New Castle News

October 10, 2013

Tim Kolodziej: You already ARE changing the world — but be careful how

Tim Kolodziej
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The ripple effect.

Chances are, you know exactly what that means. I’m guessing you can even see a vivid image of it in your mind.

Toss a rock into a pond and a tiny splash crawls to the shore in a huge circle. Or knock the first domino over and thousands follow suit.

What if our everyday lives acted upon those same patterns?

What if, instead of daydreaming about how we are going to “change the world,” we would take a good, hard look into the mirror and realize we already do.

Maybe hundreds of times a day.

For better.

Or for worse.

“Small actions can have amazing results.” — Ken McArthur

Everything we do has an impact.

I think we all get that. We don’t live in a bubble. We interact on a daily basis with real people tackling real issues.

We text.

We meet for lunch.

We introduce a friend to another friend.

We may even begin working together on a project or a business.

Action + response = outcome.

Our circle widens, just like the pond.

The ripple effect.

In this case, for better.

“Faith is not belief. Belief is passive. Faith is active.” — Edith Hamilton

Everything we don’t do has an impact.

I don’t think we get this. I know I struggle with this mightily.

Though we interact on a daily basis with real people tackling real issues, somehow we forget these are REAL PEOPLE we’re dealing with.

See that kid sitting by himself in the cafeteria? “I’ll just stay here with my buddies. I don’t want to join him and be an outcast with my crew.”

How about the older couple stuck on the side of the road? “Surely, they have a cell phone. They’ll just call AAA.”

That woman, still waiting to exit the parking lot as a line of cars processes by. “Sorry, lady, I’ve got places to go, too.”

And then there’s the dad who splits from home and leaves the family behind. He’s impacting his wife and kids — and who knows how many people they’ll interact with through the years — because he is NOT in the home.

Maybe you’ve felt the pain of passivity, too.

You intended to go to the gym but chose TV. Instead.

You intended to “eat clean” last night but hit the drive-through. Instead.

You meant to make the call.

Send the resume.


But you did nothing.


Maybe we don’t realize it today, but inaction is often the worst action we will ever take.

When asked how she became such a great poet, Maya Angelou responded: “When I was a little girl, my father’s eyes would light up when I walked into the room. That’s how.”

OK, guilty as charged.

In some ways, inaction has mucked up my life at various points. “Instead” has killed plenty of dreams I’ve had.

Maybe you, too.

So, how do we ever get back into the game?

Now what are we supposed to do?


That’s all.

Just do something.

It can even be something small.

Here’s my challenge for you today.


Just say “hi.”

That’s it. We can build on that in the future, but for today, just say “hi” or “hey” or “What’s shakin’, bacon?” or whatever your greeting of choice might be.

Today, say “hi” to co-workers, classmates, teammates and strangers on the street. If you want to be really bold, smile as you say it.

Then watch what happens.

You might be the ONLY person to say “hi” to that woman on the street. You may be the ONLY person to smile at the guy getting on the treadmill.

You may be the only one ACTIVELY making a difference in someone’s life today.

Remember, those thousands of people walking by with their heads down are impacting us — they just don’t know it.

Without uttering a word, they’re saying “you don’t matter.” Or, maybe, “I don’t matter to you.”

So, you with me on this? I mean, if I see you on the street today will you say “hey?”

And, please, don’t feel too much pressure. It’s not like we’re trying to change the world or anything.

We’re doing that already.

For better or for worse.

Whether we realize it or not.