This week was a good reminder that even the smallest act of kindness can go a long way. On Monday it was announced that the funds raised from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral in 2014 had led to the discovery of a key gene linked to most cases of ALS, and that this discovery could potentially lead to advancements in targeting future treatments. The Ice Bucket Challenge was a groundbreaking advance in creative fundraising, but what really struck me about it was just how much money was raised in such a short amount of time without people even realizing how significant their contribution was. In just eight weeks the campaign was able to raise $115 million, all while participants were enjoying themselves and barely lifting a finger (or a bucket).
Often the world we are living in can seem so broken that changing it feels impossible. Where do you start when there are so many in need? But taking small steps and giving in any way you can is always better than sitting back and ignoring the issues entirely. There are so many ways to lend a hand these days. Most charitable organizations will take $1 – $5 donations knowing that a lot of people giving a little can still make a world of difference. If you don’t have money, you can invest your time, and if you have neither, you can still make this world better by making conscious decisions to have positive interactions with others. To hold yourself in a way that makes your presence positive and passes that intent along to others. This kindness can often have a ripple effect. Even something as small as giving change to a homeless person may seem small to you, but other passerbys will often give too after being inspired by your generosity. Generosity is contagious.
One of the best speeches I have ever heard was delivered by Leymah Gwobee at the 2015 Pennsylvania Conference for Women. She spoke shortly after the terrorist attacks that occurred in Lebanon and Paris in November of last year, but her message was clear as she stressed that, “there are more good people in this world than evil.” If every good person in this world could do something small to make the world better, there would be no room left for evil. She went on to quote Albert Einstein who once said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and feel dismayed at the amount of change that is needed. Even Nobel laureate Gwobee who has dedicated her life to promoting peace in Liberia and inspiring global change, questions whether she is really making an impact. But one thing is clear, if we do nothing, things will never get better. So let’s start small and give to a charity the means something to you, spend some time volunteering, or just be respectful of those around you. We all have the ability to make a difference, and a little bit of good can go a long way when it comes to change.
Leymah Gbowee’s entire speech from the 2015 Pennsylvania Conference for Women can be found here. She is truly inspiring in her delivery, and her speech is thought provoking in the deepest of ways. I hope you will take the time to watch it.