One person CAN make a difference

April 19, 2011

This morning, I read one of the most uplifting articles I’ve seen in a long time. It was written by Colin Beavan, whom you might remember as the man who decided to take a chance and see what one person (and his family) could do to help the environment. He experimented with the idea of living his life in a New York City apartment with no impact on the environment.

His modest one-person experiment led to a movement, as well as a book and movie, titled: No Impact Man.

Beavan’s article recently ran in Yes! Magazine.  Titled “Advice from an Accidental Activist,” the article reminds us that one person CAN make a difference.

I think this is a message we sorely need to remember today. Beavan reminds us that there is magic in just starting something…in taking Step Number One and not worrying about Step Number Two…in not letting fear stop us from doing something, anything, positive.

All of this takes me back to one of the most important experiences of my life: participating in the Christopher Leadership Course.  This was back in the 1980s, and like other contemporaneous self-improvement courses, it involved standing up in front of others each week to make a short speech.

But looking back at my experience, I’ve grown to believe that what was important in that weekly ritual wasn’t so much the speech as the act of standing up! I believe it was a metaphor, reminding us, through our physical behavior, to Stand Up for Something!  To get on our feet — literally!

Two mottoes of The Christopher Leadership Course are: “One Person Can Make a Difference” and “It Is Better to Light One Candle than to Curse the Darkness.”

I believe that, regardless of our spiritual path, we can let those mottoes remind us that we CAN make a difference in the world. And when we feel depressed, we can remember that money isn’t everything.  Ask psychologists what influences other people the most. It’s not money. Number one is face-to-face contact…the human touch.

We are more powerful than we believe.


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