Your individual potential change history
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Robert F Kennedy
The passing of Nelson Mandela brought with it a sharp focus on the unique contribution that this icon made to humankind. Today, the world is a better place because of his inspirational leadership. In a world of hatred and conflict, his acts shines as a beacon of light for those who believe that even the fiercest enemies can become friends; that the biggest humanitarian obstacles can be overcome; that we are the masters of our own future and we have the freedom to create a better world.
There are many people who refuse to accept their freedom and power. These individuals try to shift responsibility for our shared future away to others (e.g. Leaders) or to supernatural beings (e.g. God)*. They hide behind fabricated fables and/or conspiracy theories to mask the fact that they are too lazy or too scared to do anything. No matter how they protest about the implication of their belief, their insistence on pre-determinism renders them powerless. They have submitted to Learned Helplessness by believing that someone controls everything; that it has been decided in advance what will happen and what will not happen; that human beings have the illusion of choice when their path has already been set.
Sometimes, even the greatest among us want to succumb to this kind of thinking when gazing at the luminous light of leadership shining froth from people such as Nelson Mandela. We try to cover our shortcomings from being exposed though their light by hiding in the shadows of helplessness. We choose to believe that we (as individuals) can never make a real difference and recklessly abandon the reins of our future.
Every day we have to choose on which side we will be today. We can choose to be on the side of those to work tirelessly to create tiny ripples of hope, contributing to the unconquerable current that changes history. Or else we can choose to be on the side of those who betray their humanness by starving their potential through passive inaction.
It is never too late to join the millions that make the world a better place through daily acts of compassion. Start creating tiny ripples of hope in your family and your community and watch them grow into unstoppable currents that sweep away any hatred, conflict and crisis.
*Note: I am not claiming that religion promotes a passive acceptance of troubled circumstances. On the contrary, we have countless examples of people from various religions that have dedicated their lives to change the fate of others. However, there are many people falsely using religion to shift their responsibility for the future away from themselves in order to maintain a fabricated idea on helplessness.