Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Influence of a Single Person

"One person can make a big difference." Sounds cliché, doesn’t it? If you’re like me or any other ordinary person, you’re probably rolling your eyes and letting out a frustrated sigh. Many people have told me this, and each time my reaction was, "Yeah, yeah whatever. You can’t expect me to plant a whole forest!" But do you know what the irony of it is? One person actually can make a big difference! I’ve realized that it’s the little things that add up to make a big difference. It’s like one hundred is equal to adding one and one and one a hundred times!

They say that a single grain of rice can tip the scale, right? Well maybe that one little piece of candy wrapper that I saved to throw into a trashcan was what prevented that little stream miles away from me from being clogged. Or maybe that one day I decided to walk instead of drive my car prevented that ozone hole miles above me from being widened by one angstrom. The problem with us is that we tend to turn blind eyes and make excuses.

We should learn from ants. I don’t think the word "excuse" is in the ant’s dictionary. Why, just the other day I watched a tiny ant struggling to carry a not so tiny crumb. A fellow ant was passing by, and stopped to help the first one and the two of them worked together and moved faster than I’d ever seen any ant move. And ants move fast. So I asked myself, how many times have I passed by a cycle stand where someone was struggling to set straight the cycles he/she knocked over like dominoes? Or how many times have I ignored a pile of fallen papers thinking, "Oh the next person will pick them up. Plus, I have nothing to do with them!" ? People rush at the opportunity to "show" that they are "pro-charity" but when it really comes down to it, it’s, well, pathetic.

Even a smile, which takes up less energy than a frown, can make a difference. And trust me, this isn’t psychobabble. Haven’t any of your blue days been rectified by the genuine smile of a stranger? Or any of your rotten moods thrown away by the mere statement that you’re appreciated and loved? I know mine have.

You know, if, when you die, you can say "I planted a tree once," or "I made an unhappy person laugh so hard they cried once," your life would have been worth living. Although I truly hope that each of us would have a lot more to say, nevertheless, those little things would have added meaning to your life. And who wants to live a useless life? I want to be happy; I want to get good grades; I want to excel in my career…it’s all about me. But in the end, I will actually not be worth anything.

We must go beyond being selfish and look at this earth as our temporary home and our fellow living creatures as our brothers. We must make the most out of our time here, and do the best we can to make it a better place to live. Why waste a heck of a lot of money for one hour at a nightclub when a whole village in rural India could be fed for that same amount?

When I hear about suffering, I feel like shaking everybody and asking, "Why is the common man passive??" The terrorists are doing their work, while the rest of us are sitting at home waiting for others to do ours. We need to wake up; become better people. We need to realize that one person can make a big difference.

Image from: http://delany-making-a-difference.wikispaces.com/


  1. foremost lovely written post.
    The lesson is simple, "Be good its contagious, thus making a impact slowly but surely."

  2. @ manu, goodness is highly contagious. i agree with u.

    rads, most of the time, we rate ourseves to something very minisicule. 'will the world change if i'm the sole contributor?.. u know, the sorts. what we fail to realise is that somebody else will obviously benefit(for want of a better word) from whatever small we do. an amazing post, i must say!

  3. Everybody wants to be good
    dat is why no one left u even a comment on ur description on lepers condition.

  4. besides lepers' condition i also wanted to kno wat was ur motivation behind writin this post
    was it dat u wanted to stir some feelings or u jus wanted to show dat u hav a good grasp over english literature

  5. When a beautiful imported car speeds through the alleys, stray dogs bark.
    Rads, dont pay attention to the dogs, follow your heart and enlighten others and yourself

  6. Mr peter parker dont call me a dog dey r faithful
    n why waste time writing about things if u actually want to do them, u can jus do dem

  7. Mr Aks. i didnt call u a dog. u assumed it. btw you came back to check this site even after you didn't like it. shows fidelity, doesn't it?
    and who says one is not doing good deeds. one might do the deeds and call for others as well. isn't that better?

  8. its d way u think my friend
    mayb i m also doing sumthin called social work by pinching other's conscience n makin dem do sumthin good

  9. "Change" seems to be the hardest word these days! Once we begin with the smallest of things...a small change everyday...in the way we work, respond to those-we love, we come across by chance or plan, work for us...the list can go on, forever! Small steps...ultimately brings the big change we want! I do believe it will happen! We HAVE to believe, and yes, of course, work towards it. Keep these posts coming!