I believe that most of us genuinely want to make a difference in this world. But we become overwhelmed. We see how big the task is before us, we become very aware of our own limitations and inadequacies, and we lose our nerve. We remember the pain of the last time we failed, the last time our work didn’t have the desired effect, the last time we were betrayed, and we shy away from taking the risk – we don’t want to feel that again.
This morning I was reminded that that isn’t an excuse.
Wow! Two posts in one day. I know, right? But I saw this and it was simply too good not to share immediately (and not just because it features one of the most spectacular pieces of music ever composed).
So, it’s an advertisement for a bank (they call it an homage to their city…sure) and the bit with the girl was probably set up, but that does not make this video any less powerful.
Because the truth is, the smallest of gestures can often put great things in motion. A smile. A kind word. A miniscule act of self-sacrifice. A moment of putting another first. An instant of compassion.
There’s this thing called the law of unintended consequences, usually applied to economics or politics, but it has bearing in our everyday lives as well. That small act that you deem insignificant, that you maybe not even perform intentionally, can potentially have consequences that are infinitely bigger than the original act.
You might never see those results, but trust that your actions do have consequences, even the little ones.
So start paying attention to those little things you can do every day to make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small. You might just be surprised at the result.
Today is Nelson Mandela’s (who, according to his family is doing much better) 95th birthday. Today is also Mandela Day. Mandela Day was started in 2009 by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a year after Madiba’s 90th birthday. Later that year the UN officially declared July 18 to be International Nelson Mandela Day.
It’s not a public holiday, not even in South Africa. It’s rather (according to the official website) “a day dedicated to his life’s work and that of his charitable organisations, and to ensure his legacy continues forever.” The idea behind it is that, “Mr Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity. All we are asking is that everyone gives 67 minutes of their time, whether it’s supporting your chosen charity or serving your local community. Mandela Day is a call to action for individuals – for people everywhere – to take responsibility for changing the world into a better place, one small step at a time, just as Mr Mandela did.” Wikipedia calls it, “…a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact.”
I don’t have a problem with honouring the legacy of someone like Madiba. The impact he has had on South Africa and the rest of the world cannot be denied and he will forever be remembered along with people like Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King Jr. Nor do I disagree that every individual can and should make an impact – in fact, it should be said more often.