The Power to Make a Change

Jan 26, 2020 | Vintage Journal

I had the opportunity to see former UN Ambassador Samantha Power when she spoke last week as part of the WorldOregon speaker series.  I was very impressed that she described her experiences and her ideas in a very down to earth and humanistic way.  I was struck that she seemed to lack the boastfulness that people who have held lofty positions often have.  Most notably, she has a very pragmatic way of engaging.  She told us how when she first became UN Ambassador she tried to meet with all the other Ambassadors – many who had never met a US Ambassador – and she met them at their homes and offices, not hers.  She went to them.  I can learn from that.  But here is the idea that will stay with me.  She describes it as “shrinking the change.”  Many problems seem overwhelming for us to engage with.  We think that big problems require big transformative solutions, and oftentimes they do.  But each of us can make a difference.  When she and her staff would confront a big issue and think, “What can we do,” they responded, “Well we can surely do something.”  Each of us can do something.  Some people can do a lot (including big structural change), but I can probably do something too.  So from now on, when I am overwhelmed by a big problem (climate change for example), I will try to take a step back and think, “Well surely I can do something.”-Bill Sweat, Proprietor