By Olatomiwa Olusesi, Sr. Programs Coordinator

In a recent conversation with friends, we spoke about how the world seems to be far from being perfect, despite our desire for change, injustice still often persists. It got me thinking that there is a level of delusion needed for anyone to think that they can shake things up, and challenge what’s perceived as normal. This boldness, this belief in our power to make things better, is at the heart of every movement for change. It’s what keeps us going when things get tough.

I got socially conscious about 8 years ago, and started working on solving issues that resonated deeply with me. I often see certain injustices and think to myself “this needs fixing, and fast!” I am sure this has happened to you as well. And let’s be honest, trying to tackle them can feel a bit delusional.

Like, who am I, one tiny human, to take on such giants?

I have since realized that every changemaker, everyone who shook history, probably felt that way at some point. They were the ones staring at the broken systems, the ones whispering “this isn’t right” while everyone else shrugged and went on with their lives. They were the ones with a touch of delusion, a belief that their crazy ideas could actually work.


I recently got accepted into The Young Africans Leadership Initiative, in Accra, Ghana, with some of the youngest and brightest leaders across West Africa. We considered some iconic leadership figures. Think about these:

  • It is a very rare occurrence that someone will serve 27 years in prison just because of their people, Mandela did just that.
  • Nkrumah had a vision of a united Africa and made it his life’s mission to make it happen.
  • Wangari Maathai advocated for environmental conservation and planting of trees all over the world.
  • Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus, sparking a civil rights movement. These weren’t exactly “realistic” goals, were they? Yet, their “delusions” lit a fire that continues to burn.

This is not me saying we all need to be at the front lines. It’s however about acknowledging the power within each of us. There’s a power in embracing a little bit of that “crazy” energy. It’s that unwavering belief that even the smallest act can create ripples, that our voices, when raised together, can become a roar.

Delusion in this context is the audacity to dream of a better world, even when the odds seem stacked against us.

There was a time when I would laugh at those “dream big” motivational posters. Until I decided to try something different. Instead of shying away from my “crazy” ideas, I started writing them down and doing something about them. From volunteering to provide global citizenship education to children from marginalized communities, carrying out book donation projects, to providing pathways for upward economic mobility for young people, and now supporting young changemakers across the world to create the world of our deepest longing.

In all honesty, all of these have been fueled by a spark of delusion, with the hopes that this spark will ignite something bigger, and inspire others to join the ride.

The next time you feel the urge to fix something in the world or your community, don’t let cynicism win. Embrace that “delusion,” the audacious dream that seems impossible. As history shows, sometimes, the craziest ideas are the ones that change everything. Remember, even the tiniest pebble can create a ripple, and you never know where that ripple might lead.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”— Margaret Mead

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