The People Who are Crazy Enough to Think They Can Change the World…


Note: This is a post from Adam Baker, founder of Man Vs. Debt.

“Laura, did you hear about Steve Jobs?”

“Yeah, I can’t believe it. I’m surprised at how sad I am really. It sucks.”

“Me too. It feels like my favorite musician died, you know? I feel a weird connection…”

I was surprised last night to hear Steve Jobs passed away.

As I watched the tweets pour in, this is what I came away with:

Seriously, when’s the last time we cared this much about the leader of a billion dollar company?

People around the U.S. are getting together and protesting greed, excess, and bloated corporations as we speak… yet we celebrate this man who ran one of the largest, most powerful brands we’ve ever seen.

What did he do so different?

The answer may be in a video tweeted out by Richard Branson last night. It’s a 1997 Apple commercial narrated by Steve Jobs himself:

Or maybe the answer can be hidden in what I consider one of the most motivating videos on the internet (Steve’s commencement speech at Stanford):

Or maybe we can find the answer in this simple quote:

“Being the richest man in the cemetary doesn’t matter to me… Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” -Steve Jobs (WSJ 1993)

Steve Jobs inspired millions to change the world.

In honor of Steve, here are my two new life goals:

I will help one million people get out of debt.

I will raise one billion dollars for charity.

Over the last three years, I can point to at least 100 emails of people who’ve claimed we’ve helped them in whole or part get completely out of debt. I will record the names of each person, all the way to one million.

I’ve also helped raise $45,500 for charity so far through this blog and other online avenues. Before I’m done this will be $1,000,000,000.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world… 

Are the ones who do.


How will you change the world?

61 thoughts on “The People Who are Crazy Enough to Think They Can Change the World…”

  1. Great post ! I myself paid tribute to such an inspiring man….
    My life goal:
    I will try my best to change this world by helping out in it. I will no longer be a bystander to the hardships people around this world endure. I will be an active agent in being the change so many have already become.

    -I Heart Travel-

  2. I’ve seen the first video many times, and each time my breath catches in my throat. I think it’s a longing to make that kind of change, which is why I do the work I do as a coach. How will I change the world? That question reminds me of something the Dalai Lama said years ago at a speech he gave in Vancouver (from memory, paraphrasing a bit):

    “Change must start with you. Then you move onto your family. Then your community. Then your city. etc. It does not start with the world. It ends up there.”

    So the change must start with each of us. To reach more people with my work I must be healthy, mind-body-spirit, and so I’m doing the work to become more physically healthy and fine-tuning my financial resources (my husband and I are currently working through your program) so that neither of those things can stop me fro making the difference I want to make.

  3. simple and sweet tribute. I think it’s great what you’re doing for charity and your new million dollar goals. I ought to hang around here more often. I could use your advice on getting rid of my $15,000 student loan debt. 🙂

  4. wow! i wasn’t expecting to be as inspired as I am right now after reading this post. wow! Amazing! Thank you for saying all that. I am committed to making a difference in the world always, and am doing that now with a project, and you’ve just inspired me to perhaps re-light the torch on fundraising that I love so much!

    thank you!

  5. Yes. Awesome. I really like your life goals and I am determined to find something I am as passionate about, in tribute to this and all of the other people who have actually changed the world.

  6. Adam-
    Count me as a +1 on the first goal. Paid off my student loans this week – 11 years. Thanks for the advice. This was a great post – inspire as Steve does.

  7. Truly inspiring post.. ! I think dreaming big and having a plan are the two critical parts, after meeting you in Chicago, I have no doubt that you will succeed in both.. those will probably be well under what you achieve.

    Thanks for the inspiring thoughts

  8. Thanks for this Adam…and great questions especially as we see Occupy Wall Street unfold – – we are living in some extremely polarized times for sure.

    I think that one thing which happens when we lose a hero/leader is that we mourn more for our own selves – – because in each of us is a little spark of hope that we could one day aspire to be such good leaders and heroes for others.

  9. I will change the world in maybe “small” ways.
    I will earn my black belt and go on to teach (as a volunteer) at my tae kwon do school.
    I will collect and document the stories of older people in our community through my work at the local newspaper. This isn’t an “assignment” – just a niche I’ve found, where people want to share what they remember of times past, and there’s no one to record for them. I will preserve what they know for the future. I don’t have a number goal for this, except that what I receive, I will preserve. (I’m backlogged now – have about 400 submissions I haven’t blogged or printed!)
    I will help at least 500 people in my community reach or maintain their weight-loss goals as a Weight Watchers leader. (I’m “only” at about 80 now, I think, but I want to go back and see if I can document that more closely.)

    1. Joan you are seriously an amazing person – I am totally inspired by this! LOVE that you are preserving these stories for the future. If I can ever help you use technology to save time as you work to reach your goals, I’m ready to help. I have ideas for you! 🙂

    2. Mary Ann Clifford

      Baker, what a wonderful tribute. My husband works for Apple (6 years now) and so we are feeling this close to home. I want you to count us in on your first goal, we have been working on paying off our debt for two years now and are getting closer everyday. You and your website have helped, and I will let you know when we officially reach our goal, so you can count us, too. Thanks!

  10. Awesomely inspiring – love this post. I know you are going to do this and I am so grateful that our family met you at this point in your journey – it will be an inspiring one to watch!

    As for how I’m going to help change the world? I’m helping people use technology to savvily preserve their photos and memories for future generations… Oh and in the mean time I’m also showing them how to use technology to simplify their memory keeping process so they have more time to make memories – no one wants to be stuck behind a computer!


  11. I will change the world by bringing awareness and helping to save babies in the womb that are going to be and are being killed daily. The safest place on earth should be our mother’s womb. I dedicate myself to helping 100 people see and experience life vs being exterminated. I will help in a tangible way, not in an esoteric or distant soapbox.

  12. I have always loved Apple, and I remember watching the Pirates of Silicon Valley and reading about the history of the personal computer and just being in awe of Steve Jobs. Now I’ve got a lot more perspective to draw from when I look at what Steve did, having started my own business. I owe so much to Steve as inspiration, and Apple for my love of technology.

    Baker I’m giving you my support in reaching your goals. Thank you for putting it out there, and being one of the crazy people who will change the world. 🙂

  13. I’ve never owned an Apple product, but I am strangely affected by his passing, also. The Apple “change the world” commercial gave me the chills and brought me close to tears. How will I change the world? Right now I am mentoring a young man who has had some tough breaks. I hope to change lives like his one at a time.

  14. Wow Baker you are one of the “ones”.

    It’s interesting to me how participating in the Girl Effect blog campaign which I wrote fro yesterday followed by the news of Steve Jobs death catapulted me into a new and bigger mind set.

    The time is now. The world needs all the change makers it can get more desperately than ever.

    Thanks for being an inspiration!

  15. Adam:

    I sincerely hope you realize your goals, and sooner rather than later so you can set new, even more ambitious [is that possible!?!] goals.

  16. What a perfect tribute and so inspiring. How will I change the world? To commit to changing the world, to be “just crazy enough” as you say…well, it takes thinking of myself in a different context. I can’t think of me as “me” and actually believe that I could change the world. I need to think of myself as someone else. Someone who actually could. There’s that automatic thinking… that “who am I to think I can change the world?!” And then the response: “Who am I not to?” So… though it does sound crazy and doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, raising One Billion Dollars for charity is something that I am committed to. The only reason I’m hesitant to say it here is because I don’t want to be held to account for that stand. Because, holy crap that’s a lot of money!

    So, I’m saying it anyway. I second your goal. I too will raise 1 billion for charity over my lifetime. And I’ll change the world by helping people live the life of their dreams even through foreclosure and putting an end to foreclosure-related tragedies.

    Thanks for being bold enough to post this, Adam. It inspired me. It wouldn’t let me play small. No playing small!

  17. The speech at Stanford, which I have never seen until here, I think will live in my heart forever. My goal is to change the face of real estate. Lofty goal as I have no idea how I’m going to accomplish that. I’m a big fan of your site, and having already eliminated my debt, and hope to keep it that way, I encourage anyone facing debt to use your tools. I always find your posts inspiring. Thank you! Especially for this one.

  18. I think the most interesting part about Steve’s life as I know it is that we (or I at least) don’t care so much that he was a huge part of Apple. That is part of his history, yes, but what’s more important I feel is how personal he was. He lead keynotes, he spoke all over, he personally launched every product and enhancement of products at Apple.

    As the world shifts from big companies and consumers being separated by political, and corporate barriers, to companies and consumers, people with people, communicating instantly on Twitter and Facebook, I think of Steve and how personal he was with his brand, his baby.

    We knew so much about Steve, his personality, his mannerisms, his passion, that it is like a close friend just died.

  19. I am going to be traveling the country in five years trying to convince the country to change the education system in the USA

  20. Wow! This post was how I found out that he had died (being out of touch happens when you’re on the road).

    As a huge Apple fan, I think highly of Steve Jobs. He has made my life easier. In fact, his products help me to live my currently lifestyle, and inspire others to live the life they dream of living.

    His changing the world is helping me to change the world. 🙂

  21. I have always been a Windows user but I know his loss will make a great impact on the world of computers. I learned from one of my college professors , “If you want to change the society, start the change in yourself. Strive to be a better person tomorrow than you are today.”

  22. The commencement speech is one of the best speeches of all time. Sad to see him pass and I wouldn’t say that about many other corporate heads.

  23. Yes! Go Baker!!

    I have been volunteering with the San Diego Humane Society once a week for the past few months and occasionally at their big events and I did a brief drive for some of the things they need the most. It’s not enough but it’s been a foray into my community and a goal accomplished.

    There’s a quilt store down in San Diego that has a breast cancer quilt sale once a year. All the quilts are donated and all the proceeds (not just the profits, but every single penny of the sale) goes to breast cancer. This year I will make and donate a quilt.

  24. I want to do something wonderful. Life is short and you can’t take it with you. What you CAN do is find your destiny and live it. That is what Steve Jobs did.

  25. Love the comments and the posts. I like the quote (be the change you want to see in the world.) I like the fact that you have a great dream and are working towards it. There are too many people in search of a dream and need to get it back so they have a goal to strive for. Thanks again

  26. Another thought provoking post Baker, Steve Jobs was one of the world’s most popular and notorious figures.. A man that invented Apple Computers and the most successful animation company Pixar – only to be fired from Apple and was rehired as the head chief again. Steve literally transformed Apple to be one of the world’s biggest and most trusted brands. Not to mention selling Pixar for Billions to Disney.

    I just had to make sure and also pay tribute to Steve Jobs here:

    What I really loved about Jobs.

    >>An innovator that held hundreds of patents
    >> A man that loved his privacy and family, but would become one of the world’s most known personality
    >> Sheer drive and determination and follow through to complete any of his biggest concepts.
    >> A man that knew we were all here for just a short time so to make the best of this life.

    These are but a few of the rare qualities I liked about Steve. Not really a saint per say, Jobs was known to make quite a few enemies. Later, these would be the type of think different approaches that made Apple differentiate vs. the competition.

    Jobs life mesmerized me to the point that I just had to learn more who Steve Jobs is, so I put it down here:

    R.I.P. Steve Jobs,

    Dwight Anthony

    1. Sorry, dude. I learned nothing new about Steve Jobs on your blog and am sorry I followed the link. I promise you it won’t happen twice. A little Baker moderation might be in order here.

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  28. Inspiring stuff, Baker. Perhaps you could have some kind of form on your website where people can enter the amount of debt you’ve helped them clear? I know you’ve helped us get rid of several thousand already. Would be great to see a ticker or tracker of some kind.


  29. Steve Jobs was a great inventor of gadgets that we can play with and some that we can work with. I was sad to see him pass BUT when Bill Gates dies I’ll seriously cry because he’s actually made it possible for a person with little means to even the publishing playing field.

    Thanks Steve Jobs!

  30. Pingback: Apple Corp CEO Steve Jobs passes away at age 56. | DINKS Finance

  31. I find it pretty amusing that when Steve Job died the whole world mourns. But when the creator of UNIX died, Dennis Ritchie, it barely made the news. And you cannot say Steve Job’s innovations were greater than Dennis’s. Just saying…

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  33. While there is no doubt Jobs was a great innovator, that doesn’t make him a great human being. I particularly disliked that he abandoned his daughter until she was grown.

  34. The thing I love most about the story of Jobs was his educational path. A semester or two in community college (where he mostly just audited courses without paying for them, or formally receiving the credit) and some time in an Ashram, and Jobs decided he was ready to change the world. I love great thinkers that turn “commonly held truths” like, “You have to attend university/college to be successful,” on their head.

  35. To have passion and determination like Steve Jobs is to have lived your life so that it matters. I think he has motivated people to “live your life on purpose”

  36. everyone sympathized with Steve Jobs passing away because of the products we so love and depend on were his ideas. If Bill Gates passed away, would he receive the same amount of grieving from his fans? Probably because Microsoft really changed the way we live. The two were great friends and were brilliant. Two of a kind, once in a lifetime.

  37. I am glad that he has inspired you to do big things. Interesting that the two things you were inspired to do are things that Steve Jobs would never do. He probably put a lot of people in debt with his expensive products, and he is notorious for being stingy and not giving to charity. I think he even shut down Apple’s charitable endeavors when he returned to the company. I have read a lot about how big of a jerk he was, but I guess that goes to show that people will love you if what you produce is great. I already consider you a better person than he was. Thanks for doing what you do.

  38. Those two videos contain some of my favourite quotes of all time. I’ve never owned any Apple products, but Steve Jobs’ passing was poignant to me purely because of the passionate speeches he gave.

    I certainly feel like a square peg in a round hole, and I’m proud.

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