Any world changing act created by humans started with an idea.
So let me present you with an idea. It is not an original idea. It has been around for thousands of years, yet somehow humanity as a whole manages to ignore it. I make no claim to special wisdom because I value this idea, and even model my life after it. But if more folk actually accepted the idea, the world WOULD change.
So what, you may be wondering, is this amazing idea?
It is one of which we have all heard. The best known label of this idea is The Golden Rule. It has been in existence throughout recorded history, and probably long before that. It is a common theme in literature and other artistic endeavors trying to impart a message. It is thought to be a wonderful idea by most, yet few actually live by it. Why is that? Is it too difficult a task?
Now that I have reminded of the idea, I offer a challenge. Try this wonderful idea out. Do something nice for someone not because you have to; or because it is the “right” thing to do; or because you will get rewarded for it. Just do it because you choose to. And can. Simple as that. And then do something nice for someone else. Keep practicing until you find that it is habit instead of choice. It does not have to be elaborate, or even big. It could be as simple as a smile when someone seems to be down. Whatever opportunity comes your way. And if they happen to want to reward you for whatever this nice deed was, then make it clear that no reward is necessary. And then maybe offer them the same challenge.
It is amazing how powerful a chain reaction can be started with a simple act of kindness. And even if we don’t start a nuclear explosion with each act, we will still cause a momentary flash, and enough of these flashes will make the world a much brighter place.
Example. I was walking down a street one day and saw a landscaper working on a flower bed for a business. It looked very nice, so I caught their attention and told them that they were doing an awesome job. Did I change the course of humanity with that act? Most likely not. But I made that person happy for that moment. And they probably went back to work with more energy, or even a stronger sense of purpose. And maybe that simple act was reflected in how they themselves interacted with others that day, thus also improving those other’s day. And that was just a simple compliment. Imagine what would happen as the act of kindness becomes more elaborate or meaningful.
The phrase is Give and Take. Even though Give and Take implies expectation of reward, Give still comes first. Yet in our modern cultures, we seem to live by Take and Give. Or simply Take. So practice Give and Take, or better yet simply Give, and see what changes around you. If each of us manages to change our own part of the world just a little, then the whole world will ultimately follow. It only takes one flash of light to brighten a dark room, but it takes a whole lot of flashes to keep it bright. Be a flash in the darkness, and maybe others will follow.
- Five Ideas I’ve Implemented to Get More Done (pluginid.com)
- New Futures in SF (Talk for Westercon, July 4, 2010) (rudyrucker.com)
- Communication Nation (communicationnation.blogspot.com)
- Why did the philosopher kick the ladder? (beinghuman.blogs.fi)