Making an IMPACT

Written on behalf of the PlushMoney Impact program by Sarah Chang

Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not a business student. Not even close. In fact, before I actively started to fill the woefully large holes in my knowledge of personal finance, I would have guessed that APR stood for “authors, publishers, and readers.” So when I was asked to write a blog for PlushMoney: Project Impact, naturally I decided to go down the list of business/leadership books I have read, wanted to read, was recommended to read, really-don’t-want-to-but-probably-ought-to read, and then blog about them all, one book at a time.

Here’s what I figured: a) I know almost nothing about business/finance, especially compared to my illustrious peers at Project Impact, but b) I looove books, and c) this gives me an excuse to read to my heart’s content and learn something new, so d) excellent. Let’s get started!

Except, just before I was about to set pen to paper (finger to keyboard, that is), something changed my mind. That something was this:

To Save a Life is an independent film about a boy named Jake who thinks his life is going just fine until his social outcast former best friend—who happens to also have saved Jake’s life as a child—brings a gun to school and commits suicide.

If you think this plot summary has the potential to become the corniest, cheesiest, yellow-food-iest movie ever, I’ll tell you what—that’s what I thought, too. Before I saw the movie for myself. But of course, there is far more to the film than that five-second synopsis I just whipped up—so much more that I’m not even going to attempt to get it all. You’ll just have to watch it for yourself and make your own call.

But what does a movie about teenage problems have to do with a summer course on leadership and personal finance? One word: impact.

It’s in the name of our group. It’s part of our stated goal. But what is it? After watching To Save a Life, I saw that an impact is not necessarily an action, or something we set out to create. Instead, humans are making impacts every single second—no, every single millisecond— on ourselves, on our world, and especially on people we will never even know.

In To Save a Life, Jake realizes that by ignoring a friend in order to hang out with the popular crowd, he contributed to that friend’s suicide. Technically, Jake didn’t actually do anything to cause the tragedy…but by doing nothing, he did something. Whether we try or we don’t, we’re always making an impact. Big or small, good or bad, strong or weak, we always set off ripples in a pond…and we don’t know where they might end.

You see, before Project Impact, we’d been making impacts. During Project Impact, we will be making impacts. After Project Impact, we will still be making impacts. It’s the way life works. But it’s up to us to control the direction, the magnitude, and, as far as possible, the effects.

So I hope and pray that in these few short weeks, we will learn from each other as much as we can—help each other as much as we can—and that every one of us will become even more conscious of the ripples we create in our world(s), all the time. May we always strive to make the most powerful, positive impacts in everything we set out to do.


P.S. I have been going through an acronym phase recently, and as I was typing this entry, I came up with one for IMPACT:  Individuals Making Positive Actions Change Things. Not the smoothest grammar, but hey, sometimes sacrifices must be made for things to work–in the writing world as well as in the real world.

P.P.S. You were probably wondering what happened to Jake, weren’t you? As a voracious reader myself, I hate it when people end a story on a sour note, so I won’t do that to you. But I don’t want to spoil the plot, either, so let’s just say that–after the tragedy happens, Jake begins to notice the unnoticed and reaching out to the outcasts in ways that ripple out and change his school, his family, and himself. Oh, and as a result, he also saves a life (more than one, really), in a dramatic but amazingly realistic fashion.

It is in the title, after all.

Here’s wishing you all an IMPACT-ful weekend and beyond!


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