Ripple Effect

Small Things, Big Difference Little shifts in our thinking and actions can make a huge impact

This morning I’m moved by two human stories, revolving around deadly diagnoses, reminding us that small things can make a big difference.

Steve Hartman (CBS News) reconnected with Chris Rosati this morning. Chris is a man who has devoted the rest of his life to encouraging others to commit acts of kindness. Chris was diagnosed with ALS and his effort to give away a thousand donuts already went viral. Now he’s established BIGG (Big Ideas for the Greater Good), which encourages people to perform random acts of kindness in their communities. Their film festival highlights several of the people’s creative ways of implementing the plan.

Chris: “Let’s just have fun making people smile.”

Steve: “Chris isn’t as interested in finding a cure for ALS [ed: which would serve his own interest and survival] as he is in healing all of us [ed: Which is the core definition of Hero Minded].”

We are all laboring under a fatal diagnosis, though most of us live our lives oblivious to the obvious truth. Most of us have experienced the loss of a loved one – reminders of the frailty of life are all around us. Just last year my father fell from a ladder – it’s likely that he stepped wrong as he wasn’t far from the ground – and in a moment, his fate was set with a major head injury. Two hours later, he was gone and we were in shock.

Any of us could be gone at any moment – what we’re doing with our moments matters. Chris is facing his diagnosis and living a life with a plan. Tamara Lackey documented Chris Rosati’s family’s joyful intention in a photoshoot after her kids crossed paths with Chris’s movement to bring good to the world.

We all face the same diagnosis (certain death) and we all have the power to bring joy, hope, good, whimsy and change to the world around us. We don’t have to wait for a disease or a life altering event to be inspired to spread a bunch of good in the world. Or even a little bit of good.

There’s a reason people are so moved and inspired by random acts of kindness. Giving to strangers demonstrates Hero Minded principles. It shows you trust and care for people outside your perceived group. That you are willing to provide time, energy and resources to improve their lives – without expecting anything in return. Even in the tiniest gesture, this principle is recognized. Doing so goes against our inner villain who fears, doesn’t trust, is only concerned with getting our own needs met. Why should I give up my day to help someone else? Because it’s a step toward Hero Minded, which is a step toward a better world for all of us.

Doing small things matters.

The Ebola outbreak might have been impacted by small changes. In this WSJ article, lack of gloves – the most basic and universal item in medical hygiene – is blamed for the spread of the outbreak. This, in a country already beleaguered as one of the fewest doctors per capita (only Tanzania is worse) at 51 per 4,000,000. And these few doctors and their extended staff are being killed and scared off by this virus. When doctors are already sacrificing by treating an underserved population, we should make sure they have the tools necessary to survive and help prevent the spread of deadly outbreaks. We owe that to them, their families and the people they are serving. We’re all in this together. The fearful people who didn’t want those doctors to return to the U.S. for treatment know it can affect them. So let’s vote and give to fund the efforts of these giving people.

It’s often the small things that matter.

What is your small thing today?

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