We Rise by Lifting Others
I believe that we're all here to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Uplifting others is core to who I am and my business and that applies not only to my clients and communities but also to those who have the greatest needs. No one can pursue enlightenment or living their greatest life if they are worried about simply surviving from day to day.
Years ago as an adventurous solo traveler, I was walking along Khao San road in the backpacker’s district of Bangkok, Thailand, and nearly tripped over something – someone – in the middle of the sidewalk. I looked down into the haggard, pleading face of a rail-thin, elderly Thai man, with arms stretched up and hands cupped begging for any small generosity from passersby. It took me a moment to see that he was sitting on a skateboard… because he had no legs. He slowly pushed himself along using his hands.
In that moment my heart felt such pity for him. That man, hands extended and toothless smile, in the most wretched of circumstances, expressed the true meaning of courage. He was doing whatever he could to live and get by, not knowing from one day to the next if he would be able to get enough money to eat. Giving the man some money, gratitude erupted from his face and he clasped my hands. Although I could not understand what he said, his gestures spoke clearly that what was definitely a small amount of money for me meant a world of difference to him.
That encounter on a crowded Thai street seared two truths into my mind: Even a small act of kindness can make a huge of difference to someone; and every person matters.
What would the world be like if everyone
had the opportunity to not only survive but to thrive?
I believe in effective altruism and am committed to supporting causes that have a lasting and measurable impact in their areas of focus. In addition to other charitable causes I support, I am donating 10% or more of my revenues from this business to charities with proven track records. My current choices are listed below. To find out more about investing in organizations making real change in the world, visit www.thelifeyoucansave.org.
The Fistuala Foundation believes no woman should ensure a life of misery and isolation simply for trying to bring a child into this world. They are dedicated to ending the suffering caused by obstetric fistula, a childbirth injury caused by prolonged, unrelieved obstructed labor that renders a woman incontinent – an injury that can only be treated with surgery.
Since adopting a global mission in 2009, they have supported treatment in 30 countries throughout Africa and Asia. They are the largest private charitable foundation supporting fistula treatment globally.
For 50 cents, you can deworm a child. Worms and other parasitic and bacterial Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) affect two billion people worldwide, most of whom live on less than $2 a day. 300 million of these, roughly the population of the United States, suffer from severe illness, and half of those are school-aged children. Schistosomiasis kills 280,000 people a year. NTDs are responsible for a range of serious health problems from malnutrition, to impaired cognitive development, to blindness.
Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) works with governments to create or scale up mass school-based deworming programs, which have a strong track record of success. These programs provide school children with pills that protect against the most prevalent NTDs. GiveWell, widely considered the most rigorous independent charity evaluator in the world, has recommended SCI as one of only four charities they endorse.