Making a Difference

One of the things I hear often is that Millennials (not Generation Z, which is just now entering the workforce) say they want their life and their job to make a difference in the world.  While that is a great goal, I wonder, as a solid member of Generation X, if they understand what making a difference is?  It seems if they aren’t solving the water crisis, stopping hunger, ending disease, or reversing climate change, that they don’t think they are making a difference.  Saving the world is an unobtainable goal, and attempting to do so will either burn you out or end in depression from realizing it can’t be achieved.

One of the characters from one of my secret movie favorites – The Core – put it this way,  “I’m not trying to save the whole world.  That is too big, its impossible.  I’m just trying to save my daughter.”  Now, being Hollywood, saving his daughter meant saving the whole world, but there really is a kernel of truth in what he had to say.  You don’t make the world better by changing everything all at once.  You make it better, by making little changes each day; by helping one person each day.

There is another quote from another one of my favorite movies – Saving Private Ryan – that really gets at the heart of making a difference in the world.  In the end, the elder Ryan asks his wife if he was a “good man.”  Captain Miller told him in his dying breath to “earn this” life he and his men gave him. Ryan felt the best way to earn it was to simply be a “good man.”  And, of course, his wife says he was, and the film ends with his family surrounding him.

I think one of the best things about the CPA profession is that we are surrounded by good men and women making a daily difference in the world around us.  We are not all Hollywood perfect, but we all do a little bit each day to make a difference, to make things better for those that depend on us.

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