“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
The 24/7 news cycle streams a never-ending picture of the world’s problems: wars, natural disasters, poverty, terrorism, political and corporate scandals. It isn’t hard to feel cynical about making a difference in a world so fraught with problems. But we can all take even a small step toward helping others in need or contributing to a project dedicated to the greater good. As Mother Teresa said: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” And our small actions can ripple across time and space, and bring about positive outcomes beyond our immediate surroundings.
Rather than resigning to the status quo, what can you do to make a difference?
“A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.” – Morihei Ueshiba
Harvard professor Amy Cuddy and Dana Carney at the University of California-Berkeley researched how body postures that exhibit power (expansive, open, space-occupying stances) affect people’s feelings, behaviors, and hormone levels. They found that “power posing” or faking body postures associated with dominance and power for as little as two minutes increases people’s testosterone, decreases their cortisol, increases their appetite for challenge, and causes them to perform better in job interviews.
What is your usual stance? How can you remind yourself to carry yourself with confidence and pride, when you’re sitting, standing, or walking?
“Rumination inevitably backfires. It merely compounds our misery. It’s a heroic attempt to solve a problem that it is just not capable of solving.” – Mark Williams
Often, in our attempt to get to the bottom of why a situation did not turn out in ‘our favor’ or the way we had hoped, we replay it over and over again, believing mistakenly that this will bring us peace and closure. But it is by redirecting our thoughts and actions to something constructive and meaningful that we can allow ourselves to move on. This may entail formulating a strategy on steps we can take to deal with a problem at work, in a relationship or any challenging situation in life. Or it may entail, simply, changing the focus of our thoughts to something unrelated to the problem at hand, but productive and useful.
Is there something that is bothering you—a challenge or a difficulty—that you play and replay in your mind? Come up with ideas about how you can overcome the challenge, to better deal with the difficulty.
“Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – this is not easy.” – Aristotle
Blow a gasket. Go through the roof. Fit to be tied. Eat someone alive. Fly off the handle. Give a piece of one’s mind. Go ballistic. Jump down someone’s throat… The English language is replete with expressions for losing one’s temper.
What can you do to remind yourself to take a step back rather than react in anger?
“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.” – Rachel Carson
When you last walked outside, did you notice the color of the sky, the shape of the clouds, or the texture of the path you’re on. Did you make eye contact or smile at a person passing by? Were you on your way somewhere on auto-pilot or were you mindful of your surroundings?
In what situations are you most mindful of the wonder instead of overlooking life’s treasures? How can you remind yourself to become more present to the miracle around you today, and every day?