If you change just one person, do you make a tiny change in the world?
This could have gone so differently.
“Hey young man, you’re not supposed to be climbing up there!” the old woman shouted while pushing her little cart along the sidewalk.
What that young man was doing was trying to find a way to hang up the basketball net at the public playground. In fact, he was up there trying to help me hang up the net as, ahem, the ladder I brought was too short. Here are a few scenarios as to what might have happened next:
- We ignore her. She continues on with her life and we continue on with ours. She’d probably complain to her Bingo girlfriends about how the youth of the world is descending into a vicious circle that will certainly end up in drugs, murder, and death to all mankind.
- We push back. That young man might have yelled back. I might have yelled back. I’m sure we could have thought up something mean to say to the haggardly old witch walking by yelling at innocent kids. Short-term effects: maybe a good laugh all around. Long-term effects: see #1 and “descending in a vicious circle … “
- We compromise. Maybe we shout back that we’re trying to fix something or maybe even more neutral, we just wave and thank her and young man descends from the fence (but not into the vortex of juvenile oblivion).
- We Repossible the situation. A heretofore little-known strategy of changing the outcome from the ordinary expectation to the unexpected, the probably impossible, to the Repossible.
I took action #4. I got down from my ladder and started walking towards the woman. Before she might think I was going to, oh, I don’t know, murder her and bury her in the cemetery conveniently located next to the basketball court, I laid on a huge, Hollywood smile and dragged over my not-quite-long-enough ladder.
“Wouldn’t you know it,” I started. “My ladder is too short!” I pointed up to the netless basketball rim. “See, there isn’t a net up there and I bought one and I wanted to hang it up so the entire community could play basketball with a rim with a net.” I again pointed to my ladder. “But my ladder is too short.” Just to add a little spice to my pep, I added. “Crazy, right?”
I write lots about transformation in my book “Every Single Day.” From the simple daily habit change to the kind where a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. This old lady, complete with angry, youth-skeptical frown, went from a mean old geyser to Aunt Mathilda who bakes you cookies every Wednesday when primary school gets out early.
Just. Like. That.
Boom. Did you hear it? That was Repossible happening in the world.
- Did I cure cancer? Not yet.
- Did I stop a world war? Probably not.
- Did I change one person’s perspective for one afternoon and make the planet a better place? Absolutely without a shred of doubt.
She then proceeded to walk with me to her house down the street where she was pretty sure she had an old ladder from her late husband that I could borrow. She showed me her garden and how much water the flowers needed. She chatted about this and went on about that. She was bubbly, smiling, and a different person.
Just like that.
What did it cost me? This intense dose of The Repossible Serum? One injection of Repossible Fluid and we made an immediate impact on a single person.
Think there are ripple effects?
You can bet your Bingo card.