Some world leaders rule with an iron fist. A few have gone down in history as being some of the evilest people to ever walk on our planet.
At the other end of that spectrum are the most compassionate leaders in world history. Some people have managed to change the world by using empathy as their greatest resource.
Here are the individuals you’ll want to get to know.
1. St. Francis of Assisi
A young man took a pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Basilica in 1206. He noticed how those outside the religious structure were hurting while those inside enjoyed lavish opulence. He willingly chose to live in poverty so that he could get to know the people that the church claimed to serve.
2. John Howard Griffin
This white man, born in Texas, decided to live like an African-American in the south in 1959. He even went as far as dying his skin black. Over six weeks, he’d travel across five different states to understand the challenges of race in his communities. Griffin had to walk miles to use a toilet, received racial abuse, and had numerous physical violence threats levied against him.
3. Patricia Moore
Moore decided to see what life was like as an older adult when she was only 26. She put on makeup, changed her clothing, and altered her gait to make it look like she was 85. For over three years, she would visit several cities in disguise to discover the challenges that people faced. Her work led to the Americans With Disabilities Act getting signed into law.
4. Gunther Wallraff
Wallraff worked as an investigative journalist. He ended up spending two years as an undercover immigrant worker, dealing with backbreaking jobs and disgusting responsibilities. He once had to unblock toilets while standing in ankle-deep human waste. Not only were the conditions something out of the 19th century, but his fellow Germans also treated him as a second-class citizen.
You don’t need to be a prime minister, a president, or a king to change the world. Sometimes the most noticeable changes come from ordinary people who want to make a positive difference in people’s lives.