Making a Difference – What’s Your Ripple Effect?

Is your ‘ripple effect’ positive or negative? What chain reactions do you set off each day intentionally or unintentionally? How do you impact the world or the lives of those around you? Or how could you, probably more easily than you realise?

That’s what I mean by ‘ripple effect’ – a way of being or an action you take that changes the course of things. Like the first in a line of dominoes. Or the pebble that hits the water and sets it in motion.

Many of us would probably like to ‘make a difference’ or ‘do our bit’ – and many, thankfully, do! Whether that’s a sponsored race or volunteering or supporting a charitable cause. For others of us, it may seem that life is too busy to add more commitments or we are not sure where to begin, especially when we see so much in the news that seems to need fixing. So we leave it to others or put it off for another day.

What I think we sometimes forget is the difference that we can make NOW, EVERY DAY. With small gestures that cost us very little. My father always loves to share with me Victor Borge’s words that “The shortest distance between two people is a smile”. And I think that is very true. That can simply be for the joy of the connection, but you also never know what that other person is going through. Strangers have turned my day around before during tough times, just with a smile. And they will never know this.

Remember too that negativity has its own ripple effect. What would people around you say is yours? What’s the ripple effect you would like to have..?

You may never know that your act has sparked a ripple effect, the difference you have made, but be encouraged that you can. Look for opportunities. Take the time to listen, encourage, show appreciation, smile, check how someone is doing or notice people who are alone or strangers around you who may need your help.

These are obvious, easy actions to take and yet they require us to be present and aware. How can we connect with others or spot opportunities if we are always rushing, stressed or constantly glued to our mobile phone? We may not get it right in every moment, but we can at least make the conscious effort to try, to get into the habit.

Start too with what you are passionate about or what comes easily to you. It might be as simple as sharing an uplifting Facebook post or your art/writing/music, teaching someone a skill you have that they need or suggesting some change at your workplace that will improve the environment or lives of others. You never know what idea, result, energy or positive action you may spark. Something small can have more impact than you know, more import than you could possibly imagine.

As Mother Teresa said:

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

So remember: be conscious and look for opportunities. Whoever you are and wherever you are, you have more power than you realise to make a difference right now, every day.