Recently, plastic straws were banned in the UK.
My first thought was that it was a fairly useless thing to do, that it was a pointless exercise. But I think I was wrong.
The thing about the small things that we do and the small changes that we make, is not things themselves, but the fact that they change us a bit at the same time.
That is enormously powerful.
Changing a small thing now sets off a chain reaction into the future. A tiny event can echo forward changing our future selves and our future decisions.
This is huge, and right now, we need huge.
Right now it’s difficult not to panic at the the number of things that need to change.
It’s hard to look at mega world scale issues like the climate crisis, plastic pollution, massive inequality etc. and not to feel powerless. That it’s not going to make any difference if I choose to buy that plastic bottle of water or not. That is doesn’t matter if I leave the lights on or not.
But viewed with an eye on the potential chain reactions the picture changes.
By making a choice to do something different, I switch from being someone who feel’s powerless, to someone who is able to do something. From someone who is turning a blind eye to the problems of the world, to someone trying to make things better.
I become someone who does what they can.
That is a change worth taking. That is a change worth celebrating.
And the bonus? It’s contagious. It spreads to those about us. It gathers it’s own momentum.
I saw a tweet recently. I can’t find it any longer which is frustrating because it was better put that I can manage; but the gist is this.
We are all familiar with the time travel story, where someone goes back in time and makes a tiny change, squashes a bug or something, and returns to the future to find a totally different world.
We can understand that, we can see the logic in that, it makes sense.
A seemingly tiny change now can make a huge difference later. All because of the power of chain reactions and momentum.
There lies the secret of huge power. And the best bit? It’s available to all of us. From this perspective, we are far from powerless.
So instead of scoffing at others who make tiny changes, small steps towards their vision of a better world, I want to celebrate it.
When you think about it, all the big things we see happen in the world are really just the result of a bunch of small things happening in a certain order. That is all it ever really is.
Even if we all just did the easy things; ditching plastic bags, switching to clean energy suppliers, bringing our own cups to the coffee shop, upgrading our phone less often, walking a bit more - whatever we can do, the effect could be massive.
There are a lot of humans in this world and lots of us doing tiny things can have an enormous impact.
Let’s start there. Let’s change some of those little things. Let’s talk about the quick wins so others can benefit too. Let’s celebrate the changes no matter how small. Let’s not discourage those who are trying, let’s allow the momentum to build.
Let’s change the world.