How to Change the World

I spent last weekend with 1,000 incredible world changers at the World Domination Summit in Portland, OR.

My life will never be the same again.

This was my second year at the summit. Last year was incredible, but this year touched me even more deeply for some reason.

Over and over again, I was inspired and impressed by speakers, attendees and friends who are doing massive, ambitious and seriously world-changing things.

When people ask what this conference is about you hear different answers from different people. Some say entrepreneurship. Others say social entrepreneurship. Others might say adventure, travel, giving back, living your purpose or living a remarkable life.

Chris Guillebeau, WDS founder, posed a question that sums it up well:

How do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?

But to me, above all the World Domination Summit is about more than living a remarkable life. It’s about learning how to change the world.

Here are three steps I learned from WDS this year that are critical to changing the world:

Step 1: Don't ask permission.

Life is full of rules and establishments. Changing the world doesn’t start by following the rules, accepting what is or asking for permission. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what experience or qualifications you have.

The only person you need permission from to change the world is yourself.

Chantelle Baxter didn’t wait for permission to start One Girl when she was just 24. Now the nonprofit she started has provided 100 education scholarships to girls living in Sierra Leone.

Step 2: Dream big.

On Saturday at the conference we heard from Scott Harrison of charity: water.

Over 1 billion people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. Scott will be the person who solves that problem, and it may only take a decade or two for him to do it. They’ve already brought clean drinking water to 2.5 million and are growing the operation like crazy every year.

If solving the water crisis wasn’t enough, Scott is also revolutionizing how charities operate. 100% of donations to charity: water go to building water projects. Private donors cover the operating costs so you don’t have to. Every dollar you donate is tracked and reported on.

Scott didn’t come from a non-profit background. He was a drug addicted concert promoter in NYC. One day he turned his life upside down, recognized a problem and wanted to help. Five years later and he’s running the sexiest and one of the most impactful nonprofits on the planet.

It all started with dreaming bigger than most people dare.

Step 3: Start with your world.

Sometimes changing the world has to start with changing your world. Mike Bruny shared an insightful Jay-Z lyric before telling the audience his story of giving back to the organization that taught him the value of hard work as a teen in Brooklyn:

And it's much bigger issues in the world, I know But I first had to take care of the world I know -Jay Z

Maybe you need to change your life before you can change the world. Or, maybe that’s backwards. Maybe the best way to change your life is by helping other people get what they want or need.

Changing the world doesn’t have to mean starting a charity or nonprofit. There are plenty of ways to change the world, and you can even do so while pursuing your dreams or earning a profit.

Whether or not you attended the World Domination Summit or plan to attend next year, ask yourself how you’re planning to change the world.

Are you waiting for permission?

Are you dreaming big enough?

Do you need to start with your own world?

I know I haven’t been dreaming big enough. Thanks WDS for inspiring me to change that this year.

Thanks Armosa Studios for the picture.

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Hi, I’m Corbett Barr. I’ve been writing here since 2009. Join my email list for new articles about supporting yourself doing something you love: