Amid mass movements, the power of one still matters.
Today I listened to a podcast with wonderful insights into the importance of capitalism and its need to shift to a more purposeful, thoughtful, and empathic system. The ideas resonated and made sense, especially given the increasingly large portion of the market dominated by a handful of massive firms (Think Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon).
Then the discussion turned from what needs to change to how it can be done. The how involved a complete structural overhaul of the system whereby the government’s actions make wealth more accessible with equal outcomes for all. Given the power of the big firms on top, I understood this discussion—albeit with a large dose of skepticism.
The conclusion of the podcast was how to spend our time more productively by lobbying for political shifts and macro-level transformation rather than “waste time” on smaller initiatives that distract from the need for far-reaching change. The podcaster advocated for people to stop doing individual acts of kindness and focus–instead–on achieving larger, systemic goals.
The message was clear: doing a small good in today’s messed up world was like trying to Scotch tape back a house that had been ripped apart by a tornado.
Have we reached the place where individual efforts no longer matter?
Is this really where we are at? Have we reached the place where individual efforts no longer matter? Must positive change only occur at the corner of government regulation and mass movements? And if politics doesn’t solve our issues, have we become a dependent people, waiting for handouts and rules while wallowing in our self-appointed powerlessness.
We only adopted 10 children, and—with it—we did not solve the global problem of child hunger and abandonment. There are 153 million orphans (18 million double orphans) still out there.1 Yet, did our efforts to “do good” fail because they did not solve the whole problem? Did my adoptions distract from the larger, macro-level changes needed to help the millions of others waiting for rescue? Should I spend my time lobbying to enact government policy change on child welfare rather than pushing my kids on a swing, reading to them, or doing their mountains of laundry?
I say No. Maybe it’s because I live with a dozen children who remind me every day that sometimes the biggest problems take time to heal as we do the small things that matter most. My kids might not look like a success story to the elites and academics, but their very survival, healing, and development remind me every day that this is the stuff that changes the world.
Your stuff matters, too. Many of you move mountains to help one person in need. I know countless individuals who go the extra mile, “distracted” from the larger political issues, in order to make one life better. You know them, too. You are them.
What if changing the world materializes through each of our individual acts of good?
Here’s an idea. What if changing the world materializes through each of our individual acts of good? What if a community committed to doing good can inspire other people—one by one—to also do good?
Unexplainable, exponential growth happens when passionate individuals choose to do something they believe in—something good.
It would all add up, yet the rate of change would be calculated–not by addition–but in multiples. Unexplainable, exponential growth happens when passionate individuals choose to do something they believe in—something good.
The passionate person with a roll of Scotch tape demonstrates a commitment that inspires the next person, who brings along a hammer and some nails. Pretty soon, the house gets built. And then, the town.
Passion does not have to be perfect, systematic, or well-organized. Passion leads, and it cannot be measured or contained. It bursts forth in ways that a white paper cannot clarify. Sure, the media won’t cover such change or recognize it as good, and elites might condescend your efforts.
But what if it really is the only way?
Drs. Garry and Jodi Vermaas