What would it take?
Actually . . . you're already doing it - every single day!
Everyone does in one way or another. Most people think about it only when someone else wins a gold medal in the Olympics or gets elected to office or is hired in a high-profile job or receives the Nobel Peace Prize.
I would encourage you to think what impact you are making and whether or not you want to change that level. Is the reward you receive enough for you?
The derelict begging for change has a positive impact on the world.
The positive contribution the derelict lies in the fact that the derelict uses minimal resources. What do I mean? The derelict occupies shared public buildings and owns very little. Compare the amount of resources required to sustain a derelict as opposed to a wealthy person. The wealthy person builds a 20-room mansion for 4 people using far more of the earth's and society's resources than necessary to sustain 4 people in terms of space, land, electricity, resources to make all the "stuff" in a 20-room mansion, the many cars in the garage, fuel, and other costs associated with that lifestyle. You get the picture. Yes, it's true that the derelicts may avail themselves of medical services and the welfare system but think how much less that is costing us, as a society, than the 20-room mansion. The reward is often freedom from the society's conventions or responsibility or sometimes people need to "check out" for a while.
Now, on the other side of the fence, wealthy people also have a positive impact on the world. Their mansions are often donated to museums and other organizations. Donations often satisfy the ego since their names will be forever attached to the estate but for the general public to build such a museum would cost far more. Wealthy people also make, in some cases, sizeable donations such as Bill and Melinda Gates who have made education a priority and are willing to put their accumulated wealth in the service of that foray. Their rewards are many and as varied as the derelict's.
Think About Your Impact
Every single day, you and I make a positive impact on our world - a smile, a kind word, a job well done, our volunteer work. Every day I see it. I see how the volunteer answering the phone in a hospital helps anxious family and friends with a bit of information about the patient. A mother helps another family hit with an emergency by sitting the kids. Someone gives someone else a hug to comfort. And yet others celebrate a great event in another person's life.
In general, we all make a positive impact. Our deeds may not get the attention in the press or be reflected in the money we earn. Nonetheless, the impact is positive and offsets the negativity surrounding us.
Every day - how do you want to make an impact? Decide for yourself. Know yourself. If you want your contributions to be in the background and hidden, then do so. If you want to get on Anderson Cooper, then set a plan in action to get there - what can you do that will assure the fifteen minutes of fame you desire? If you want to be a board member for an organization you believe in, do it. If you want to help in a soup kitchen, there are opportunities. Find what will make your heart feel warm and fuzzy and be grateful for the chance to give.
You're in charge! Decide. Plan. Take action.