While traveling for work through the UK earlier this year I was introduced to the story of a man who is absolute proof that one person can change the world.
Here’s his story.
Nicholas Winton planned a ski trip to celebrate the holidays. The year was 1938 and he was a 28-year stockbroker. He was ready to leave the rain of England for the mountains of Switzerland when a friend called. Martin Blake told him to forget the skis and come instead to Prague. They had something else more important to do.
With Europe tipping toward total war, the men anticipated the plight of Jewish children in Czechoslovakia. Winton devised a process to move as many children as possible from families in harms way into new families located in England. He worked tirelessly and was part of seven trainloads of children transported safely to freedom, literally saving their lives from certain doom.
And yet, he never told anyone what he did. Not even his wife.
In fact, it wasn’t until 1988, that his wife, Grete, stumbled upon an old ledger with names in it. She asked Nicholas what it was and he explained what he did in 1938 and 1939. He wished he had done more.
After news of this story broke in a local paper, Winton was asked to share his story with the BBC on live television.
The host, clearly moved, asked if anyone in the audience was a child that Nicholas personally saved from certain death. A woman stood, wiping her eyes and embraced Winton.
Then a group.
Then the entire audience.
While others turned their backs, were unaware or paralyzed with fear, Winton took accountability, accepted risks and rescued children. In all, Winton directly saved 669 lives through his bravery, selflessness and actions.
Some of the children gave him a ring to show their gratitude. It is inscribed with six simple words from the Talmud: “Save one life. Save the world.”
So, can one person actually change the world? [Tweet this.] And more importantly, my friends, can you?
It may not be trainloads of children. You may not end up on the BBC for your valor, but in your life, workplace, community and home there are ways you can make a difference.
In your life, attitudes, beliefs and choices what are the opportunities to make a difference? Please share your answer in the comments below.
My friends, in this journey called life – you likely won’t need skis. You likely will have to be flexible enough to change your travel plans. But, if you shift from irresponsibility for your actions to total accountability in living into the truth that you can change the world: you will do exactly that.
The best is yet to come.
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