It is truly humbling to watch someone so young and brilliant putting their curiosity and knowledge to better the world of others. Ann Makoksinski was 15 years old when she delivered this TedX talk about an invention that uses natural energy to create light for her pen pal in the Philippines, enabling her to study at night.
Last week I walked into a management meeting and a few of my colleagues were having a light-hearted discussion about First World Problems (eg electric toothbrushes running out of batteries, rainy days, someone taking up your leg room while you’re sitting on the train). It was a humorous but enlightening conversation. Enlightening in the sense that there are some people who really need to get a grip on reality and shut up and be grateful… and that sometimes I am part of “some people” because too often I am guilty of stressing out over truly insignificant issues. Issues that pale in comparison to the real global, life/death issues that billions around the world face daily: lack of energy, food, clean water.
Not long after said discussion, I came across this TedX talk on my Facebook news feed. It seemed like fate was kicking me up the backside and reminding me that there are more valuable things I should be spending my time on: not whinging about work (or the people at work?).
Ann is 15 years old. And her hopeful, can-fix-it approach is truly inspiring. She holds a genuine belief that there is no problem too big or no contribution too insignificant that it doesn’t deserve our time or effort. I hope to regain that same sense of optimism; the optimism I would’ve had 4-5 years ago when I was working with people of a similar age. Happy, hopeful, helpful people who hadn’t been crushed by jaded middle-aged grumps who either lack of the confidence or track record to want to make a positive difference.
Wouldn’t it be great if we really took the words “you are the light of the world” literally and figuratively. Ann has managed to do both, which is why I’m totally in love with her right now.
I think I should print this out and stick it around my office:
Ann’s methology is simple. Understand the problem and find a solution. Be the source of the solution, not the problem. Naturally, by matter of osmosis, you will help others to be the source of solutions too.