Save the Shoes! (Don’t wait to be a hero!)

Posted on October 8, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

Has there ever been a time in your life when you wanted more than anything to make a difference, to matter, or on your best days, to fix the wrongs of the world?

What happened, or what do you think would happen if, you jumped into a situation that needed a hero? Do we fear it won’t be as grand as our mind’s eye projected? Would we overlook the grandeur of the butterfly effect we’d set in motion?

Let’s watch this delightful, short reminder of the possibilities, with a life lesson from a volunteer firefighter:

Via: TED 1

Before I continue with what this can mean to all of us in the Ever Widening Circles community, let’s take a little detour into nerd-ville: Bezos’ story reminds me of a thread that runs through the iconic Harry Potter series of books. After years of Harry being deemed “The Chosen One,” Harry tells his best friend Ron Weasley that his feats of heroism aren’t as great as they sound, because, in each case, he simply did the thing that needed to be done in the moment. Ron later has his own heroic moment in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, and notices the same thing: he just did what had to be done.

Perhaps it is situations that make the hero, not the other way around. Fictional or not, none of us really know the magnitude of our actions when we just do what needs doing in a critical moment. What’s more, it is rare in a crisis that we have time to consider personal gain.

Image: Fireman on stage at the TED conference, life lesson from a volunteer firefighter

Through my work on the Ever Widening Circles project, I’ve discovered that there are no end to the heroes and thought leaders who are just doing the right thing. Pushing forward every day, often against some big barriers, the innovators and doers we feature on EWC are often ordinary people who found themselves walking with a great idea, too compelling to ignore.

That’s what happened to me.

In January of 2014, every day I became more disgusted and burdened by the overwhelming negativity of the 24-hour news cycle. One day I met an unemployed tech geek in a coffee shop and proposed he build me a website where I would share things that proved there was still hope, beauty and possibility in the world. Once I started, the floodgates of potential and support came in. I didn’t know we would serve hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. We never dreamed we’d develop a huge viewership in places like Algeria, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Iraq.

Image: Little girl in hero pose on beach

Again, my point is that the first steps of making a difference in the world, both large and small, don’t necessarily seem heroic in the heat of the moment. But in doing one thing, with the best intention, we move the world ahead for at least one person, and maybe set in motion a story that evolves into ever-widening ripples of possibility for eons.

Do the right thing, even if it’s small. Be kind.

Stay open, curious and hopeful.

~ Dr. Lynda