by Daniel Francavilla

After reading Leaving Microsoft to Change the World during March Break this year, I became even more inspired to get out there and do something to change the world. The book is by a former Microsoft executive named John Wood, who left a very promising career track to form a charity called Room to Read at age 35.

Wood's charity helps thousands of children across the developing world break the cycle of poverty through the power of education. This is exactly the type of thing I feel so strongly about, and is the main cause of ACCESS.

What’s interesting is that both Wood and myself were inspired by first-hand experiences in the developing world. I went on a high-school exposure trip to the Dominican Republic, and Wood went to Nepal – originally just as a getaway from his stressful job – but made a promise to the impoverished people he met that he would one day come back with books. And, he did, and has now opened hundreds of schools and thousands of libraries in the developing world.

Still, some people say there are too many charities and non-profits already. But I believe it’s not about the format or structure of how good work is being done, it’s about the fact that everyone needs to do his or her share.

People say they want a revolution. Well, it all starts with you. There are plenty of problems in the world today... climate change, terrorism, war, poverty, disease, economic disparity, hopelessness and more. But you can do something. Here’s what I learned from Leaving Microsoft to Change the World about this:

Don’t spend too much time thinking about it – just dive in.

Yes, there are things in our way like student loans that need to be repaid, previous career commitments, advice from advice from family and friends, the need to write a serious plan of action… Take care of these things, but don’t loose momentum getting through all these obstacles! As with John Wood, people will talk you out of pursuing your dream. Too many people will tell you why something might not work. Stop yourself from thinking, “I don’t live there, it’s not my problem”.

So, when all you’re thinking about is getting through University and hitting it big as a high-powered executive or owning a successful business, just think of those who have made charitable activities and causes a major part of their daily lives, including the most successful business people such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Wood had to make many sacrifices from his high-class life, like downgrading his condo and firing his personal driver, but doing good work for the world has got him on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, Fox News, National Geographic TV, Time Magazine, Forbes, the New York Times, and many more!

Success isn’t defined by how much money you make. It’s about what you do with your time and money that makes your life worthwhile.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world!" - Gandhi

Educate. Empower. Inspire.