The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. – Socrates
Late last year, my mom gave me a book called “The Butterfly Effect“. Simply put, the book describes how small actions can have profound changes – and how your life and your decisions matter in the course of history.
I do believe that humans are programmed to want to believe that their lives are significant. It’s so easy, however, in this age of information overload and celebrity glorification, to feel really insignificant.
Did you know that the human population on earth has nearly tripled since 1950? With over 7 billion people living on the planet at this very moment, it is incredibly difficult to believe that our individual actions have significance. And so, what do we do?
We make excuses, or we fall into the trap of believing that our individual choices don’t really matter. It becomes a self-defeating cycle, leading us to excuse our actions and ultimately put responsibility on someone else – someone more important – to do the hard work of making change happen.
The Butterfly Effect is the argument for the opposite: it says that each minuscule action – each thought, word, deed – is how the world turns, day by day, minute by minute. Your actions – each and every one of them – are powerful, and collectively, they become the way that history happens.
The great news about this is that you don’t have to worry about having great influence. You have it already. The way that you choose to go about your every day is already having a huge impact on things that are far beyond your understanding.
But here’s the hard part.
You probably won’t know what impact you are having each day. You probably won’t get any fame or glory for the way you live, or the things you do. Most of us don’t. So the ticket to feeling satisfaction with your significance as a human being is to do it without any expectation of fanfare or recognition.
You have to do it just because it’s the right thing to do…knowing that it will make a difference.
How will you become the change that is needed in the world in 2016?
A wonderful woman who I had the privilege to interview this past year put it this way: I think that as human beings we have an opportunity to impact on people’s lives on a day to day basis with little acts of kindness within our means. I don’t think we need to wait until we have a fortune to impact people’s lives. There is a saying in the Bible that says “To whom much is given, much is expected.” And to whom much is given, doesn’t say it’s this amount—if I have three meals a day and someone doesn’t, I have been given much. There are little things that we can do as human beings to think of the other who has nothing, instead of just thinking of ourselves and accumulating more and more and more.
As we embark on this New Year, I hope that you will believe, truly, that your life and your actions matter deeply. Change is inevitable, but the way we approach it is significant. The ripple effects of our individual behaviors are powerful beyond measure.
We look forward to sharing this year with you!