The psychology behind why we want to change the world

…even if we have to sacrifice ourselves

Mike Fishbein
6 min readAug 4, 2017

There are many big problems in the world today. We may not all agree on what those problems are, or what the best solutions to those problems are, but I think we can all agree there are problems.

The awareness of these problems motivates us to join or start mission-driven companies and nonprofits, donate our hard-earned money to good causes, march at protests, and share articles on social media.

These are noble ventures that do make a positive impact. But let’s be real for a minute. Changing the world is hard. Our efforts to do so come at a cost.

Political activism, for example, is stressful and time consuming. Depending on the cause, and your environment, it can hurt your relationships with friends and family or even cost you your job.

I had a friend who ruined his relationship with his boss over something he shared on Facebook. He thought that by sharing it he could change his Facebook friends’ minds, and that if he did, it would make the world a better place. I’m not sure if it changed anyone’s mind, but it did change his ability to make a living.

An old co-worker of mine quit his big consulting job after six months to work on the Hilary Clinton campaign…