Social Question

Gifted_With_Languages's avatar

What does it mean to make a real difference?

Asked by Gifted_With_Languages (1122 points ) February 6th, 2013

When someone has come up to you and has professed how much you’ve changed their life or their views on life, then you know you’ve made a difference. I’ve had people confess how much I’ve changed their views on themselves, how I’ve helped people learn to love themselves, I’ve moved people to the point of tears with my words. That’s making a difference. And I love every second of it. I love helping people.

Where do you stand on this issue?

I’d wish to express my heartfelt thanks for the interest you have shown so far.

A very big thank you to you.

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11 Answers

zensky's avatar

Modesty is the best policy.

KNOWITALL's avatar

It means that you’ve made things better somehow for someone.

Practicing random acts of kindness towards strangers, and sometimes people in my life, is very rewarding, seeing that smile light up a weary face.

thorninmud's avatar

I’m wary of the temptation to want to make a difference in people’s lives. There can be an awful lot of ego in that, and when the ego gets involved, even “helping” can get toxic.

The people who seem to just make things better by their very presence don’t in my experience, think of themselves as making a difference. They’re just responding to circumstances without an agenda. When someone makes “doing good” their agenda, things tend to get messy.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@thorninmud I think that’s kind of sad. A lot of people that I know that practice ‘doing good’ actually want to do good and help others, kind of paying it forward.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@thorninmud I get your point. I didn’t think I really made a difference in anyone’s life when I first read the question. But I guess I probably have. Usually it’s just responding to a situation. If something bad happens, stepping in to get things stabilized then cleaned up. Interesting.

thorninmud's avatar

I stand with Thoreau on this one: “If you see a man approaching you with the obvious intent of doing you good, you should run for your life.”

Shippy's avatar

I’m not sure I have made a difference in any ones life, I probably need to make a difference in mine though.

wundayatta's avatar

My job is to help people do research. To me, it seems like a pretty modest goal. Hardly something that makes a real difference. But I hope that after people see me, they have a better idea of how to accomplish their goals. I hope they understand their own goals with more clarity, too.

Before I had this job, I was working on expanding health care coverage to US residents. I studied the economic impact of single payer in a number of states. My personal goal was to get single payer implemented. By that standard, I failed utterly. I did not make a real difference.

Honestly, I don’t know what making a real difference means. I work on things I believe in. I believe in them because I think they will be better for both others and me. I usually find that people are against the things I advocate when they misunderstand what I’m advocating for. However, there are some things where I don’t care what the majority thinks. I’m sorry. I don’t want more guns around. But I don’t expect to make a real difference there, either.

I don’t know what it means to make a real difference. I’ve never made one. But I don’t feel I can do anything other than stand up for what I believe in.

Pachy's avatar

I don’t know whether I’ve made a difference in other people’s lives, but I do know that because other people have made differences in mine, it’s likely.

flutherother's avatar

It would depend what the difference was.

rojo's avatar

@thorninmud That Thoreau, always the jester.

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