It is difficult to watch the news today: Zika viruses are overwhelming the Olympics coverage and now we are not supposed to travel to Miami; the presidential campaigns do not appear to be offering a compelling vision of the future – only fear of the wrong selection; terrorist activities are hitting the headlines every couple of weeks, racial tension is gripping major cities and more. It seems that there is a general feeling of malaise and tension.
As I look out to the troubles of the world, I try to figure out what I can do to fix this problem and it is overwhelming. I have figured out the solution to all of the problems above. Get ready for this because it will be transformational. NOTHING – Do NOTHING. As you might be surprised by my reply, I will to clarify. The world is a very big place. I realize that I cannot control Zika viruses or Fundamentalist Islamic Terrorist. If I cannot control or influence these issues then how can I expend my limited energy on these issues?
I am not naively saying that you should pretend that we are living in a perfect world, or that you should checkout, yet you should keep these issues in their appropriate place. This weekend I spent two days riding bicycles nearly 120 miles across the beautiful Oregon countryside with my daughter. I was able to be fully present in that moment: No cell phones, television news, radio reports or other distractions. The weekend was just about my daughter, myself, a few close friends and hundreds of others sharing a great cause and enjoying the moment. Perhaps it takes moments like this to put things in perspective. There was no reason to worry about things outside our control. If I had been worried about the economy, Presidential elections or racial tensions, I would have missed so much this weekend.
It is important to understand your sphere of control and be impactful in that area. When I take stock of my world I see that I can truly change my family, business, health, church and community. I know that I can reach a little outside those key areas but the further I go, the less I am able to accomplish. You may argue that I am not willing to make my contribution yet this is proven over and over by a simple economic theory. This is the theory of diminishing marginal returns. The theory states that the more I do, the lower my ultimate results. Perhaps I am taking the theory out of perspective some but it is close enough to support my ideas. The more I try to accomplish, in reality the less effective I will be and also the less I will know about what I am supporting. For example, President Obama is asking for $2 billion to fight the Zika virus. Why Not $1 billion or $10 billion instead of the $2 billion requested? Will one produce more effective results than the other? Keep in mind that this is not a political discussion rather one of return on investments. If this is a billion dollar solution then how can I really make an impact? On the other hand the bike ride that I participated in was a fundraising event for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The ride has a goal of raising near $800,000. My daughter and I will raise more than $10,000 for this event. I feel as though our efforts contributed strongly to this event and we were able to make a real impact. Not only did we raise a lot of money, I was able to invest greatly in my relationship with my teenage daughter at a very formative part of her life.
It is important that you do not miss out on real opportunities while you are worried about an uncontrollable event – unless you are a world-class researcher. Be present in your moments and make real impacts where you can make an impact.
It is not my desire to squash big thinkers and those that hope to make a global difference, yet I hope to offer peace to others. My hope is that I can inspire many more big ‘doers’ and people of action. It is my thought that if you have something of consequence that needs to be done then you can focus on achievement rather than living in fear or even a general feeling of discord. I also feel that if people operate at a level where they can do good, then the world will be a better place. I also think that if you focus on the positive things in your life and the world in general you will find that you will have fewer worries.
It is not my place to determine your priorities but in case you are not sure of areas for impact I will offer some thoughts for your consideration. How is your family? Are your children building skills that will help them make their world a better place? Do you have a solid relationship with your spouse? Is there a cause worthy of your time and investment? You can make a difference by being important to children, visiting the elderly and lonely, feeding the hungry, educating children, cleaning the environment in your community, raising funds for medical research, supporting the arts and much more. When our families, communities, churches, businesses and the environment are stronger then you will truly make a lasting impact. If you worry then nothing gets better and you feel worse.
My challenge to you today is to find your passion and make the necessary investments to make your world a better place. Start by thinking about your priorities and determining what is truly important to you in this world. Is it your faith, family, health, or other? When you determine your priorities then you can start with your plan to make an impact. When you have priorities and a plan then consider developing person and family goals in order to maintain your focus. Life is a gift and you have a responsibility to make a difference. Making a difference will not come for worry; rather it comes from positive action. Hopefully this emphasis will pull people from their television, Facebook, video games, Pokémon Go and other distractions and allow for positive purpose.