Feb 192012

Cuenca, Ecuador.

When I first joined Pisco Sin Fronteras (the voluntary organization in Pisco, Peru, where I took my first tentative steps in improving the World), I was asked to introduce myself: Name, where I was from, how long I was staying and my superpower. While I was there I heard a lot of superpowers come by: Being able to fly, getting lost everywhere, able to drink a can of beer in 2.3 seconds (the last one was is a confirmed superpower. An additional power seemed to be able to vomit over a distance of more than 2 meters…)

My own answer was that I had mighty Excel powers (how nerdy can you get?!? It was however a very handy superpower to have there. Improving the world by getting the finances in order).

A lot has happened in my life the last year and a half (roughly in chronological order): Looking for a new job, breaking up with my girlfriend, deciding to go traveling, more responsibility at work, greeting a lot of wonderful new people in my life, talking about many new things with my old friends, going traveling, volunteering, thinking about life the universe and where I stand in between the two…

Through all this I found that my conversations have been markedly different from before. Sure, I still talk about work, the weekend, common acquaintances (everybody loves gossip!), etc. But more and more I find that subjects are about what could be different. In our lives, in the world.

It’s very hard to find anybody that is truly satisfied, that would not want something better in some part of their live. More fulfilling work, a loving partner, getting rid of a limiting fear… And it is also very hard to find anybody that is willing to actually go out and make the changes that they want. “The evil that you know is better than the evil that you don’t know”?

This is where I find myself different. I like to pick up new things. I love to improve my life. I’m still afraid to fail (though I know it’s good to make mistakes; how else can you learn?), I do worry about what others think (though more and more I’m realizing that other people are far too busy with their own worries to expend the effort to go and judge me). But I’m not letting that stop me. After all, if I don’t pick it up, who is going to?

What I like best is that I’ve been able to draw other people out as well. To make them embrace a bit of change, to try to make things better for themselves. Just to listen to someone and hear their dreams. To ask what is stopping them to do what they want. To tell someone “I believe you can do that”. Improving the world by giving people a kick in the but to take charge of their own happiness…

If I were to join Pisco Sin Fronteras anew, my introduction would be different. My name is still the same (though after 4 months in South America I find myself going by the name of “Sebastian” more and more, as it avoids a lot of confusion). My superpower is a love for change, improvement. And I won’t be jumping over buildings or stopping bullets with it, Superman’s job is quite safe. But I’m sure I’ll find enough opportunities of my own to help out.