You Don’t Have to be Perfect to Change the World

“How can I change the world when my life is so messed up?” So, your life isn’t perfect. Join the club.

You don't have to be perfect to change the world

You are a world changer. Right now. In the midst of your own struggles. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

This is something I hear so often. People who question their ability to be a world changer just because their lives aren’t right out of a black-and-white sitcom from the 1950’s. Their lives aren’t bright, shiny, sterile, and wrapped up in a pretty little bow.

In other words, their lives are real. Their problems are real. And yet, somehow, they can’t change the world? I don’t think so.

The notion that you have to be perfect to change the world is ridiculous. In fact, no world changer in history (save for one) was perfect.

3 examples from history

Abraham Lincoln

If he were alive today, Abraham Lincoln would probably have spent the past twenty years watching soap operas in a Snuggie while popping anti-depressants. He was prone to severe and debilitating bouts with depression that often led to suicidal thoughts. But he described his depression in a letter to a friend as “a misfortune, not a fault.” That is the attitude that allowed him to be a world changer.


Moses had a temper. So bad that he killed a man. He was a murderer. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that beats most of what you’ve done. “Murderer” is not a tag you just drop. And did I mention he had a speech impediment throughout his life? And yet he led an entire race to freedom from slavery.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was most likely bipolar. He referred to his intense bouts with depression as his “Black Dog.” He went on to be a central figure in the fight against the Nazis. By all accounts, he was a world changer.

Every world changer throughout history has a dark side. Every one of them has a family secret. Every one of them suffered from something that could have kept them from changing the world.

All while actually changing the world.

None of them waited until their “problem” was solved or their dark days were behind them. They made their mark in the midst of their problems. They pursued their calling in the middle of their personal struggles.

Someday, I’ll be a world changer

Someday when _______, then I’ll be able to _______.

Have you ever filled in those blanks?

But what if the “when” never comes?

What if Lincoln or Churchill had waited until their depression subsided? What if Moses had waited until he had taken more speech classes or everyone who knew about the murder had died?

What if you wait until your life is in order before you begin to answer your calling? That day may most likely will never come.

Action item: Identify one mission or calling that you’ve been delaying and act on it today.

But wait, didn’t you say…?

Am I refuting everything I wrote before about changing yourself, then changing the world? No.

To be clear, the point of that post was that there are times in life where you do need to focus on yourself first. If you struggle with an addiction, you need to get help first. If you are in a toxic relationship, you need to remove yourself first. You need to change yourself before you can change that person. If someone is dragging you down and keeping you from your purpose, you need to sever ties for a time. Then you can return to help him or her.

You are a world changer. Right now. In the midst of your own struggles. In the depths of your own hell. In spite of every weakness or disadvantage.

Do what you’ve been called to do. It starts now.


Question: Who have you learned from in the past, in spite of their weaknesses? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Steve Daniel

    I was diagnosed with hyperactivity as a child, which at the time was a real issue, not just an excuse for bad parenting. Today we give it a pretty name ADHD, dress it up with a cute bow and tux and it looks good to everyone, but it is a real issue for those kids with it. What this does for a child is something like this. You want to go, you want to do, you are eager to learn everything, but you have the attention span of a ferret on speed. Me and my brother call this the “hey look a bunny” syndrome where you do good until the next thing captures your attention. Most teachers I had, tried the sit down and shut up method because I was disturbing the class. A few understood my issue and worked with it. The funny fact is the one teacher everyone thought was so strict, actually turned out to be my GREATEST ally, Mrs. Harris. She was my third grade teacher at the time I was first diagnosed. She taught me how to get past the hyperactivity and still learn. That was the only year I made all A’s and B’s. I have since taken what she taught me as a child and applied it to much of my life since I graduated. I never really outgrew the ADHD but I have learned to control it (mostly) and have even used it to excel at many of my jobs.

    • Mrs. Harris sounds like the kind of teacher we all hated at the time but look back on with fondness. I think we all have a few of those.

  • Great example I love those three men. They are actually three of my favorite historical figures. It is easy to gloss over there life. We look back at the whole scope and think that they knew the effect they would have. What a bunch of crap! They had no clue, but they kept going anyway.
    Loved the post Matt.