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#17 "Your Single Greatest Asset"

Have you ever seen the Christmas movie Elf? It is about a man named Buddy who was raised to adulthood by Santa’s Elves. While living in the North Pole, he learned that his biological dad lived in New York City, so he took off on an adventure in full elf attire to meet his dad. He told everyone he met in New York about the North Pole. Of course every New Yorker thought he was crazy until he used his Christmas spirit to save Christmas. Recently I interviewed Seth Maxwell, the founder of The Thirst Project, and his story reminds me of the movie Elf. The Thirst Project is a nonprofit organization that empowers young people to end the global water crisis by building freshwater wells in developing communities. Go check it out!

You are probably wondering what Seth Maxwell and Buddy the Elf have in common. When Seth was nineteen, he was shocked to learn that there were 1.1 billion people who did not have access to safe, clean drinking water. Seth grabbed a few friends, headed to the grocery store, bought one thousand bottles of water, and started handing them out on Hollywood Boulevard. Each time they handed out a bottle, they shared the fact that over one billion people don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water. On that first day, they not only gave out one thousand bottles of water, they also raised $1,700!

Seth and his friends continued to share the story about people without safe water. As they shared, they realized that there were so many water organizations but none of them were empowering students. So, that is who they targeted. They now travel all across the country to middle schools, high schools and college campuses sharing that same story to young people and giving them the materials to change it. On that first day, everyone in Hollywood may have thought he was crazy until The Thirst Project raised nine million dollars to build freshwater wells in developing countries!

So, what can we learn from Seth? He mentioned to me that what you think is your greatest challenge is most likely your single greatest asset. Maybe you think you are not old enough, not wealthy enough or not popular enough to make an impact. Seth was just a nineteen-year-old college kid living in one of the most expensive cities in the world when he started to make a difference by handing out one bottle of water at a time and sharing information about a problem. We can also learn that if we have an idea to change the world, we should act on it, even if it sounds crazy.  Buddy the Elf met his Dad and saved Christmas by walking around New York City in an Elf suit. Seth founded The Thirst Project which has served water to 413,427 people worldwide which started by handing out water bottles on Hollywood boulevard. 

It has been said that the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do (Steve Jobs). What problem do you care about and how are you going to share it with the world?

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