Do You Matter? How Your Choices Actually Do Make a Difference

A few years ago, an NYC News show recognized 91 Yr old Norman Borlaug for a life of great accomplishments. He was named “Person of the Week” on this particular episode of the news. The news anchor mentioned how Norman had been instrumental in developing groundbreaking and life changing science.

Norman Borlaug was an American agronomist and humanitarian who led initiatives worldwide that contributed to the extensive increases in agricultural production termed the Green Revolution. Borlaug was awarded multiple honors for his work, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. The news anchor went to say that Norman Borlaug was also credited for saving 2 billion people on planet earth! Quite an outstanding accomplishment by any measure.

Norman Borlaug was blessed to be in many situations in his lifetime that allowed him to act on the things that were placed before him. He figured out how to hybridize wheat and corn for arid climates in Europe, Central and South America, Siberia, and Africa, and by so doing, he helped create food sources for two billion people!

Norman’s history can be traced to several other people that made decisions to put them – and him in the right place at the right time. Some of the people that mattered in his life, are well known to history, and some are not. The point is, they mattered to Norman, and to MANY more people. When you feel like you don’t matter, or that the decision you make are insignificant, then think of Norman Borlaug and his amazing story of saving 2 billion people on planet earth.

For example, Henry Wallace was the Vice President of the United States of America during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. Mr. Wallace needed someone to take on the huge responsibility of running the field office in Mexico whose sole purpose was to hybridize wheat and corn for arid climates. He needed a bright young mind to lead this charge, and he used the power of his office to make the decision of who to hire. Mr. Wallace looked at all fo the candidates, and only one really stood out – yes, that candidate was Norman Borlaug, and he seemed to be the perfect choice to fill the role.

Then, there is George Washington Carver – yep, the same George Washington Carver whose amazing discoveries for peanuts and sweet potatoes are legendary. But it was while he was a student at Iowa State University that GWC instilled a love for plants and a vision of how they can help people in a little 6 yr old boy. He worked with this young budding scientist to describe all of his processes and trials and errors as he developed new ideas and solutions. Carver experimented with several plants, such as sweet potatoes and soybeans, for making plant dyes. He manipulated peanut pigment to produce various dyes for cloth and leather. He also used peanut pigment to make wood stains, paint and ink. The products that we use today are credited to Carver for the incredible work he did long ago.  And, oh yes, that inquisitive young boy that worked with him at Iowa State University – well that was Henry Wallace of course.

So far in the story, you may be wondering whether or not the Nobel committee got it wrong and should have nominated George Washington Carver, or Henry Wallace instead instead of Norman Borlaug…?

Or, should they have nominated Moses Carver from Diamond, Missouri – who lived in a slave state – during a very wicked time in our country…? The gang known as Quantrill’s Raiders rolled through the Carver farm one night and destroyed everything, killed several people, including Mary Washington. It was a very dark and ugly time in our country’s history as hate and malice ruled the day. But, there was one bright note in this story, and not all of the slaves were killed that fateful night. 

Moses Carver rode several hours on a cold January night to meet those evil men dressed in white sheets to make an exchange…they tossed a half dead baby in a burlap sack to him. The exchange was made, and Moses Carver grabbed the burlap sack and said a quick prayer that the baby would survive. He took the baby and promised him that he would dedicate his life to raise the orphan baby – George Washington Carver.

We could continue this journey through several generations.

Who really knows who saved those 2 billion people – and counting?

Who knows whose future will be changed by your actions today, and tomorrow, and the next day…?

There are future generations yet unborn whose very lives depend upon the choices you make. Everything you do matters! Not just for you… not just for your family… not just for your community. Do you matter? Let me say it again: Everything you do matters to all of us – for a very long time!

All of these men in our story are also credited with being a pioneer in their fields. A pioneer is someone who goes into uncharted waters, or unclaimed territory with the purpose of exploring, colonizing, settling, or selling it. Pioneers take their destiny – and the destiny of future generations into their own hands. This commitment opens the door to exciting adventure with new allies and friendships, new treasures, and new discoveries!

Will others follow you? What are you doing that is different? What trails will you blaze that others will follow? Pioneering Leadership requires responsibility…if you are willing to take on the responsibility of leading others, then yes, others will follow you.

As you lead others to success and a life of their dreams, the life you seek and deserve will be yours! Again, when you feel like you don’t matter, think of Norman Borlaug and his amazing story of saving 2 billion people on planet earth. Good luck in your journey!

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