Get Organized: Heal the World
A man who was walking along the beach noticed that the high tide
had washed hundreds of starfish upon the shore.
He realized that they would soon die being out of their natural
habitat. He began to pick up one at a time and throw it back into
Two unruly young men came up to him and began to taunt him.
"Why are you doing this?" they asked. "There are
hundreds, maybe thousands of them. Do you really think you can make
The man picked up a starfish, threw it into the ocean and replied,
"Made a difference to that one, didn't I?"
I saw a short film awhile ago that I couldn't get out of my mind.
It was one of the selections on the monthly CD mailed to us by the
Spiritual Cinema Circle. It's a very simple story about an elderly
man who sits down at his desk to write a letter to someone who,
from the message being written, you assume to be an old friend.
The movie takes you through the writing and mailing of the letter,
and into the following morning when the man comes down to his desk
again and begins to set up to write another letter. But this time
you see him open a telephone book and address an envelope to the
next name under the column of crossed-out names. You realize that
he's writing the same letter he wrote the day before, a letter of
support and encouragement, to another absolute stranger.
I've read about bloggers doing something similar. They've posted
that at times they feel helpless and even hopeless about all the
sadness in the world, and decided that they're going to do something
about it. They're scattering "love notes" around the
cities where they live - anonymous messages for anyone who might
need to believe something positive about themselves that day (e.g,
"You are beautiful", "You can do it", "It
will be OK", "Breathe").
Many of us feel limited in our efforts to make a difference.
Lack of time, money, energy and organization can be thought of
as reasons not to do more. But what if you could organize yourself
to reach out and make just one person's day better? I know that
I've addressed this topic before, but I'm now more aware of this
growing movement to heal the world in tiny new ways, and I want
to spread the word -- especially about getting yourself organized
in order to participate.
Here's the fact: Nothing ever gets done unless you make the time
to do it. We know this, in theory, but tend to forget what we
know when attempting something that requires several steps to
For example, when giving workshops on time management, I sometimes
use the exercise of writing "Paint the house" on your
To Do List. Obviously, "paint the house" is not a one-step
project. So I ask the group, "What is one thing you can do
to get closer to having the house completely painted?" At
that point, someone usually suggests, "Buy the paint".
Instead of asking for more ideas, I'll then ask, "And what
do you need to do to buy the paint?
Then I'll start a list on the board of what is needed to accomplish
- to buy the paint you need to pick a color
- to pick a color you need to look at samples
- to look at samples you need to go to the store
- to go to the store you need to get in the car
- to get in the car you need to schedule a time to leave
The point being - if you don't schedule a time to get in the car
to go to the store to look at the paint samples to pick a color
to paint the house - the house will never get painted.
The bottom line is always the same: the time commitment. And
the process is the same for either painting the house or sending
a love note out into the world. First, break down the goal into
do-able tasks and then schedule each task. At first this might
seem overly time-consuming in and of itself, but it's actually
one of the best ways I know to beat procrastination. This is because
one of the main causes of procrastination is trying to "do"
a goal ("paint the house"), as opposed to figuring out
the individual tasks that lead to the completion of a goal. When
you tackle something overwhelming, it's tempting to put it off
if you're not sure where to start and how to proceed.
If writing encouraging words appeals to you, the necessary steps
include planning time, creation time, and delivery
time. And these steps need to be broken down further until you
can see each part of the process clearly. This approach will show
you exactly what to do, and in what order. Schedule these tasks,
complete them and know that by organizing your own time more effectively,
you've made a positive impact on someone else's life today.