8.9. We Don’t Have to Start from Scratch!

There are countless organizations that are already working on good causes.

Changing the world is hard.

It seems like an impossibly long, impossibly difficult slog, even to make things just a little bit better.

How many billions of people have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into good causes—just so humanity can take one teeny tiny step forward?

Some of this is just the nature of creating real social change.

There are 7.5 billion people living in the world. There are 320 million people living in the United States.

There are many, many obstacles preventing us from coming together. There are many entrenched interests, and people who benefit from this unjust state of affairs, who are willing to use their enormous resources to fight progress every step of the way.

I mean, don’t have any illusions. Making the world a better place is truly hard.

But often, we make it much, much harder than it should be.

And one of the best ways we can avoid falling into that trap is to realize that we don’t have to start from scratch.

None of us is the first person to become upset by all the injustices in the world, or moved to do something to fix them.

There are countless organizations that already exist, that are already working on those good causes, that have already started assembling the resources and the people power necessary to make the world a better place.

But instead of joining up with those already existing efforts, many of us try to start something from scratch.

We’ve been fed a steady diet of stories about our heroes and role models, coming out of nowhere, experiencing a meteoric rise, and leading the way to a better world—and we try to duplicate what they did.

I’m not trying to stifle anybody’s genius here. But we tell ourselves those stories precisely because they’re so rare. They exist to inspire us—not for us to try to mechanically copy what they did.

It’s extremely inefficient to keep reinventing the wheel, to keep starting new movements and organizations when there are already so many existing ones.

Changing the world is hard enough, without having to constantly build up new organizations from scratch.

And as I observed in a previous video, all these organizations end up competing with each other for the same pool of supporters and donors, which keeps us small and divided—even though being numerous and coordinated is what we need most.

So don’t fall into that trap!

If you want to make a difference, go right now to an already existing organization—one with a big profile and a lot of resources—and donate your time or money to them.

No, they aren’t perfect. And yes, you’ll have to be low on the totem pole at first. But they’ve already done the hard work of building up the infrastructure to actually have a chance of affecting policy.

Even if you really are the next MLK or Gandhi, if you start your own organization from scratch, it’s going to take you a good 5 to 10 years, just to build it up to where these organizations already are.

So why make things harder than they need to be?

Get involved in these already existing movements and organizations. They can really use your help.


This is the 133rd in a series of over 150 videos about how to create real, lasting social change. Click here for a list of all titles, videos, and transcripts.

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