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Archive for September, 2011

Six things I do need – A second comment about the future of our economy

September 6th, 2011 No comments

Last month I wrote about things I don’t need.  You can view those comments here if you like.  Today, I’m going to write about things that I do need.  Things that will make life better.

  • I need to know that my children are safe when I’m not around.
  • I need to know that my elected officials are doing what I elected them to do.
  • I need to know that my government is acting in the long-term interest of the country and its people.
  • I need to know that the people in charge are strong enough to make the tough decisions, even when it hurts.
  • I need to see that we act with compassion for our neighbors and our communities.
  • I need to see that we offer a helping hand to people that need one.

For  too long, it has paid, at least in the US, to act in one’s own interest to the detriment of others.  There have always been people willing to do this.  I don’t think they’re going to change very easily.  Certainly not on their own.

However my impression is that these people, the selfish ones, now have way too much power.  The checks and balances that were built into our government have been subverted.  New technologies allow those with a public voice to have much more influence than they ever have in the past.  Our leaders play homage to democratic structures and ideals, yet behind the scenes they serve only themselves.

As our economy continues to shift, (I think we’re all agreed that it is shifting) we need to change in positive ways.  And this change must be a deliberate one, with a positive intent.

The needs listed above are collective needs.  One person can’t control any of them directly.  But in my opinion, one person can make a difference.  I therefore post this for myself, as a personal challenge:

What can I do today that will make things better for everyone?

 

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The day I made a difference

September 4th, 2011 No comments

At some point in our life, almost all of us wonder about our ability to make a difference in the world.  This is a personal story that seems to show that we can.

I was at the University of Maryland (quite a while back now), attending classes.  I was walking between buildings, and was annoyed that yet again, the person in front of me had not even bothered to hold the door for me, despite my close proximity.

Now I’m not particularly thin-skinned, and my annoyance was actually due to the fact that no one on campus ever bothered to hold doors, rather than being due to the actions of whoever  it was in front of me at the time.  In a campus with 30,000 students, there were always people in front of you and behind you between classes, and for some reason common courtesy had been lost.

Then and there, I resolved to hold the doors for everyone behind me, even if they were 20 feet away.  I would be friendly and considerate to my fellow students, irregardless of how I was treated by others.

And things changed.

Literally within weeks, I found people holding the door for me, even when I was several paces behind.

Now you can argue it was my imagination.  You can argue I was biased to see a positive result.  But I’m an engineer, and I can be pretty good at examining data when I want to.  And I’m convinced things changed.

You might also argue that something else happened at the same time to cause the change, and that my action was purely coincidental.  And you could be right.  But in my mind, for the rest of my life, I will continue to believe that what I do makes a difference.  And I’ll act accordingly.

Categories: Inspirational Tags: