Tag Archive for 'critical mass'

Do we REALLY make a difference??!

Does each of us really make that much difference to life on the planet….? Or is that just an antiquated and misguided belief that simply cannot be applied to a world of 6.5 billion people? I walked past a women’s gym in Wellington NZ, and noticed the oft-quoted Gandhi lines about ‘being the change you wish to see in the world’.

And I thought to myself: Is this simply an ego trip, or even delusional? Well, I wrote about this in ‘The Ripple Effect‘, and that was a few years ago. I’ve altered my stance quite a bit since then on lots of issues, but I’ll stand firm on this one. And it goes like this:

How you live your everyday life does little to make a difference to the macro-issues around the earth. Air pollution, global warming, terrorism, social injustice. Yes (sob), it’s true. You can rarely change the world all by yourself. Whether you, all by yourself, decide (or not) to reduce your petrol consumption, will not even register in the grand scheme of things.

What IS important is that you become part of the critical mass who decide to make the changes. And that’s when it all begins to add up. The tiny bits eventually can carry a lot of weight. While your 10% drop in petrol consumption makes little difference, it sure counts when 5% of your town or city’s population do so. And this is where you CAN make the difference. You can initiate and inspire actions in others, and encourage them to form part of that critical mass.

My reading of (most of) the world is this: Lots of people are well-meaning, and they intend to eventually get involved in whatever the cause may be at the time. They’re just a bit busy, and don’t always get around to it. What often does get them going is someone with the vision and the passion who is prepared to initiate the whole process. It’s then easier for the masses to jump on board.

It all has to start somewhere. It may as well be you. After all, we each have to do something. I’ve always laughed when people say:”When’s EVERYONE going to do something?” And I think to myself: “EVERYONE is EVERY ONE.” So, when we ask: Can YOU make a difference?, it’s a yes and no. No if you’re looking at the standard everyday stuff you do (eat, drink, drive), but wow, can you change the world if you inspire others to take action!!! Because that’s when you may influence 1000’s. And that’s why a profession such as teaching is so important. It’s a core principle of the work that you do every day.

One little wrap-up point on this: If I had my time over, I would change the sub-title of The Ripple Effect, from ‘How You Can Make A Difference Every Day’, to ‘How We Can Make A Difference Every Day’. We’re all in this together.