What can I do to make a difference?

We all think that we are too small to make a difference and there is a brilliant quote by the Dalia Lama that sums it up nicely “if you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending a night in a room with a mosquito”.

There are countless examples of where one person has done a small step, every single day and created an amazing change, one that springs to mind of Jadav Payeng who on a sandbank planted some seedlings and over the course of a lifetime created an entire forest that bristles with life. He created Molai Forest which is now home to tigers, elephants and a whole diversity of animals and nature that had disappeared in the area.

And while we are on trees how about the bravery of the Kenyan Wangari Maathai who through her dedication, in a time when it was unheard of for women in a country like Kenya to stand up and make a difference, she created the Green Belt Movement and with the involvement of the UN they were responsible for 51 million trees being planted.

Look at the unbelievable bravery of Malala Yousafzai, who stood up to the Taliban and campaigned for women’s education and ended up being shot in the face. The Malala fund helps to improve access to education for women worldwide.

These are just three examples and none of them was born any different to you and me, they just choose to make their difference and against incredible odds, they showed up for us.

We can all choose to be the example to inspire others and that means taking the first step, as Brene Brown says we have to brave the wilderness. If we want different leaders it is no good waiting for them, we can become the leader we want to see, and we can become the change that we want to see. 

What can I do? Make my difference by showing up. We all have to get off the bus and stand up for what we want to see not stay on there and wait for someone else to do it first.

The excuse factory

There are 3 steps to starting anything in life…1,2,3 GO!

Or we can, of course, complicate it, the mind is a top-level specialist at over-complication, along with perfection, it is one of its top weapons to prevent showing up and taking any risk. It is the excuse factory that will create reasons not to do something, the more levels of complication, the more thought and the more reasons to put off.

Simple small steps are easy, we can just start them…1,2,3 go.

If we break down any goal, plan, task, or action into small baby steps, that if done and repeated frequently, will over a given time period propel us to our goals.

As we are doing the tiny steps, the mind is silent as there is no perceived risk, it goes under the ‘fear’ radar undetected, and we get to our goals because guess what? we are actually doing something regularly. The journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step…as the saying goes.

It requires focus, commitment and a willingness to build a habit and, of course, patience. Like all things, when we do them frequently, they become easier and there is a compound effect that we see much greater achievement than we imagined if we do them often enough and for a long enough time.

Short-term quick ‘wins’ that require huge amounts of effort and overcoming the fear of starting mammoth tasks, always fail as we never get out of the starting blocks. There are no shortcuts and the mind’s psychological fears of any large daunting tasks are impossible to overcome without just focusing on the small step that can be done now.

Keep things simple, do them often, stay focussed in the moment that is now and don’t think beyond that. The excuse factory can be closed forever, it just takes one small step.