This image comes from an awesome blog (click the picture to check it out) created by someone who posts inspirational post-it notes all over Singapore!
This particular note is one of my favorites because it reminds me of one of the major things we teach people when talking about green dots. Basically: no matter how small your action, it is so much better than having done nothing because, together, those small actions add up to change a culture!
To employ a sort-of metaphor, college is a great illustration of this. When I started at my school I felt as if I was going to be working towards my Undergrad degree forever because 128 credits just seemed like so many; each semester’s work seemed impossibly small in the face of 128 credits. Now that I have about nine classes left to go those same semester-long steps still seem small (and sometimes I wish they were bigger so I didn’t have to graduate so soon!) but I can see how much power there is in stacking up one class at a time… together they make up that “impossibly” big 128. The irony of all this is that getting a graduate degree (which I hope to do one day) still seems impossibly big.
All of those impossibly big tasks: a huge paper, saving for a home, changing a culture… they may seem intimidating but really, they’re not because at the heart of all of those huge tasks are many, many tiny tasks. A few paragraphs or sentences at a time will get you a paper, a few dollars in the bank on a regular basis will eventually add up, a few mindful actions from a dedicated group of individuals can make major steps towards changing a culture… you get the picture.
Its a powerful thing to remind yourself of from time to time, in any context. I know I personally often feel discouraged and as if I am not doing enough, especially in the face of horrific tragedies like what is currently happening in Japan. Remembering that the supplies and money that you and I donate are going to come together to make up a much larger relief effort that actually will help other people to rebuild their lives makes me feel that much more powerful than I did before. (Though I still wish I was capable of doing more than just donate money.)
If you plan to make a donation to the Japanese relief efforts please consider giving the money to an organization that actually uses all of the money you donated to help Japan. (As opposed to organizations like the Red Cross that have not been totally accountable with donations from past disasters.) Here’s a fairly exhaustive list of charities to start from to help Japan… although it hasn’t been extensively fact-checked, so I’d still recommend doing a little more research to ensure that the organization you choose has no history of being shady with donations.
So please, never hesitate to help out because you “can’t do enough” and never talk yourself out of a dream because it is simply “too big.” Just keep reminding yourself: small & persistent is the stuff that changes the world.