Has there ever been a time in your life when you knew you could make a difference, that your input (large or small) would matter?

What happened – or what do you think would happen – if you jumped into a situation that needed a hero?

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

Source: TED

Do we hold back sometimes because we don’t think we can make a huge difference? It seems that we tend to underestimate the importance of small contributions, so we are not satisfied with just being able to make a “base hit”. We want to be the one to hit the home-run.

Maybe we are totally overlooking the grandeur of “the butterfly effect” we might set in motion.

Let’s watch this delightful and short TED Talk, which gives us a reminder of the possibilities spawned from just a small act of heroism, with a remarkable life lesson from a volunteer firefighter:

Via: TED 1

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.

Through my work on the Ever Widening Circles project, I’ve discovered that there is no end to the list of 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.

Image: A field of wildflowers from the ground up

Source: Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

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.

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, we even set in motion a story that evolves into ever-widening ripples of possibility for generations to come.

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

Stay open, curious and hopeful.

~ Dr. Lynda



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Or just scroll down to the bottom of this page where you’ll find a few more incredible articles like this one!

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EWC’s TED Talks Archive



  1. Bezos, Mark. “Mark Bezos: A Life Lesson from a Volunteer Firefighter.”YouTube. TED, 16 Mar. 2011. Web. 8 Jan. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAQfzHBpRsc>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world. Hear her latest conversations with thought leaders on the Ever Widening Circles Podcast--new episodes every Thursday!

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