Your Greatest Joy / The World´s Greatest Need


Each person has something that brings deep joy and pleasure to our lives. Whether it's making music, photography, reading, writing, acting, running, playing with children, being outside, cooking a meal, or doing math equations, we all have things that we love to do, which others don’t like as much. We also have things that call to our heart, issues that create a longing for justice, for resolution, for action. Whether it is the global threat of rapid, human caused climate change, the plight of refugees, or the inadequate education systems around the world, these causes bring us a feeling that we must do something.

This activity mixes the knowledge of each person’s greatest joy, with recognizing and seeing the world’s greatest needs, to create the possibilities for finding one’s passion and ideal life path.

Activity Type

Individual or Group/ Theoretical (with the intention of making experiences)


30 minutes to 1 hour

Learning Outcomes

  • To find one’s greatest joys and one’s greatest passions

  • To think about, speak about, and get feedback on how these can be combined to find your ideal life path


Required Materials and Tools:

  • Paper and pen for each participant

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Ask each participant to draw two vertical lines dividing their page into three. Then ask each participant to write in the left hand column of the page a list of their greatest joys (at the top of the list they write “My Greatest Joys”. This includes anything they like to do, whatever that may be. The only requirement is that it is something they love and feel excited by or happy about. Examples include any of the activities listed in the introduction. Give them 5-10 minutes.

  2. Ask each participant to write in the right hand column of the page (leave the middle blank) a list of the issues in the world (at the top of the column they write “The World’s Greatest Needs”). This is a list of the things that they care the most about, feel the most passion and concern for happening in the world right now. Examples include: poverty, gender equality, deforestation, ocean acidification/pollution, climate change, species extinction, fracking, lack of clean water, the conflict in Syria, Israel-Palestine, Congo etc. Give them 5-10 min.

  3. Ask each participant to look at both lists and then begin to match their “Greatest Joys” with “the World’s Greatest Needs”, so that they can start to see the connections between what they like to do and what they care about. Examples include: writing songs about global poverty or pollution, teaching others about climate change, running a race to raise money for cures for cancer, cooking meals for people who need support, etc. Give each participant 5-10 minutes.

  4. Have the participants break into groups of three and give each other feedback, support, and help. Sometimes it takes the help of another to see the possibilities, so this is a chance for them to help each other out, to find their possible life passion or career path, that they might not have thought of before.

  5. Bring everyone together at the end and do a quick circle of what people’s personal passions, where their greatest joys meet the world’s greatest needs. Make sure the group applauds for each persons’ sharing, to give a sense of support and excitement about all the possibilities.


  • Was this a useful activity?

  • Did participants feel inspired and/or excited by the activity?

  • Did participants learn something new about themselves, or what they want to do with their lives?

  • How would you do the activity differently in the future?

Instructions for Submission

Submit a summary of your group’s Greatest Joys/Needs lists, so that we can know all of the great ideas that were created. Instructions on how to upload photos and how to submit things in Moodle can be found here: Instructions on Submission&Uploading

Instructions for Assessment

Provide feedback to at least one participant that has done this activity. Instructions on providing feedback can be found here: Instructions on Feedback


Creative Commons - ySI4R Content Team (The idea for this activity comes from the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium by the Pachamama Alliance (, but can be found on many other websites).

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