Change the World in Fifteen Minutes

The world seems like such a vast place, its problems so overwhelming, that it’s easier for most of us just to look down at out feet and shuffle along, complaining that nobody is changing anything.

Goals Status:

  • Marathon: On Track. I’ve missed a few workouts this week, but I’ll be heading out to run three miles as soon as I post this.
  • Two Square Yards of Earth: Making Progress. Sort of. I haven’t managed to make any progress this week, but I should get a couple of pages done tomorrow.
  • 100 Posts: On Track. This is my 28th post for the year.

It’s easy to tell ourselves how powerless we are. After all, in a world of seven billion people, what difference can one person possibly make?

The truth is, one person can make plenty of difference. Just ask Malala, or Kyle Maynard, or the Dalai Lama.

You’re nothing like those people, right? They have huge platforms. They have resources. They have the ear of millions. You’re doing well just to get to work on time, keep your children fed and clothed, keep your car running, keep your house more picked up than not.

I’m right there with you. Most days, my life seems pretty much irrelevant to the rest of the world.

But everything we do, every action we take, creates ripples. A simple act of kindness will affect more people than we can ever know.

Holding the door with a smile for somebody who’s got her hands full might just put a smile on her face–

Which might inspire her to spend an extra five minutes on a call with a client, five minute she doesn’t have to spend helping somebody that turns his whole day around–

Which might inspire him to pick up the $5 bill the woman in front of him at the register dropped and chase her to the parking lot to give it back to her–

Which might just inspire her to read to her children that evening instead of collapsing in her chair in front of the TV, which starts a nightly habit that lasts ten years, which inspires her youngest son to become a doctor, and twenty years after you held that door for a woman you didn’t know, he performs a ground-breaking surgery that saves a woman’s life. And she goes home to her kids, and the cycle continues.

Far-fetched? Maybe. I choose to believe it’s not as far-fetched as most folks think.

Each of us has the power to change the world. It won’t be fast, and it won’t make us famous. But simply having the courage to smile and engage with the people around us creates the ripples that may eventually lift us all.

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.
  • Ken Davis

    Love it! Most of the time I feel like you’re speaking just to me. And I appreciate it. Please keep it up.

    • H. Scott Dalton

      Ken, I often think of you when I don’t know quite what I want to say. Thanks for having the courage to change the world.