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The day I made a difference

September 4th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to 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.

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