Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Ripple Effect

The world seems to be filled with a lot of grumpy people. You see them behind counters, behind steering wheels, behind you in the checkout line.... You may not even realize they are grumpy because you don't have to interact with them, but there it is: grumpiness festering beneath the surface like a boil, waiting for some unnamed pressure to cause it to burst onto the surface.

What happens when that grumpy boil bursts from pressures throughout the day and splatters all over an innocent bystander? What could that look like? Road Rage? Emotional/Verbal/Physical/Sexual Abuse? Self abuse such as drinking, drugs, gambling, overspending, overeating...and whatever else is out there?

I believe that we have direct positive or negative influence on people and the people they interact with after we encounter them. That positive or negative energy is going to spread out into the world like ripples on a pond. It is entirely possible that by the end of the day somebody, somewhere is going to boil over because the negative energy in their life kept growing.

So, how can we change that? Do you realize that through small, simple measures, we can make a HUGE difference in the world? Holding the door for someone, a look and a smile, an acknowledgment. Don't we all just want to be noticed? To know that someone sees us? To know that we are not invisible?

Is it possible to stop road rage by simply allowing another car to merge in front of us? Is it possible to turn someone's day around to the point that they do not go home and kick the dog or yell at the wife and kids simply by acknowledging someones' existence? Have you ever been in line at the grocery store with a cart full of stuff and the person in line behind you only has 2-3 items and you invited them to go ahead of you in line?

I expressed these feelings to a former church pastor of mine awhile ago and he responded by saying how he'd wished I had participated in a study group that summer that focused on teaching people this principal (remember WWJD a few years back?). I was rather dumbfounded that this idea needed to be taught.

I don't expect to be remembered in 100 years, but I truly believe that people remember me today because I took a moment out of my busy day to acknowledge them in a positive way. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a saint and I'm not perfect and I fail at least 50% of the time but my goal is this: To look at people and really see them and, when possible, do a small thing that might influence them in a positive way.

What small thing have you done lately to spread positive energy?


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