Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little. -Edmund Burke

I want to make the world a better place. But, I don’t really know how.

You see, I believe we are all shaped by the people, the places, and the things that we are faced with in our lives. For me, the majority of my opinions and beliefs were defined in one moment, by one person, who committed a single act of violence. But this post isn’t about that moment, it’s about the person that I became because of it, and the passions it created within me.

I want to make changes to our laws and Justice System so that forseeable crimes can be prevented and first time offenders don’t become repeat offenders. I want to be involved in crisis intervention and supporting people who are trying to remove themselves from bad situations. I want to be innovative, I want to be effective, and I want to be preventative. I want to shape young minds and raise better adults. I want to raise awareness and accountability.

But where do you start when you have such big dreams? A few courses to become more informed? A degree? A change in career to become a lawyer, a cop, a social worker or politician? Do I volunteer? Donate? Write literature on it? Start a campaign? All of the above?

I feel so overwhelmed when I think of where my true passions lie, because I feel as though little ol’ me couldn’t possibly do all of that, especially without giving up my current career to start over. I pick up the newspaper and read the stories of women who were raped and beaten and murdered. I feel helpless. I feel like my own passions are beyond my reach. I couldn’t possibly make a difference. Could I?

The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.  -Leo Rosten

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11 thoughts on “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little. -Edmund Burke

  1. Great quotes.

    Allow me to offer a thought. If you volunteer to help out at a women’s shelter, even if only for a little while, you may not only help someone in need, but you may see a need that is going unfulfilled that you can make the focus of a bigger effort down the line.

    I was asked recently by a friend of mine — she posed this question to a number of her friends on Facebook, and I don’t know how many responded — “If you were given money and told it had to go to charity, where would you send it?”

    I answered without a moment’s hesitation — there’s a women’s shelter near where I live (called “Helping Hands”), plus two other causes of interest to me (both educational). It turns out, the woman who asked was working on a project that, I believe, is likely to help the causes she had asked suggestions for.

    I wouldn’t have even known about Helping Hands if I hadn’t put myself in the right place at the right time to learn about them. But because I did, I may have helped make a connection that will help them far more than anything I can do directly.

    You probably already know how to find such a shelter. If you don’t, try contacting the YWCA as a start. From my experience, these shelters are always looking for volunteers (and money!).

    There. That’s one idea. I’m sure other readers here have some better ideas. The thought here isn’t that this will be how you will ultimately help, but rather… this can lead you to a path where you figure out how best you can help.

    • That’s a really great idea, thank you. Sometimes I guess it’s as simple as starting with a little bit of your time. In the long run, I suppose I don’t have to change careers to make a difference.

  2. one of my responsibilities at work is working on crime victims issues.

    i would strongly suggest becoming a volunteer for a women’s crisis hotline…you would REALLY feel like you’re making a different to every person who calls…

  3. It’s so suiting you posted about this today. Recently I just was on You can sign up to volunteer through their website. There are many ways of volunteering too. You can do it through their online support network, phone, administrative help. If you look at their site and click “Get Involved” and then “Volunteer for RAINN” it brings you through some ways of volunteering. They also provide training for you. Check it out I have a huge support for RAINN. I too am looking to become involved in the network.

    • That’s awesome! I will definitely check that site out- and hopefully it’s not just American. I did find a volunteer site for my city which I want to spend some more time browsing through. Thanks for your suggestion!

  4. It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference in someone’s life. I like imerika’s idea and also justsomeone’s. A lot of little adds up to big! Best, Pippi

  5. “But this post isn’t about that moment, it’s about the person that I became because of it, and the passions it created within me.”

    Love. This.

    One of my most favorite quotes, “It isn’t our expierences that make us who we are, rather what we do with those expierences.”

    No matter what happens to us, we are in charge of who we become.

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