That’s Oleg Lougheed, my boss and former orphan. I work for Overcoming Odds (now exclusively, after quitting my job at the factory yesterday; don’t worry, I’ll have something else lined up soon). Right now I help the orphans/adoptees edit their stories for the Stand Up & Speak Up campaign.
I could rename this post because my donation doesn’t fit with what I think that you, the reader, should do. It still fits the theme. I think it’s a good cause. Adoptees and orphans need a forum to have their stories heard. If you read their stories, you’ll find that, post-adoption, things don’t always work out. In fact, rape, abuse, and kidnapping is common.
I believe in the power of the narrative to help other adoptees know that things are going to be difficult — that the odds are against them, so to speak — but they can still live happy, meaningful, and fulfilling lives as long as they stick with it.
Is there a chance that the money I donate comes right back to me, even though the non-profit doesn’t yet have enough money to pay me? Yes. Then I’ll donate to somewhere else.
Although I do know that right now Oleg needs the money to buy the “.com” domain name for Overcoming Odds, because Google is having a tough time indexing the page correctly. That’s as good a cause as any, because I believe in Overcoming Odd’s mission (which is to eventually restructure the entire adoption process).
Rule: With your 10%, give to whatever charity you feel like. Ideally, research that charity first-hand to figure out whether or not it’s effective. However, if that’s not possible, use Charity Navigator. You can spend your money however you want, supporting any cause you feel needs more attention.
The only way you could make any logical argument against charitable giving is to say that it will only cause suffering.
No matter who you are, no matter how optimistic, I refuse to believe that you think that your selfless giving TO WHATEVER CAUSE YOU CHOOSE will damage the world. That somehow it will only cause more greed and suffering. Let the girl drown, so to speak.
The point of this post isn’t to tell you to donate to Overcoming Odds; the point is to tell you to donate wherever you believe the money — and your involvement, if that applies — will have the most impact. Right now, that’s where I’m contributing. If you think it would help (it would; and trust me, the organization will be big one day, so you won’t regret it), then do it. If you don’t, don’t.
The thing I hate most about working for non-profits is the fact that you have to ask for hand-outs from people who are adamantly opposed to giving away hand-outs.
I don’t give the shitty, bloated organizations money at the grocery store when they ask for a dollar. I don’t give a homeless man a dollar when he begs. I don’t even like being associated with those things.
I don’t know anything about those organizations or those people. Instead, I make it a point to give where I believe I can have the most impact.
Again: The point isn’t to give money to the non-profit that I work for. The point is to define your own goals.
How to Change the World, from Professor Jordan Peterson
Around ten minutes in to this video, titled, “How to Change the World — Properly,” Jordan Peterson talks about aiming for the highest possible good. The crux of the video, paraphrasing Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, is this: In order to change the world, an individual first needs to look at, and define, his/her own motives and impact, then maximize achievement at those goals (“first cast out the beam of thine own eye”), before trying to fix others (“then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye”).
The aim is on the individual — not the collective, an important distinction. If you change the individual, you’ll eventually change the collective. Start small and work up.
I see myself as a fairly selfish person, but even I don’t think that I can change the world before I change myself.
It’s a philosophy that I believe is very consistent with our current capitalist system, which already provides opportunities to lower-class individuals in ways that are unmatched in many other countries. There is, however, much room for improvement.
Ask yourself, “What is ultimately good for me, for my family, for society, for the world?”
Act on it.
Then: Speak the truth. Spread the word. Nobody would have even had the chance to listen to Ghandi if he kept his mouth shut.
(I have no idea why the quality of this image is so awful. The aspect ratio when I snipped it was 750×200, but it looks like WordPress compressed it. Also: I know that 10% of $1128 isn’t $125, but I also sold an old video game console on eBay).
*Humanitarian Social Innovations sponsors Overcoming Odds.*