You may all be familiar with the story of a young boy who one day was leaving school and was carrying every single item in his locker – every book, his jacket, his lunchbox. Everything was in his arms and he could barely stagger along. Along came another boy, who asked him to help him and took some of the books from him as he labored along in his journey to his house. When they got there, the boy who was helped thanked the other, and off they went.
Many years later, they came back together, and the boy who was helped turned to the one who helped him and said, “I want you to know that that day many years ago, you saved my life. I intended to end my life that day and I emptied out my locker as to not be a burden to anyone or anybody in the sense of cleaning my locker of all its contents. But your act of kindness changed my mind, and I decided to go on.” Yes, a small act of kindness can really lead to a powerful, positive thing.
I am telling students in my Noble Strength Dojo all the time, that a slight difference in the way you move your hip, in the way you move your arm, could mean the difference from a good technique to an unbelievably awesome technique. In the context of martial arts, that could save your life one day in the self-defense manner it is intended to.
Never look at something as not meaning enough. Every good act will eventually lead to something very positive. Think of a seed. A seed planted in the ground becomes a very huge, powerful tree, some of which provides and yields an incredible amount of life-giving fruit and vegetables to many people in our world.
At the same time, we must also beware of small things that are not so positive. Consider this: A little more gas in the gas chamber which Daniel was in unfortunately might have meant the difference and he might not be with us today and had the incredible, positive impact he did, and has and will. Those of you who know him know what a positive impact he has.
A little cutting comment may really hurt somebody a lot more than we think it might. A little bit about talking somebody in a negative way may lead us into a very difficult trend where we continue to do this time and time again, and even can point that finger back at ourselves and lead to a self-erosion of our own respect and integrity.
But that is where I like to say that we have a chance every day to flip a coin, but we flip a coin this time with an opportunity not only to predict but control the outcome. It’s like the old joke “Hey, let’s flip a coin. Heads I win, tails you lose.” I got tricked on that a few times in my young days, but in this case, it takes on a powerful meaning.
But we must consider that we have that choice every single day to look at the positive little things that take place in our life, or the not-so-positive things. Then it’s up to us to ripple it out as much as possible.
Last week, I went to the gym just not feeling myself, until I ran into my friend, Charles, who had a couple of kind words for me, maybe two or three sentences. Instantly, I felt better, but the mistake I made that day was I did not spread it out to many other people. I will try better the next time—believe me—because that ripple-out is where those small things can become even more powerful things.
Consider what happens when you ask a dog if he wants to go for a walk. It’s like giving him a hundred thousand dollars or more. Consider a germ so small the eye can’t see it, but it turns into a full-blown cold or virus that really becomes very present.
I don’t think I need to convince you anymore. Look more carefully at the positive little things in your life. Multiply them, bring them forward, and let the results bring a more respectful, compassionate and loving world to all who you interact with.
TAKE NOBLE ACTION
- Recognize 2 “small” things that were done to you and appreciate them now.
- Recognize 3 opportunities to offer a “small” bit of kindness.
- Observe a dog’s reaction to something “small” (eating). Bring this positive emotion into your life at least once this week.