Swipe right (and up) for social impact
Monday 🩳 No. 4
I’m currently in the process of weighing various opportunities for social impact. While it feels a bit strange to compare two worthy uses of time, there is often one that has greater potential for impact than the others.
To evaluate potential impact, I like this simple definition by 80,000 Hours:
Your social impact is given by the number of people whose lives you improve and how much you improve them, over the long term.
To increase your social impact, you might:
1) Seek out potential to help more people
This is about considering what actions would positively impact the most amount of human lives. If you believe all human lives are equal, then you should strive to be impartial and resist special preference to those who you happen to know, those of a particular nationality or gender - and in some schools of thought, when they happen to be born.
2) Seek out potential to help people to a greater degree
This mindset keeps us from favoring particular solutions. If there exists two solutions to decrease suffering, but a popular one that increases a person’s wellbeing by 30% but another, less known one, that increases wellbeing by 80%, then the natural choice should be to take action using the latter (so long is there is not one that increases wellbeing by an even greater degree)!
That’s the crux of it: swipe right and up to increase your social impact.
In reality, there is no perfect definition. Defining what it means to have social impact gets a lot into moral philosophy as there are many points of view on how to live an ethical life. The above definition might shift, for example, according to the weight you put on the lives of animals or the environment.
Personally, I’m using this as a starting point to get me thinking critically about what positive impact I want to have during my life.