“I Have to Change the World”: Escape the Stories that Hold Us Back

I Have to Change the World - Escape the Stories that Hold Us Back

Written By Kurtis Vanderpool

I'm a Certified Life Coach working to help people live healthier, happier, and more helpful lives. Whether is deconstructing your faith, navigating a relationship, or just the difficulties of adulting, I have over 10 years experience coaching people to create lives they love!

June 13, 2022

“Small things done with great love change the world.”

-Mother Teresa

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”






Escaping the Story: I Have to Change the World

I have several memories tied to the cafeteria in my elementary school.

I remember the time my friend said he was “more gooder” than me and I thought he was an idiot. Even at 8 years old I was correcting people’s grammar.

I remember the time another friend made me laugh so hard my kool aid came out my nose. I didn’t know that was possible at the time so for the better part of half an hour I was convinced I was going to die.

I remember the time I accidentally picked up chocolate milk for my cereal and they wouldn’t let me put it back. I got A LOT of stares and whispers that morning with my chocolate corn flakes, which now seems like a killer idea!


But the most prominent memory I have of that room is from a pep rally.


I only remember two things from that day:.

I was wearing my black shirt with grungy red lettering that said “DARE to say no to drugs,” because…the 90s

and the speaker said something that still haunts me to this day.


She said,

“You can do anything you want if you believe in yourself.
Do what you love, and love what you do.”


This sentence left a mark on my life.


You see, I didn’t just want to be a fireman, or a doctor, or a lawyer…I wanted to enjoy whatever I did for the rest of my life. In fact, my mom once asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

My answer was “Funny”

No, no!” She said. “What do you want to DO?

Cute Kurtis’ answer: “Have fun.”

I was determined to be different from the crowd. I was going to live life to the fullest. I was going to be entirely unique, make a difference, and have fun doing it. So why did I say the speaker’s words still “haunt me” today?


Because I have failed that little kid with his DARE shirt and chocolate milk cereal.


Those words haunt me because as an adult, I am not off having adventures in every corner of the world. I am NOT helping dig wells for clean water or fighting off oppression in third world countries. Instead, I am working a job to pay my mortgage, drive a car, and occasionally enjoy weekend activities…


Just like everyone else.


I believe most of us have this story playing through our head. The story that says

“I should have done more. I gave up. I settled.”


The very last thing I wanted to do as an adult was “settle.”


The idea of getting a job, getting married, buying a house, and settling down in my hometown was tortuous to my wide-eyed, big-dreaming heart. But that’s exactly what I’ve done and it sometimes it messes with my thoughts and my emotions.

However, thanks to some incredible mentors, some great advice, and a routine of healthy mental practices, I don’t believe this story anymore.

Yes, I still hear the thoughts and am occasionally tempted to drop everything and move to Morocco, but mostly, at the end of the day I am pretty damn proud of who I am, what I do, and all the ways I change the world.

So many of us grow up wanting to be world-changers and difference-makers, but we rarely stop to ask ourselves


“By whose standard?”


We think changing the world means starting a revolution, bringing down an evil empire, ending poverty and suffering, or ushering in the kingdom of God in our lifetime. We dream big, and that’s good!

But we fail to realize that life is not lived in the big moments.

Life is found in daily encounters.
It is seen through human eyes,
felt through human fingers,
and for every single person on the planet,

their whole world is changed by the everyday actions of everyday people.


In this way, you already ARE a world changer.


You change the entire experience of life for someone every time you choose to smile at them rather than avoiding eye contact. You bring peace to the planet every time you choose to simply listen and apologize rather than fight to be right.

Simply by being present and available, you change the whole world for the people you encounter every single day.


We are world changers, my friend; you and I.


As much as we would like to see every wrong righted and suffering stamped out in our lifetime, the real truth is,

our greatest work is to be a loving presence to those around us.

By doing so, we help alleviate suffering one person at a time.


I Have to Change the World - Escape the Stories that Hold Us Back 2

I Have to Change the World – Escape the Stories that Hold Us Back 2



When Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world,” he wasn’t saying YOU have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. I believe he was encouraging us to simply embody the values we long for in our every day, boring, adult lives.

And by doing so we change the world.


Or as the late, great Michael Jackson once said,

If I wanna make a change

“I’m starting with the man (or woman) in the mirror.”


You change people’s worlds every day.


So go back to that little kid in the cafeteria, or your younger self in that college sociology class, or whatever version of yourself you feel you have let down, recognize that they don’t have the full picture or the ability to fully understand just yet, then tell them…


“You’re a world changer. We did it.



Try This


Make a list of all the people in your life that has made life better for you.

People that aren’t a big deal. No writers, athletes, or political figures. No religious or historical giants.

Who are the everyday people whose names mean nothing to the rest of the world, but to you, they are irreplaceable?

Write down each person’s name along with the ways they make your life better.

Is it their smile?
Their listening ear?
Their willingness to be there when you need them?
Their funny quips?

Once you have a list of normal people who have changed your world in very small but significant ways,


turn it around on yourself.


Recognize that you are just like them. You are a normal, every day person

and you make a huge difference on the lives of everyone around you.


Resources & Suggested Readings

I have considered writing a book on this idea; the beauty and impact of being “Radically Normal” and changing the world simply by being you.

If this is a subject that interests you, please fill out this 3 question survey!

My Articles

Other Sources

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** by Mark Manson
    • This one does have MANY F words, but it really is a great read on how to care about the important things that make up our everyday life rather than spending so much time and energy trying to live up to imagined ideals.


Links for More

Life Coaching

This is my bread and butter. I love working one on one with people and love helping you find your own unique way forward in life, career, relationships, spirituality, or whatever you are hoping to become healthier and happier in!


I post anywhere from 1-3 times weekly and am very active on my story sharing quotes, thoughts, and challenging the way we engage each other in our culture to provide a more helpful approach.


I don’t post too many videos these days. Just about anything on here can be found on my Instagram as well but if you want them all in one place then my YouTube channel is a great opiton.

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I love connecting with PEOPLE much more than just posting stuff on the web. If you’d like to connect or just have a question send me an email!

Live a Healthier, Happier Life
one change at a time.

Complete my LIFE ASSESSMENT guide and get started living a healthier, happier life today!



How to Become Happier - Kurtis Vanderpool Life Coach

Work with a Life Coach who gets it. Schedule a meeting with Kurtis today!

Live a Healthier, Happier Life
one change at a time.

Complete my LIFE ASSESSMENT guide and get started living a healthier, happier life today!


Work with a Life Coach who gets it. Schedule a meeting with Kurtis today!

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