point of being imprisoned. They connected with something bigger than themselves, it consumed them, they did not picture themselves without their cause and it’s how they engraved their names in history books.
As you can imagine there is always a price to pay to change the world but if you ask me I would say it is worth it. Manifesting your purpose does not come cheap, it is very expensive which makes it all worth your while. The world rarely recognizes those who take shortcuts and play it safe but those who dare to pay the highest price always stand a greater chance at recognition. Like one of the greatest business philosophers, Jim Rohn eloquently put it, “The greatest value in life is not what you get but what you become." In the end it’s not so much about what you get but what you give and become in the process of getting it that matters.
2. Have a conviction
World changers have an unswerving sense of conviction.
Take it from the horse’s mouth, since I connected with my personal purpose I am more convicted than ever that I am born for a purpose, not merely to be a statistic of population.
The conviction finds its root deep into your philosophy which in turn finds its root entrenched in your identity/purpose. It is what you believe about yourself that will give you your conviction. Conviction is being fully convinced about your course in life without any reservation. Once you connect with your purpose, conviction is born.
A great example is Mother Theresa, after consistently witnessing the Indian people in Kolkata suffer and perish in poverty, she could not take it anymore. She was a prominent teacher, doing well in her career but something of higher value to her interrupted that career. She later called this experience as “the call within the call," she goes on and says, “I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith.” This was her cause, nobody would have understood it better than she did, seeing the people destitute, starving and in dire poverty forced her out of her comfortable teaching career and she went on to develop missionaries to care for the poor. And needless to say the history books remember her every day, she lived life to the fullest and left an indelible mark that no one can erase.
She was convicted beyond measure that caring for the poor and destitute was her purpose in life. It is this conviction that institutions such as Mother Theresa Institute of Technology, Mother Theresa Institute of Nursing, Mother Theresa Academy, etc. have her name.
Nothing significant can be achieved without conviction. When you finally decide to connect with your purpose you will experience the true meaning of conviction.
3. Have a vision
World changers are great visionaries. This is the most appealing trait common to all of them.
I am astounded by the vision that keeps stretching my imagination every day, since I decided to pursue my purpose (which happened recently), I cannot help but marvel at the vision I see for myself. After connecting with your purpose you will see it through vision. Vision is you seeing your purpose, it comes in stages, the more you reach the stages it grows. So you can never run out of your vision to guide you in your journey, in fact it will outlive you.
Vision inspires passion and inspiration in these people and when they communicate their visions to the rest of the people, you can’t help but be inspired. The world changers have visions not for themselves but for the entire nation where they live. Their visions are personal but never private, they always aim to improve and transform the standard of living in their spheres.
I am sure you have heard of Martin Luther King, Jr. a clergyman who rose up in the midst of violence and fought for equality for African-American fellows in America. He had a vision and when he communicated it, a lot of people were beyond inspired. This is his vision, taken from “I have a dream" speech, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character."
Today his vision is a reality. It is such visions that inspire people to look beyond their crippling and sometimes debilitating present circumstances and focus on a future filled with hope.
The visionaries are changing this world; no man can change the face of this earth without having a vision.
4. Take action
The most telling habit of a world changer is action. World changers are action-driven; they act on their passion, purpose and dreams. To them merely talking about their dreams is never enough and acting on them is a prerequisite to creating a desired change in the world.
Since I started studying them, I cannot help but take actions on my dreams for I realise that merely planning and dreaming will not change anything, it is an action that will. The first step was to open a blog and many more great actions are on the horizon.
You can tell people what to do but to convince them you have to show them how. Deeply entrenched in action is influence and leadership, you can hardly change the world if you cannot influence and lead people and you do that by taking action towards your dreams.
As one of the great, John F Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States put it, “There are risks and costs to action but they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction."
The first black president who set the South Africans free from the apartheid regime, Dr Nelson Mandela changed the world through his influence and leadership and today we have an international Mandela day every July 18th to celebrate his determination and commitment to seeing everyone (whites and blacks) equal.
He put it like this, “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
Indeed he went to prison for 27 years for this ideal and today there is a democratic society that he once only saw in his imagination.
We are living with great individuals who are doing magnificently well in their spheres of influence and all we can do is to look at them and take notes on how they are doing it. Remember, success leaves clues, so if you want to be a success and change your world, study those who have made or are making it in your own field and learn from them. If one can do it, all can do it.
The prospect of changing the world looks overwhelming, especially if you compare yourself with those who are already doing it, it seems like you will never get to where they are but let me tell you, it is not about how well others have done compared to you but how you are doing compared to what you are capable of doing. Nobody was born at the top, we all have to start at the bottom and work our way to the top. We are not born all-knowing and that is why we are here, to learn and grow in order to change this world.
The individuals mentioned here are by no means the only ones, I am quite convinced that where you are you know great world changers in their own rights, study them, learn from them and be the change you want to see in the world. The ball is in your court!
Bongani Sibeko is an advocate for human capital; he believes that passion is what drives us all into doing what we do. If you do not have passion for what you do, you are wasting your life away. Discover what you are passionate about and live it. As a result of discovering his passion for seeing the human capital being realized, he started the blog to inspire and share with everyone his passion and impact others to do the same as well. He is a passionate student of life who is highly conscious of the world he lives in, he continues expressing his passion through writing and speaking. His philosophy is, “everyone has a signed and sealed story waiting to be delivered, deliver yours.”