What Bothers You Most In The World?

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When I’m traveling on the road, speaking at colleges and universities around the country, I get several questions over and over again, no matter where I am in the country. The one question I might get more than any other goes a little something like this,

“Shaun, I am bothered by injustice, I am bothered by Donald Trump, I am bothered by police brutality, I am bothered by racism and xenophobia, I am bothered by the issues of the world, but I just don’t know what to do about it. Where do I begin?”

I get that question everywhere I go. The fact of the matter is that our country is so messed up right now, that people are overwhelmed to the point that it’s hard to know where to start. Yes, people will march and protest and sign petitions, but we’ve crossed a point where people want to know what exactly do they do after they march and protest and sign petitions.

Well, that’s exactly what I want to help you all out with this morning. And I’m going to start with a quote from Dr. Howard Thurman, one of the most beloved alums of Morehouse College, and a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Howard Thurman said,

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Let me read that one more time.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Before I was doing the justice work that I do today, I was a pastor in Atlanta for over 10 years. The question I asked people to help them find their purpose and passion in life was very similar to Dr. Thurman’s, but simpler. I want to ask it of you this morning. It’s actually a deeply personal question that must be answered if you are going to go out and make a difference in the world.

What disturbs you most in the world? What issue, what crisis, what problem in our country personally shakes you up and bothers you the most?

See, we often assume that our answer is the same answer as the people around you, but I’ve asked that question to thousands of people across the country, and people assume that what bothers them is what bothers everybody else, but it’s just not true. Your answer to that question is deeply reflective of your own life. It’s as unique as your fingerprint.

I am deeply bothered and troubled by police brutality, deep down in my soul, because I was once assaulted as a kid, and abandoned by those in authority who knew full well that they could help me, but chose to do nothing. When people in authority abuse their power, it bothers me in a way that I can’t fully explain.

You need to answer that question for yourself. What bothers you the most? For you, it might be child literacy or failing schools, it might be income inequality, it might be seeing immigrants or Muslims discriminated against, it might be issues related to mental health or homelessness, it might be human trafficking. The first step to finding out where you begin to make the world a better place starts in finding the one issue that breaks your heart.

And this morning, I want to ask you to become a specialist. The world has enough generalists, who care a little bit here and there about a whole lot of stuff. But the world we’re living in right now needs you to put your feet down and decide to actually make some change happen. That begins with you deciding what your primary cause is going to be.

I’ll close with this thought….

You can always change your mind later, but what I have found is that once you answer the question of what bothers you the most in the world, and then make up in your mind that you will dedicate your life to moving the needle on that problem, it immediately becomes so much easier for you to find the people and organizations and partners that you need to work with to solve that problem.

You don’t have to answer the question today, but soon, answer the question of what bothers you the most in the world, and then commit to being the change you want to see in the world.

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9 thoughts on “What Bothers You Most In The World?

  1. This may sound trivia; but the other thing that bothers me is the way most young people pre-teens, and teens, and even people in their 30s 40s & 50s walk around with their heads down glued to a cell phone. I tell (especially) young people that the world is passing them by bc in most instances they aren’t aware of what’s going on around them. Drives me crazy when I see people out on a date, at a restaurant, at the park, or mall, and NO one is talking to each other…..instead they are totally focused on their electronics. SMDH!!

  2. High ‘A’ food prices! Especially healthy foods. It shouldn’t cost $1 for (1) one Apple, or Orange, $10.99 or $11.99 a pound for cold cuts such as Turkey, $4 for a head of Romaine Lettuce or $4 for a bag of Kale. Housing costs for (SOME) of our Seniors is out of control. We need to make sure that our Seniors are living a comfortable life in their golden years. They have paid their dues, and shouldn’t struggle every month to pay their rent or house payment, utilities, and buy food. Notice I said SOME, bc some Seniors did indeed prepare for retirement. Overall living costs are out of control, and salary for those still in the work (in lots of instances) aren’t keeping pace

  3. What bothers me is CHUMP as President!!!!!
    He is an UN-QUALIFIED TURD!!!!!!!

    Instead of this president uniting folks-He is doing EVERYTHING TO DIVIDE US!!!!!!!!!

  4. Hey Shaun, where’s that halftime tweet? I am sure your loyal sycophants would want to see it. Why did you delete it? Isn’t that a form of rewriting history?
    The New England Patriots are your Super Bowl LI champions, just as Donald J. Trump is YOUR President.

  5. That photo just may be the oddest thing I’ve seen in years. What is wrong with this woman? She looks like she’s kneeling in front of a funeral spray in he draws. Somebody help me. What am I missing?

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