Nerds (and you) Who Are Changing the World

Nerd Alert: I was a big fan of the show Chuck when it was on the air.

Non-nerds stay with me, this is relevant, I promise.

It was a campy spy comedy that ran for 5 seasons on NBC solely because of its incredibly supportive fan base. It was a story that could appeal to the underdog in all of us–how one underachieving, good-hearted guy could get the chance to save the world, get the girl and fulfill his potential. Fun, right? But what does that have to do with heroes?


Well, meet Chuck’s alter-ego, Zachary Levi. Real life nerd, actor and philanthropist.


After achieving moderate fame, Levi decided he wanted to give back, and so began the search for a worthy cause that he could support. Levi found the children’s charity Operation Smile and began using his platform to help underprivileged kids around the world. Cool, right?

Then he took it a step further and combined his passion for all things nerdy and his passion to change the world. In 2010, Levi started an annual event called Nerd HQ, which runs along side San Diego Comic Con. (Still there? Good.) As both a fundraiser and highly anticipated event, Nerd HQ raised $140,000 for Operation Smile last year alone!


Well, as a fan, and a nerd myself, I was following this progress with interest. That’s how I came across a speech Zachary Levi gave to fellow Operation Smile supporters. 

In this speech, Levi read a Franciscan benediction that had me re-evaluting my life.

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done; To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor. 


Wow. Living a life like that would be heroic, indeed. So how does this apply to you? I suggest we take the benediction as inspiration and use Zachary Levi as a template.

What are your passions? What is your niche? What is your sphere of influence?

Levi gave the nerd community something they didn’t even know they wanted, and in return they gave towards a cause that was close to his heart AND changed the world. 

If you had the opportunity, how would you change the world? Free the 27 million people that are living in slavery today? Lobby to see farmers protected from agribusiness conglomerates and our food better protected? Fill in the blank with whatever change you want to see.

Now my challenge to all you heroes out there:

Pick ONE thing that you long to see changed. Now make a list of three small steps you could take to start to see that change.

Maybe its finding a charity that already exists that you could support. (“Where your treasure lies, there is your heart.”) Maybe its writing a letter. Maybe its telling friends about this passion, so that others can catch the flame. Whatever it is, move towards that goal.

Go ahead, be so foolish as to think that you can change the world. Because we can.

The link to Levi’s whole speech if you want to see it.

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