Every day when I wake up, I make it a habit to read to myself the following quote:
"This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind... let it be something good." - Anon
I originally came across this quote on the very marvelous Inspiration Peak website. After reading the quote, I ask myself, "What am I going to do today?" My answer, which is usually 'change the world', might seem a little over-ambitious to some of you. I hope that I can explain why I think it is not.
I was once having a conversation with my very good friend Grumpy Goat, who at times can be a teeny bit cynical and pessimistic. I was explaining how some of my heroes had changed the world with their messages of love, peace and non-resistance. I described how Gandhi had brought down the oppressive British Empire with non-violent protest and how Martin-Luther King had helped change the fortunes of millions of African Americans with a very similar philosophy and started a chain of events which today has led to us witnessing the recent election of the first African American President.
Grumpy Goat did not agree with my assessment. She reminded me that there are still wars going on, that many people are still oppressed and that although Gandhi and King were great idealists, they had ultimately failed to change the world. So there was no point in me bothering. I was astonished to hear this argument, but after some thought, it was understandable in the light of the fact that Grumpy Goat tends to engage in 'all or nothing' thinking. All or nothing thinking is the mother of procrastination and inaction.
In Grumpy Goats mind, 'change the world' means 'change the entire world forever so there are no more problems at all anywhere'. Unless you can achieve that, you might as well just carry on eating items from the washing line. But in my mind, even the smallest change is a change worth making. If I can raise the spirits of just one person for a few hours, I have changed the world.
There is also no knowing where this might lead. Perhaps this person will go on to encourage and raise the spirits of someone else, thus setting up a chain reaction similar to the one described in the beautifully inspiring book Pay It Forward.
"Each time we stand up for an ideal, or act to improve the lot of others, or strike out against injustice, we send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." - Robert F Kennedy
I can change the world and so can you. Every small action makes a difference. You do not have to strive for great achievements on the world stage (although if you want to, you can do that too!) You can simply start with yourself and those closest to you. Choose love today. Choose to make a positive difference in one person's life. If you do that, then the world will have changed for the better. What is more, the chain reaction that you start may never end, and although you may not know it, the ripple effect of your small action may eventually reach millions.
"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." - Edward Everett Hale
Happy Cow is a contributing editor to Inspiration Peak and the most successful four-legged therapist in England, cheering folks up and down the land with her inspirational advice (in Cowish).