Never conclude that you are too small to make a difference.
A lot of the problems we face as individuals, as nations or as a world today can be solved if only each of us understands the value of our contributions. To be sure, there is no problem that’s unsolvable in this world. But solutions don’t get found or implemented because we are steeped in scarcity thinking. “What can I, who am a small fry, do about this?” is the most debilitating question we can ask ourselves.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzing Gyatso, often quotes an African proverb that says, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito.” He should know. Because for the last several decades he has been, in exile, leading the Tibetans’ right to self-determination against an oppressive Chinese government, and has now come to represent the universal right to freedom and human dignity. He lives by this credo: “As long as space will exist and there will be need to alleviate the suffering of living things, may I be around, may I be useful.” It is a philosophy worth internalizing.
Look around you. See the waste, the garbage being generated, even as the ecology is being senselessly destructed, every moment that we humans inhabit the planet. See the pain and suffering of hundreds of thousands of people in just your neighborhood, they are dying of disease, loneliness, hunger and emotional trauma. See the values-crisis that the world is grappling with. It is not just the economy that is struggling. The way we live has become so self-centered and irresponsible. It is time for action. We must be inspired by the girl on the beach who continues to throw the star fish back into the ocean so that they can live and believes that to each one that she throws back, she’s making a difference. (Watch the video here of this beautiful story!). On a spiritual plane, the Masters say, when even one member of a family, looks inward and finds a deeper meaning to Life, there’s a ripple effect on everyone connected. The whole family begins to radiate the positive energy and starts seeing abundance and opportunity in everything. On a practical plane, if you start behaving more responsibly __ for instance, stopMping the use of plastic, not drinking and driving, maybe ride a bicycle instead of driving to work, reaching out and helping someone in need__you will have made a difference. So look around you, see what’s within your reach, in your control and work on it.
We are all on a single-entry, limited tenure Visa on Planet Earth. The key is, when we pass on, we must be able to answer the following questions: “As long I was on the planet, was I useful? Did I make a difference?” The Dalai Lama and the girl in the video can answer ‘yes’ to those questions. Can you?