What You Do Matters
Did you ever wonder if you make a difference in the world?
During the holiday season, many television stations broadcast the old Jimmy Stewart movie, "It's a Wonderful Life." If you've never seen the movie, the simple plot summary is that George Bailey, head of a small town bank, thinks his life is meaningless. Faced with difficulties, he's ready to give up. His guardian angel Clarence intervenes and takes him back in time all the way to when he was a small boy. Through this long and extended flashback, we see many simple ways that George Bailey's life had meaning. What would have happened if George had never been born? His brother would have died in a sledding accident, falling through the ice on a pond and drowning. George was there to save him. The local pharmacist would have accidentally poisoned a patient when stricken with grief he reached for the wrong jar on his work counter; George was there to stop the poison-laced pills from leaving the pharmacy.
Throughout his life, George Bailey – a young man in a tiny town in the middle of no-name America – made a difference. He didn't need to be a great president like Abraham Lincoln, a scientist like Albert Einstein, or anyone else famous. His life had meaning and purpose by the very simple, ordinary, daily actions and interactions with his friends, family and community.
That movie serves as a powerful call each year to many people that their actions matter.
The Butterfly Effect
There's an engineering principle dubbed "the butterfly effect" which states that small variations at the start of a dynamic (changing) system may produce large, unforeseen effects in the long run. This phrase has captured the public imagination with such images as "a butterfly flapping his wings in Africa starts a hurricane in America" and similar metaphors.
You are like that butterfly flapping his wings, or the small variance in the system. Each action that you take affects others in good or bad ways, big and small. Choose your actions well. You do make a difference, every day. Make it a positive one!
Mindfulness in Every Day Situations
One way to increase the positive flow of energy in the world today and in your own life is to be mindful of your every day actions. Heaven or hell starts in the home. Begin with your immediate family. Do you snap and snarl at them when you get home from work? Do you hunch in front of the television set, the nightly news more important than your daughter asking for help with her homework or your son's request to go out and play catch until dark?
Our words have power. Ancient people knew this. That's why they honored names, and why many holy books and texts such as the Bible state over and over again the power of speech. Choose your words carefully. Be mindful of what you say and how you say it. Start small and simple with your family, and expand from there to coworkers and friends. There's always a choice of what you say. You are not a prisoner of your reactions. Cultivate mindfulness and choose words with care and love, giving attention to words that uplift and build, support and create.
Think back through your own life. There were people who spoke with love when others would speak harshly. Forgiveness offered when others would walk way. Those are the moments you remember most. Give freely of those moments to others. You don't need to make a grand, selfless gesture. It's the quiet word of encouragement spoken to a child, a calm response in a situation where everyone is tense, and a thank you note sent unexpectedly that makes all the difference in the world.
These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. The preceding information and/or products are for educational purposes only and are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Please consult your doctor before making any changes or before starting ANY exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using this information or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.
Written by: Jeanne Grunert
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