What's the value of one?
The smartest thing my ex ever said to me was, "if it helps just one person, isn't it worth it?"
At the time I was bickering with him about giving a homeless man some money. My stance was that you shouldn't give beggars money, because they'll probably go spend it on alcohol or drugs. To be honest, I used to lack a lot of compassion and empathy. I was really cynical. Looking back, it was because I felt like I didn't get much compassion growing up and I survived, so other people should suck it up too. Also, I was probably 16 years old.
Ever since that argument, the comment has always stuck with me. If it helps just one person, isn't it worth it?
Recently, it had me thinking about the value of one.
A few weeks ago, while walking with the boys, we noticed trash here and there along the sidewalks. Nothing crazy, but definitely disappointing to see mixed in with the scenery. I always notice trash wherever I go. I'm sure you see it too. Paper towels on the floor or around the sink in a public bathroom. Trash that didn't quite make it into the trash can. Dog poop bags, some with poop, some without. Fast food containers. Chip bags. And all sorts of random broken pieces of plastic.
Now, I like to think all that random trash fell by accident and maybe the person who left it there didn't notice. Accidents happen. I'm not about to point fingers if I'm willing to ignore picking it up too.
So, I told Caleb that we should find a trash grabber, and pick up the trash. Let's do something about it. Complaining isn't going to make it not end up in the ocean. He was thrilled. We got a $10 trash grabber on Amazon and have been picking up whatever we find. I like to pretend we're fighting for good against the ocean's nemesis. It makes the walks more enjoyable, because it feels good to do something good, for something beyond ourselves. Feels good to be the person that does something about it. All that energy spent upset that someone made the mess is energy that could be spent doing something about it.
Here's the best part. Since we started picking up trash, we have heard of other people that are going to do the same.
We don't need to organize a huge event or spread the word to thousands of followers. We can just be the one person who does what they can. If it helps in one way, no matter how small, isn't it worth it?
This concept of being more focused on one spills into other aspects of life too. Focus on the one relationship you've been neglecting. Focus on the one bad habit that you need to correct. Focus on the one meal in front of you if you're trying to diet.
If we take one task at a time, "little by little, a little becomes a lot." - Jim Kwik.
What is one action you can take? What is one new perspective you could consider? What is one person positively influenced mean to you?
What's the value of one?