I don't know how well this pertains to your question but this is what comes to mind:
I am inspired and motivated by others success if it appears to have given them a genuine sense of accomplishment and lasting happiness. However, I don't believe it is rewarding in the long run to seek others approval as a justification for the actions we choose. By relying on our own judgment, (including what we learn from others), and acting on behalf of our own rational self-interest we achieve our highest potential as individuals and thereby ultimately contribute the greatest value to those with whom we interact.
Thanks for your thought provoking questions.
I guess a simplified version of your question would be, can one person change the world. I do believe that the one's good works can have a global effect, like the 'Pay it forward' technique where one helps another and thus their actions influence the one they help to 'Pay' the kindness forward to another person and so on. I also believe that everyone is presented a chance to be kind at some time. Human kindness should not be underestemated.
I believe that it is possible to achieve a collective effect. Like duodoublescythe mentioned the "pay it forward" effect. I think that my actions towards people can influence they way they will interact with others and they with the next and on down the line.
I don't believe that any individual's actions (whether they be ordinary people or 'great leaders') influences world events. However, I do believe that the actions of the ordinary person, working in concert with other individuals, can greatly influence world events (but not through meditation - through action).
Individual leaders sometimes seem to 'change the course of history', but a closer analysis of the context within which these individuals are operating always shows that prevailing conditions favoured their exercise of power and 'momentous deeds' and they were always backed by powerful elites/groups.
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