I saw a question today: if you had one year to change the world, what would you do?

It’s an interesting question but almost an irrelevant one.  After all, each of us, by our very existence, changes the world in immeasurable, uncountable ways every day.  And when we die, we continue to change the world (by our once having existed).  So my primary answer has to be: I would keep doing what I’m doing.  That’s obviously how I’ve been changing the world this year, so why not keep it up?  But, of course, that answer is boring, unmotivating, and uninformative.  So let’s see if we can do better.

If I had a year to change the world, what would I do?  Well, let’s assume that the only limit is on my effort, i.e., the world will not end in a year, I will simply be unable to change it directly any further.  Therefore, everything I’ve done in the year will still exist and be able to affect the world.  I’m sure several of you see where I’m going already.

Hmm.  One year isn’t much time to eliminate hunger or bring about world peace, at least not for little ol’ me.  Perhaps someone with more capital and influence could get it done.  I’ve got a couple good ideas for how I might start changing both, but even getting those ideas started would take more than a year.  Plus, anything I could bring about in these areas would only be temporary.  The world would sooner or later revert to its current state.  So we’re looking for something lasting.  Surely, you see where I’m going now.

If I had a year to change the world, I would write a book.  I would start with an idea–one simple enough to grasp in a sentence or two but complex enough to be worth writing several books.   But I would write only one because others would carry on my work and continue to write.  After my book was written–and assuming it could be published instantaneously (which we know never happens, right, Brian?)–after it was written, I would spend whatever time I had left in spreading my idea and getting my book into as many hands as possible.

That book, that idea, would outlast my year and continue to change the world.

So that’s one way.  What about you, dear Reader?  How would you change this beautiful, broken world of ours with your year?