While it may seem small, the ripple effect of small things is extraordinary – Matt Bevin
The small rock in your hand pales in comparison to the large body of water staring at you. The almost weightless rock against the gargantuan volume of blue that goes for miles and whose depth is untold. Do you hold on to the rock to protect it, or do you release it to discover the possibilities? We are conditioned to believe that making a noticeable impact requires a big impression. Big things start small. We all want to make a significant impact in our lives. It’s the small changes we make day by day that amount to the big changes we want to see. If you think about it, every step made, as small as it may be, accumulates. Making the small financial change today of paying off debt, saving, and investing your money, instead of reckless spending results in the bigger change of retiring to a financially healthy life. Positive ripple effects are a much needed-occurrence.
Stories of Positive Disturbance
Martin Luther King Jr. created a ripple in the United States when he led the civil rights movement, using non-violence demonstrations to push for equal rights for African Americans in a heavily segregated time.
Nelson Mandela created a disturbance by leading a movement to fight apartheid in South Africa and champion the cause of freedom for blacks in the country. Here is a snippet of the speech he gave in court before he was sentenced to imprisonment at Robben Island. “I have fought against white dominion, and I have fought against black dominion. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal that I hope to live for and achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Barack Obama created a disturbance by becoming the first African American president of the United States of America. He could have thought of running and decided that because there had been no other African American President before him, why bother to run?
Break the “No-Fly Zone”
We often look at what has never been done as a reason why it can’t or shouldn’t be done. We use past evidence as the writing on the wall to talk ourselves out of future opportunities. We create imaginary “no-fly zones.” We allow negative influences to detain us. The conversations we hear impede us from pursuing an idea or a dream. When someone says, “can’t,” do you equate that to mean “don’t?” For example, do you interpret “It can’t happen” to “Don’t even try it?” When the analysis says that the majority have attempted and failed, do you automatically conclude you will fail as well?
The herd mentality is as contagious as a common cold and can develop into a passion killing, momentum draining, and creativity destroying habit. We find ourselves doing things just because everyone else is doing them. We avoid asking the hard questions because we fear the level of responsibility that comes with standing up to the statistics and facing the facts while still holding on to the conviction that things don’t have to be as they have always been.
General George S. Patton, well known for his leadership style during World War II, is quoted as saying, “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
A Moment of Self-Reflection
Is there something that you have noticed has never been done, and you can do it? Have you found a way to deal with a problem nobody has ever thought of? Have you grown tired of simply allowing things to continue “as is” when you know there is a better way? If any, some, or all of the above are true for you, then you are ready to make ripples. Creating a ripple may be termed as rambunctious by some because you are disturbing the status quo and going against the grain of what everyone has termed as normal. Normal is overrated. Abnormal is the new normal. Don’t be afraid to be an anomaly. Remember that pebble creating a ripple in that large volume of water.
Coming This Month
As the second half of the year begins, this month’s blog posts will serve to encourage you to stay the course of reaching your goals and making an impact.
Become Action Oriented (July 14)
When Less is More (July 21)
Stretch Goal Setting (July 28)
Final Thought: Don’t be intimidated by the size of a problem but take the first step you can in the direction of the solution. The small step might be talking to someone about it or writing it down and putting it up somewhere you can see it every day to build confidence. Whatever that small stone is, it’s time to throw it into the water. It won’t make a ripple in your hand. It’s time to release it.
Keep on Keeping on!