How Imperfect People Can Do Great Things

imperfect people

Whether we wish we could serve the poor and alleviate suffering like Mother Teresa or pioneer critical scientific research like Marie Curie, we all dream of doing beautiful, world-changing things with our lives. Yet, no matter how much we might long to follow in the footsteps of such women, who in fact believes themselves capable of that kind of greatness?

Perhaps we can imagine ourselves doing so in the future — when we are “older and wiser” — but in our present, imperfect condition? Hardly.

The truth is, we all have flaws and shortcomings that lead us to believe we are unfit to make a deep impact in our world. What we must remember, though, is that even our most revered heroes are flawed. It has been reported, for example, that Mother Teresa suffered from deep depression and a sense of isolation throughout her life. Humanitarian and founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton, also struggled with several internal fears and anxieties.

Despite such challenges, however, both of these women lived out incredible, admirable lives – and we can, too. No one is perfect (news flash), and each of us has limitations. Whether we struggle with emotional or health issues, or face disheartening circumstantial obstacles, we are not unique in our weaknesses. Yet, we distinguish ourselves from one another in how we deal with these weaknesses.

 If we desire to make a difference in the world around us, we must trust more in the power of our love than in the discouragement of our disadvantages.

What I observe most about the people I see achieving their goals is a complete focus on the needs of others. If we desire to make a difference in the world around us, we must trust more in the power of our love than in the discouragement of our disadvantages. Doing good is not about reaching a certain level of success or about being better than others, but about doing what is in our power to make the world around us just a little bit more beautiful.

Our desires were placed on our hearts for a reason, so let us never be afraid to begin the change we were created for. Though we will never be perfect and will continue to make mistakes, we are nevertheless capable of growth and of goodness — and even greatness — through the perseverance of our wills.

Helen Keller articulates this well: “Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”

What do you dream of accomplishing? What fears or imperfections are holding you back?


Amy is a writer and marketing professional based in Los Angeles. She is passionate about creating meaningful dialogue and empowering women through her writing, which has been featured on The Huffington Post, Grit & Virtue, and Milk & Honey Magazine, among other blogs and websites.

  • Great read! I bookmarked this to go back to whenever I need a little bit of encouragement and a reminder that nobody is perfect. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Hannah August 8, 2016

    Definitely needed to read this struggling with health isues and circumstantial situations, but no effort regardless of how we feel is a waste. Thank you for this encouraging article!

    • Amy Cummins August 9, 2016

      I’m so glad you found the article encouraging, Hannah. Thanks for the kind feedback!

  • Beth Colletti May 2, 2016

    What a lovely reminder – I needed to hear this today! And I love Helen Keller’s wise words: “Remember no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”

  • Megan May 2, 2016

    This is absolutely beautiful!


  • Elise Hodge May 2, 2016

    This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Our desires were placed in our hearts for a reason – I love that. This is something I talk a lot about on my blog. X

  • Heather Elizabeth May 1, 2016

    This quote from Goethe graces the shelf above our computer and is fits your well written words: “Whatever you would do, BEGIN it. BOLDNESS has courage, genius and magic in it.”

  • Jane May 1, 2016

    Amy this is so beautiful, thank you for this timely encouragement to keep moving and pushing on ?

  • I liked this piece so much. I recently read a quote that said something like, “Don’t wait to be ready before you start. Just start”…Something along those lines and it seems to jive with what you’re saying here. We’re never going to be ready enough, we just have to be willing and brave enough. Thanks for a great piece!

    • Amy Cummins April 30, 2016

      Yes, exactly! Thanks so much for sharing the quote and insight, Marie Therese. 🙂