Can One Person Change the World?
For LDR200, our latest assignment was to pick a person that is a leader in this world, that is at the state or national level. We were asked:
What behaviors or actions make this person a leader? Why are others motivated to follow him/her? What do you admire about their leadership? How has his/her leadership affected other? How has his/her leadership affected you?
As everyone was writing on the Obamas or Oprah, I couldn’t think of anyone I really really felt inspired my outlook on life, at that national level. I guess I was just trying to think of a politician or celebrity, but overlooked the regular people that are still leaders at that level. When I got thinking about that idea instead, I immediately thought of Jim Ziolkowski. I had read his book a year ago, and I honestly can say his book changed my life. His book was such an inspiration to me and although he isn’t famous, he is changing the world globally. I mean I guess you could call him semi famous because he wrote a national best-selling book. But anyways, his story is very cool and I would recommend going out and buying it RIGHT NOW! If you don’t, I’m sure you will after you read the rest of my blog post. So here ya go! I will be answering the the questions from my LDR200 class, along with telling you more random reasons I am obsessed with the book ‘Walk In Their Shoes.’
I think that Jim Ziolkowski is the definition of a leader. If you ask me, leadership is serving and bettering others, and Jim does just that. Leaders want to change the world. Leaders aren’t afraid to take big risks. Leaders are willing to make sacrifices to get what they want. Leaders dedicate their lives to the causes they are passionate about. He graduated from Michigan State with a finance degree and got a job right away with very well known corporate finance com pay. He didn’t mind his job, but felt that God was calling him to more, so he took a huge risk and quit his nice paying job. He left his comfortable lifestyle and decided to travel the world, and through that he found his life purpose. He wanted to serve others, and improve the poverty stricken world through encouraging education and community service with inner city youths. He decided he wanted to start a non-profit, with the idea that would have the high school kids doing community service and raising money, to fund schools in third world countries that didn’t have education systems, which would eventually come to be called BuildOn.
“Walk in Their Shoes is the story of buildOn’s inspirational work with at-risk teens, its indelible influence on communities around the world, and of the man whose vision, faith, and conviction made it all possible. Jim Ziolkowski “believed that one person could indeed change the world, and his story may inspire others to do the same” (Publishers Weekly). “
Starting this Non-profit organization did not come easy to Jim. It was not a walk in the park. In his book, he tells about his incredible struggles to start it up. Many times he just about got up and left the idea behind. But he didn’t. He pushed through. He inspired others with the idea and persistent dedication, and through that he gained much help and many followers. For example, the finance company he had quit earlier on, would become one of the main donations for funding the start up of BuildOn.
(Ariana Grande via @buildOn) Follow #buildOn student Lakei takes a #selfie with @arianagrande at tonight’s #BuildersBall 9:38 PM – 12 May 2014
I admire his leadership in many ways. As I said before, I really admire his dedication and compassion. Many times in the start up of his organization, he feared the worst. His fear would often times get the best of him. He gave advice about overcoming fear and wrote about how you will never impact the world if you are too afraid to try. That really hit home for me. I often times struggle with thinking I’m not good enough, smart enough, etc. to achieve certain life dreams. And for that, Jim says:
“Fear is useless; What is needed is trust”
You have to trust in your abilities. You have to solely depend on God to work through you. Anything is achievable. You can change the world. This part of the book I have a sticky in to this day. Jim says:
“Each of us has the power to take action, to light a fire and be the ignition for others.”
One of the most inspirational parts to me of Jim Ziolkowski’s story, is that he is from Michigan. He went to Michigan State. He was just a regular guy. But look at what he is doing in the world to make a difference! Wow! I mean, according to Simon&Shuster book review, “Under Jim’s leadership, high school students from the South Bronx to San Francisco have contributed more than 1.2 million hours of direct community service, and over the past twenty years, the organization has also constructed more than 550 schools in the world’s economically poorest countries, from Haiti to Nepal. That is crazy cool! And want to know the most inspirational things of all about Jim? Is that he is one of my best friend’s uncle! He is a regular guy. If he can start a movement like this, I can damn freaking right change the world as well!!
And with that, I will conclude that Jim Ziolkowski is an amazing leader. ‘Walk In Their Shoes’ is a fantastic book. And I want to change the world like that some day. I want to serve others and have that kind of inspiring compassion, faith, dedication and hard work.
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
– Dalai Lama
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
― Dalai Lama
Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
― Dalai Lama