For The Sake of One

Most people would agree that they’d like to make a difference. This world is full of so much degradation, it’s hard to find the good things. Evil is rampant and people are hurt every day.

We all want change.

City Lights

City Lights (Photo credit: Ghassan Tabet)

But with six billion people in this world (and quickly growing), we start thinking there’s no way.

There’s no way that I can change the world. There’s no way that people will listen to me. There’s no way I can make a difference…

It goes on, these thoughts in our minds.

There’s no way I can save a life. There’s no way I can do anything of significance. There’s no way anyone will notice.

You’re looking at the big picture, at the six billion. Of course there’s no way you’ll reach them all, or even half.

But how about a hundred? Fifty? Twenty? …. Even just one.

Reach out to the life standing next to you, the soul that you see every day. Look beyond yourself and see people- people who are hurting, who have griefs and sorrows mingled with dreams and joys. People who have memories and hopes, regrets and wishes.

Reach out to them. Learn their stories. Make a difference in just one life. And it will grow… one by one, that’s where it starts. And by changing just one, you have changed the world. The world is better for the sake of just one.

Change one life.

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Weekly Challenge: Start Something

Dream girl

Dream girl (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

 

YOU. Yes, you. I have a challenge for you.

 

Every week, I’ll post a challenge. It can be about anything, on any topic. They will challenge the way you think, the way that you see the world. It will make you think, forcing you to step back and reevaluate. In the end, you may find that it will change your world.

 

Today’s challenge: Start Something

 

Anything. It doesn’t have to be huge. It doesn’t have to mean much. The point is, it means something to YOU. You’re doing something.

 

Always wanted to start a business? Start collecting inventory. Start researching, planning. It may be a few years before you can start the business itself, but at least when you do, you’ll be prepared.

 

Want to start a cause? Start small. Do a fundraiser and collect donations for cancer patients. Join marathons and a relay for life. Volunteer at another organization to gain experience and knowledge.

 

Want to go to school? Start researching now on whatever your major is. Read all you can on the topic. Think of it as your prerequisites. Study, read, prepare.

 

We all have a “someday” dream. We think, “Someday I’ll…” Fill the blank with anything. Start a business, take that trip, do some activity.

 

Problem is, someday dreams tend to stay someday dreams. They’re too huge, too far away. They’re out of reach. We tell ourselves that “Someday…” but then wake up to find that someday has already gone. While you were dreaming about that day, life had flown by.

 

Missed opportunities. Life is full of them. Many of these have to do with our someday dreams. Too busy looking at the far-off dream, we miss the chance of its beginnings.

 

Start by doing something small. Maybe one day, you’ll find yourself doing more. Maybe, just maybe, your dream will be within reach.

 

Weekly Challenge: Status Quo

YOU. Yes, you. I have a challenge for you.

Every week, I’ll post a challenge. It can be about anything, on any topic. They will challenge the way you think, the way that you see the world. It will make you think, forcing you to step back and reevaluate. In the end, you may find that it will change your world.

Today’s challenge: Status Quo

I’ve mentioned before about my upbringing. About growing up on the wrong side of the tracks. Foreclosures, food stamps, government welfare, constantly moving- it was all the norm for me. I was the outsider in school; as I got older, I remained the one that nobody noticed. That girl over there, not saying anything? Her? What’s her name again? Yeah, that was me.

I grew up feeling like one of the “little people.” Politics? Way beyond me. Not necessarily being rich, but at least the opportunity to go shopping once in a while? Too far out of reach.

I grew up feeling like nothing would ever change. I would always be on the lower end of the spectrum, always be on government welfare, always separate from the “cool” crowd.

It’s time for change. The status quo is a prison, a chain that binds your hands and feet so you are unable to move forward.

It’s time to break those chains. It’s time to step up, to move out, to make a difference.

Because you can make a difference. You can change the world.

Making a difference has nothing to do with circumstances. It has nothing to do with our place in life, how much money we have, or our social status. It is simply stepping out.

Today, you can make a difference. You can make change. It begins with yourself.

Change the status quo.

 

The $5 Challenge

YOU. Yes, you. I have a challenge for you.

Every week, I’ll post a challenge. It can be about anything, on any topic. They will challenge the way you think, the way that you see the world. It will make you think, forcing you to step back and reevaluate. In the end, you may find that it will change your world.

Today’s challenge: $5

What can you do with five dollars? Buy a cup of coffee? Get a meal at McDonald’s? Maybe a new shirt off the clearance rack?

What can five dollars do? As that Abe Lincoln crosses the counter to the cashier, it seems small. Insignificant. It won’t pay your bills. It will hardly put gas in your car- not enough to be worthwhile.

Helping someone? Reaching out? What can five dollars do? It won’t solve the hunger crisis. It won’t buy a house for a single mom with no home for her kids.

Five dollars can mean a lot. This tiny, insignificant bill can mean the difference between a smile and a frown. It can change a life.

A small meal for the guy at the corner. A few items for the lady behind you at the Dollar Store. A coffee for a tired co-worker. A card to say you’ve missed seeing someone at church.

5 dollars

5 dollars (Photo credit: leff)

What can five dollars do? Five dollars is a lot. You don’t need a million bucks to change the world. Just $5. That’s all.

This week (and if you’re brave, do it every week!), use five dollars JUST on someone else. Don’t skimp- if the tax pushes it over $5, pay it anyway.

Five dollars. Change a life.

Weekly Challenge: Resolutions

I had a post ready for you last week. Really. But, it seemed that the computer and WordPress site conspired against me and deleted my post. Yup, there went the entire thing. It was a good post, too. I really missed it.

Well, as is often the case whenever something like that happens, I lost the inclination to write. I don’t like having to rewrite something I’ve already written. (Who does?)

So, I made the executive decision to call it a holiday. After all, it was Christmas/New Year’s, right? We’ll just take that excuse for right now.

Anyway, holidays are over and it’s back to the normal grindstone. That means it’s back to (semi) normal postings, right? So with that said, here’s my challenge for the week:

Today’s challenge: Resolutions.

Let’s face it. Who doesn’t have things they want to fix? There’s always those little things that we know we need to get to, things that need worked on. Relationships, our job, life, our weight… something needs fixin’. We have this niggling feeling in the back of our minds that something needs to change.

And so we resolve. New year, new beginnings, right? And this year, we’ll DO it!

We resolve. And we may even make an effort. With luck, we’ll last til the end of the month. Most have already broken it two weeks in. (Yes, I saw that cookie you snitched yesterday- don’t worry, everyone else does it, too.)

Today, I’m proposing a change. Be honest. Resolutions don’t really work, do they? They’re too broad, too vast. We’ll make the resolution to work out more, to lose weight- but where is the specificity? Where is the motivation?

With no motivation, there’s no change. So before you make a resolution, first get motivated. It’s more than just “I’ll feel better if… .”

Be specific. What would you like to do once you’ve reached your goal? Maybe your goal is to work more in the garden. Why? So you can have better fruit to enjoy in harvest! Losing weight? What activities do you envision yourself doing, that you couldn’t easily do before? Maybe playing a game of flag football at the park with the kids?

Give yourself a reason to do what you’ve resolved to do. With a reason, you’ll find the motivation. The better the reason, the bigger the motivation.

What are your resolutions? And what are you going to do with them?

 

Weekly Challenge: Taking Action

YOU. Yes, you. I have a challenge for you.

Every week, I’ll post a challenge. It can be about anything, on any topic. They will challenge the way you think, the way that you see the world. It will make you think, forcing you to step back and reevaluate. In the end, you may find that it will change your world.

Today’s challenge: Taking action
Some of my posts are inspired by daily events. So it is in this case. News travels fast. In the Internet world, it’s even faster. This morning, this world exploded with the stunning, horrifying news: school shooting. 27 dead. Most of them are children, far too young for their lives to be cut so short. Those who made it through- did they really? Their innocence is destroyed; that childish sense of safety, where all the world is their playground, where the bad guy always gets his- that illusion is broken by the chaotic sounds of shots firing.

Most of us, however, lay untouched by these events. We sit shocked, horrified, but in the morning we’ll get up just as we always did. We’ll sleep tonight, wondering how such horror could happen, and we’ll get up in the morning and go to our jobs, our holiday vacations, family times, and party nights. We might go to church on Sunday and stand vigil, meditating in prayer for those who died.

But what has changed? We’ll spend Sunday morning in vigil, and then dismiss to cheer for our respective football teams at the next game. Has it really made a difference?

I want to challenge you today. We’ve all heard the cliche phrases about holding your loved ones close, about living your life fully because tomorrow is not promised.

Today, I want to take that a step further. Tomorrow is not promised- all the more reason to do all that we “would have done.” What’s holding you back, really? There’s always a reason not to. Today, you have more reason to just DO IT.

Mourning over those lost changes nothing. It’s sad, but unless you were there or someone you love was affected, you won’t be. Because until then, it’s just a story. It’s just a story, until it happens to you. And so we sigh over a story, we talk about what must be done, we wonder what we would feel like in the same situation. We argue and debate over how to prevent this in the future (yes, I find myself guilty of the same), and we tsk that such a horrible incident could ever occur in peaceful Connecticut.

We mourn, and we move on, and in the end, it’s just another day in the life, another bad story in the headlines. But stop for a minute- what if it WAS you? Read the personal stories of those affected, listen to the news accounts… and then act. Maybe do something directly- campaign for gun laws, or against them, or raise money for safer schools.

But you don’t even need to go that far. How about reaching out to someone around you, someone who needs it? We are surrounded by people every day, people that we walk by with nary a word. We glance at them, maybe we nod, and we move on, unaffected.

Today- be affected by the stories around you. Make them your stories, and take action.

Weekly Challenge: Making A Difference

Child 1

Child 1 (Photo credit: Tony Trần)

Do you want to make a difference? Most everyone answers yes. Stories of those who have actually gone out and done so are hugely popular.

You want to make a difference. But what have you done to do so? Maybe you drop a dollar in the donation jar at the register. Maybe you give Santa a few bucks as he rings his Salvation Army-issued bell outside the Walmart. Maybe you even signed up for one of those “Adopt a Child” programs.

But what have you done, really?

You fed a child for a day, for a month. Your purchase helped buy schoolbooks for a classroom in Africa. Your donation helped the homeless shelter reach out to another family.

What is all that? What does it mean to make a difference?

Maybe it isn’t even about them. It could be about many things, depending on who you talk to. Bettering the lives of others, helping the less fortunate, saving the world…

It’s about YOU. You, the one donating your hard-earned cash. You, spending a little extra time with someone. You, giving some sort of inconsequential gift to someone who has less.

Do you see? Those are what makes the difference. It isn’t feeding the children in Africa; it’s not building houses in Mexico; it’s not even standing for hours dishing out warmed-over soup in a homeless shelter.

Those matter, but not everyone can do it. But there are other things…

It’s the brief smile you give a child, the extra ten seconds you wait to hold the door for someone. Spend an extra five or ten dollars and pay for the one behind you in the coffee line. Strike a conversation with someone while waiting for the bus. Carry groceries out to the car for an older lady.

It’s those smaller acts that change the world. Because when it comes down to it, it becomes about you. Those acts don’t change others as much as, eventually, it changes yourself. And by changing yourself, you can reach so many others.

It has to start somewhere. Start it in the grocery line.

Weekly Challenge: Power in Leadership

Freedom

Freedom (Photo credit: Bohman)

YOU. Yes, you. I have a challenge for you.

Every week, I’ll post a challenge. It can be about anything, on any topic. They will challenge the way you think, the way that you see the world. It will make you think, forcing you to step back and reevaluate. In the end, you may find that it will change your world.

Today’s challenge: Power in Leadership

Many people are unhappy about the results of last week’s elections. Many of these same people blame Obama for their ills. I remember talking with one lady on the day of the election; in particular, I remember a comment she made, saying that people will likely vote based on how their year has been, whether good or bad. If it was a bad year, they’ll vote against Obama.

Really? Is this what the elections have come to? A far cry from our early days, when every man was a leader! We have come to the information age where information is freely distributed; people have more access to it than they ever have before. And yet, we find that people are less informed than they were two hundred years ago! Then, people KNEW what the problems were against England- it wasn’t simply because they had a bad year. They knew what they were fighting for, and they fought.

Notice that last phrase- “and they fought.” They didn’t just scream and yell, or arbitrarily argue against whatever they felt like. They found the government to be wanting, and they fought against it.

There is something to be learned here, folks. In this time of turmoil where many are blaming the current leadership, some are calling for impeachment, and others are calling for state secession, what is the real problem?

Think of this way. The President, whoever he may be, CANNOT act without the people. Some may disagree, but consider this: if he has no one to follow him, where is his power? If no one will listen to his orders, then what can he do? If there is a problem in leadership, it is found in the people who are willing, whether ignorantly or knowingly, to follow.

It is time to step up and take responsibility. Be your own leader, rather than following the directives of those you complain against. If you don’t like how things are, then change it! Your life is decided by no one but you. It’s not cliche, it’s reality. The power is in your hands, whether you decide it for yourself, or give that power to someone else.

We have lost our freedoms only because the people made it so, by their apathetic responses to the slow erosion of American way of life. Information is freely given, but one must be willing to reach out and dig for it.

Weekly Challenge: Earth-shaking Ideas

YOU. Yes, you. I have a challenge for you.

Every week, I’ll post a challenge. It can be about anything, on any topic. They will challenge the way you think, the way that you see the world. It will make you think, forcing you to step back and reevaluate. In the end, you may find that it will change your world.

Today’s challenge: Earth-shaking Ideas

“What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere.” – Inception

An idea. Ideas are resilient. They are difficult to kill. They cannot be eradicated. They can be punished, but no one can control the mind. The mind is free.

Not only are ideas difficult to kill, they are quick to live. An idea is mentioned, and it takes off. And yet, so many people are afraid to start them. Why?

Because it won’t get anywhere. It’s not big enough. People won’t like it.

Ideas are always huge. It doesn’t matter what it is, or what it’s about. It’s huge, simply because it’s an idea. Last week I read a blog about two girls that had an idea, inspired by recent events in Afghanistan. What’s so cool about their idea? It’s imagination, and it’s brave. It thumbs a nose at oppression and governments and it sends a joyful shout to all that can hear.

#Girl With A Book is simple, it’s easy. It doesn’t feed people, it doesn’t change governments. It doesn’t get food out to people in Africa or create jobs in poor economies. It won’t change the world. And yet… maybe it will. Simply because it’s an idea. And the creator, Lena Shareef, wasn’t afraid to start it.

Ideas start small. They have to start somewhere. Maybe you haven’t started your idea, simply because it’s “too small.” But maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s just an idea… just waiting to be started, so it can grow. Ideas are small, but they are the biggest thing in the history of man- because they have potential to change the world. Don’t be afraid to implement your idea. Start small, and be amazed at where it will take you. You will see things you never thought possible, go places you never knew existed.

All because of an idea.

Weekly Challenge: Thinking Beyond

YOU. Yes, you. I have a challenge for you.

Every week, I’ll post a challenge. It can be about anything, on any topic. They will challenge the way you think, the way that you see the world. It will make you think, forcing you to step back and reevaluate. In the end, you may find that it will change your world.

Today’s challenge: Thinking Beyond

Earlier this week, I posted a video about insane business ideas. They were ideas that were radical, odd, and very unconventional. Seriously, a website just for dating? Nothing new there, but what about one just for those already in a relationship? Have you considered potty-training your cat so you don’t have to clean the litter box?

These are just some of the ideas in the video. They are vBeyond The Journey July 2011ery different ideas, but they all have one thing in common. They are original. They are unique.

Too many people are afraid to think outside the box. It’s so comfortable to fit in with what you know. You have a defined skill set, a mold of qualifications that classify you for a specific job.

But what about beyond that? In your job, in your company, in your life. Your family, the things you do together. For fun, for work, for a hobby.

Live radically. Live eccentrically. And you might be surprised and what you may find.