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Jane Goodall

"What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."

British Primatologist/Anthropologist/Author

World's Foremost Expert on Chimpanzees

1934 - 

Are you making a difference?  Are you leaving your small corner of the world a better place than when you found it?  More than 25 years ago, I was fired from a job and immediately put my house up for sale because I knew I would have to move in order to find another job in my field.  A couple weeks later, my wife and I stopped at a nursery and purchased a cherry tree that we planted in the backyard.  Now, we were never going to see this tree grow, but we did it anyway.  I have strong belief that you need to leave a place better than you found it.  You need to give back and that is what I was doing.  On a couple of occasions, I had a chance to revisit this house and I saw that the tree had grown into a beautiful tree. 

In the moments before I speak, I motivate myself by repeating over and over to myself:  "I will touch the life of at least one person.  I will make a difference in the life of one person."  I know I won't touch everyone, but if I am able to motivate one person to be better than he is, then I know I have done my job.  As writers and artists we have the same opportunity to make a difference in people's lives.

I had an opportunity to hear Jane Goodall speak about her work about ten years ago.  My wife, daughter and I drove three hours to hear her speak.  Then we stood in a long line so she could sign a book for my daughter.  We did not arrive home until about 2 am.  Jane Goodall was an inspiration for my daughter.  She made a difference in my daughter's life.  

How are you touching the lives of the people who view your paintings or read your books?  Are you leaving your corner of the world better than you found it?

Watch this video of Jane Goodall and her research.

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