Are You Too Small to Make A Difference?
I have had some crazy thoughts over the past week. There’s been so much happening in my life over the past few years that I could almost call this a “mid-life crisis”. But then I asked myself “is it that, or is it a mid-life opportunity”?
I have always been a very positive person, and I have become even more so in the past few years, even in the face of health and business challenges. I have done a lot of personal work, looking inside to see what I really believe and what I’m passionate about. I’ve always been the type to share stories with people (it’s a bit of a joke that friends will smirk when I say “I’ve got a story for you”) and that seems to be ramping up for me too. In fact, I would love nothing better than to be always telling stories, in the interest of helping people realize that no one is too small to make a difference, and if everyone waited for someone else to do something, it would never get done.
I am one of those guys that would be disappointed if my “closing thoughts” as I lay on my deathbed were, “bummer, I could have made a difference“. What are your thoughts? If someone says to you, “if not you, then who?”, how would you respond? My response is along the lines of “hhmmm, good point – why not?”
I do feel like I’m here to make a difference, as I think we all are, so I have to ask myself the question “what would you like to see changed?” So here’s a list for starters. Here are some of the things I’ve come to believe need to be understood better, in the name of the greater good, aka humanity.
In fact, let’s start with the topic of money. You know that thing, the root of all evil. Well, I don’t think that money itself is the problem. Money happens to be the system that we have available to us to provide as an exchange of service. If I do something or sell something of value, there is a transaction and I am treated to an “exchange”, usually in the form of money. So far, so good.
But we’ve gone way beyond a simple exchange for products or services to a need for accumulation, and in some cases (the 1%?), a need for massive accumulation. In fact, I think it has become such a driver of behaviour that some have lost their moral compass. There are so many things that happen strictly because of money, disregarding a concepts of “the greater good” and “do no harm”. Decisions are made based on increasing employee bonuses or shareholder value, often with little to no consideration of consequences. And frankly, it’s starting to upset me. I have done a fair bit of research regarding the topics below, and I also understand that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
I have read many stories and watched many movies and documentaries about our food supply and what is being done to it for the primary purpose of increasing profits. And make no mistake about it, there are some staggering side effects. I have listed a few on the Learn page of my web site. Check it out if you’re interested to find out more.
Start with our crops. Several years ago, when we risked losing crops to weeds and pests, I may have supported the idea to try genetically modifying crops to be weed and pest resistant so that there would be enough food for everyone to eat. Now that I’ve seen lots of conflicting evidence that our bodies are having trouble processing the genetically modified food (GMO), I no longer share the same belief. Many countries around the world have begun to either eliminate GMOs from their food or at least require labeling of products that contain GMOs, that’s certainly a few steps in the right direction.
And there may be a side effect in nature with regard to the genetic modification of food. I have also read enough about the decline of the honey bee population to be concerned. Honey bees pollinate a very high percentage of crops (I’ve read up to 70%), and several people have theorized that they can’t handle the genetically modified crops either. I’m not sure where the “proof” is in this discussion right now, but there certainly are enough questions being asked to make me think a bit differently. What are your thoughts on this statement “if the honey bee goes, we all go”?
There’s also the meat supply. There are many documentaries and stories of turkeys being injected with growth hormones so that they’ll grow faster, and cattle being injected so they can produce more milk, and I’ve recently read that up to 80% of antibiotics use is for injecting into animals to keep them from getting sick. This might also have seemed like a good idea at one time, but there are a lot of conflicting stories about the human body’s ability to process this food as well. I’m sure most of us have heard news reports at least suggesting a link between these hormones and the impact it is having on the rapid maturing of children.
Then there’s processed foods – in the name of convenience we have an entire portion of the food industry, and it’s usually found in the middle aisles of the supermarkets. This is where the food with virtually no nutritional value is usually found. And it’s also where a lot of the marketing dollars are spent. I’ve read three articles in the past week indicating that this is a highly competitive industry where companies work to create the “best taste”, often with an over generous supply of sugar, salt, and fat. Companies then create labels and advertising that play on people’s current thinking (e.g. low fat, less salt, sugar-free). Ask yourself a few questions “less salt than what?”, “sugar free but sweetened with what?”, “low fat, but high what?” I’m guilty of grabbing a chocolate bar or a bag of chips every once in a while, but in those cases I’m making a choice and I know it’s probably not good for me. But how come some cereals advertise “blueberry” as an ingredient and others advertise “real blueberries”? Aren’t there real blueberries in the first one? As long as a product can be labeled by the name of the syrup or “flavor” it contains, this will happen. Do we really know what we’re buying?
With these comments, I’ve barely touched the surface of what I’ve read and seen that is happening with our food supply. With rampant obesity and illness and dis-ease ever more prevalent, it is impossible for me to believe that our food supply isn’t a contributor. And these changes are all being made in the premise of making more money. If EVERYONE put the concept of greater good ahead of money, wouldn’t we be looking at better ways to manage our food supply?
Hold your thoughts for a second. I’m going to share a “news flash” at the end of the next section.
Our entire system is broken, the costs for providing health care are rapidly escalating, yet people are getting sicker rather than healthier. And I have a strong belief that this has happened in the name of money. That wasn’t the original intent, but that’s what it has become.
There are so many problems in the health care system. There is so much money to be made within the current system, and many companies are in it for the purpose of making money for themselves and their shareholders. I’ve read many stories of natural cures for many illnesses that never get brought to market because there’s no money to be made. There are a number of natural remedies that have shown promise to work at least as effectively as non-natural remedies, but natural products cannot be patented so no company will invest in bringing the remedy to market.
People are looking for quick-fix solutions, which leads to an over-recommendation of prescription drugs, when their body could have just healed itself naturally with a bit of time, or the problems could often have been solved naturally. I personally know more than a few folks who have demanded antibiotics from their doctor, even after the doctor has assured them that the virus will work its way out of the system naturally in a few days and the antibiotic won’t help. There are many videos on youtube with pharmaceutical reps and senior management people telling their stories about how they left their companies because they did not like how the companies were operating in the name of profit. (Note: this is not a condemnation of all pharmaceutical companies and could easily be a topic for three or four books.)
We don’t have a healthcare system, we have a dis-ease management system. It is high time that we started looking at root causes and stopped focusing on patching symptoms. It is high time that people started to take responsibility for their health and stopped handing over their power to their doctors and pharmaceutical drugs to satisfy the need for “quick fix” solutions.
If EVERYONE put the concept of greater good ahead of money, wouldn’t we be spending more time looking at root causes of illness and investigating ALL possible solutions rather than ways of patching symptoms, and only investigating ideas based on the ability to make money?
If the general public were to keep the status quo, there wouldn’t be any change at all. Companies that are driven by the primary goal of making money in the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the energy industry, and others are going to continue to do so. That’s their mandate. What is their impetus to change? If we keep buying it, they’re going to keep selling it.
Ok, here’s the news flash. More and more people are educating themselves and starting to ask questions. More and more people are stepping forward in their own way to make a difference. Truth is, I’m not sure how this is all going to pan out, but I believe that when enough people get sick and tired of being sick and tired, then change will be made to happen. And it’s already happening. Countries have banned or labeled GMO products. People are shopping differently. Change is happening.
What’s the punchline?
The reason that I have learned as much as I have over the past few years is because there have been a lot of people that decided to do something. They were unhappy with the status quo so they wrote a book or a blog, they made a movie or they became a speaker, they started sharing their thoughts and beliefs with friends and colleagues and realized that they weren’t alone.
The biggest beliefs that I’ve learned are that we’re all in this together and that nobody is too small to make a difference. I refuse to sit back and do nothing. I don’t know how many people I’ll reach, I don’t know if I’ll become a world-renowned speaker, but I also don’t want to look back and say “I could have made a difference”.
How about you? Are you too small to make a difference?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section below.
If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss a blog post, sign up for our newsletter.