“Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic.” – Stephen R. Covey
Doing something about anything you care about requires four essential elements:
- A desire or dream
- The decision
- A doer (that’s you)
- The discipline to see it through when obstacles and distractions come along
Basically, that’s it. If YOU decide your dream is more important than what you might otherwise do tonight after work or instead of some other recreation this weekend, and you BEGIN and PERSIST, you will make a difference. Making a difference requires action.
Your actions do not have to be complicated or grand. Let’s take an example.
You’ve noticed that things are tense all around you. People at work or at the gym are on edge, on Facebook or Twitter the words are harsh, and around the dinner table even family and friends seem more divided than ever before. Those you care about are not as united in purpose as you would like to see. Your solution: the world could use more kindness.
What can you do about it?
You desire a world that is more kind. You recognize that the only one whose actions you can change is you. You decide to 1) not contribute to the tension around you and 2) take more initiative to add kindness to your immediate sphere of influence. Today. Take action. Become a doer.
- On Facebook, choose a different response – softer, more reasoned, or no response at all when you read something that upsets you or with which you disagree.
- When expressing yourself, verbally or on social media, be both clear and kind, choosing a higher path of reason that listens and persuades with respect for diversity of thought. Give the same respect you hope to receive from those with whom you might disagree. Recognize that not every post or comment requires a response or a rebuttal.
- At home, notice the tone and content of the dialogue, and give a sincere unexpected compliment, then ask what you can do to make your partner’s or child’s day better. Do it without debate, no matter what is requested.
- For a stranger, stop to help, pay for their cup of coffee, or let them in line ahead of you, extend a sincere smile.
- At work, church or other social group meeting, arrive early or stay late to help clean up, simply see and do what needs to be done. Offer a hand not by your words, but by your actions.
- Go the extra mile in some aspect of your life for just 15 minutes. Give extra attention to the quality of your work, the diligence you pay to your personal habits, connecting with the person you’ve been meaning to call or write, addressing the wrong you need to forgive or forget, and righting the offense you may have caused even unknowingly.
It takes time to establish a new habit or behavior. Experts say at least 21 consecutive days and your actions will pay off. If you are doing the opposite of what you were doing before, people will not believe you at first. Be prepared to invite them to hold you accountable to change. Invite them to join you in spreading kindness.
Opposition will come into your life whenever you choose a better path. Distractions will multiply like rabbits. You will backslide and forget. Begin again.