Does doubt ever creep in to your life? Left alone with your thoughts, do you ever question the point of your efforts? It’s something I think we all struggle with from time to time. During those moments of vulnerability, we must remember the Power of One.
Do you ever look in the mirror and wonder how you wound at this place? I must confess, I have found myself in that situation more than once in my life. We often can’t help but notice that things haven’t turned as planned. Maybe you’re middle-aged, your life has fallen apart, and you’re not even sure that you can muster the energy to even think about starting to put the pieces back together. What if you’re just getting started in life, but you can’t seem to find you’re footing in the world? What if life just hasn’t turned out the way you thought it would, regardless of your particular circumstances? What do we do now? Is it worth it to put up a fight? Would it really make a difference and pay off? Is it possible to make a real, lasting change? Do we even know how to go back to square one and recreate the life we once dreamed of?
I’m going to say YES, and let me tell you the two reasons why. First of all, I am a big believer that G-d isn’t going to plant a dream within your heart without giving you the ability to attain those dreams. G-d planted within you the seeds of greatness! And He also planted great big huge scary dreams within you as well. Do you know why He didn’t give you little tiny, mediocre, easily-achievable dreams? Because then you wouldn’t need to rely on Him with every fiber of your being to reach them! And choosing not to settle for your current circumstances doesn’t mean that you’re ungrateful for your existing blessings. You can have a heart full of gratitude and still know deep down that you are destined for more than your eyes can currently see.
Secondly, choosing to fight shows character. Remember the Law of Entropy: “Left unattended, everything naturally flows to a state of disorder”. So, keeping things in order takes work! You must be willing to fight for what you want instead of simply settling for what you can get.
I read a book once thatspelled out an incredible definition of the word “diligence”, which I believe lies at the core of the Power of One. Here is how the author defined “diligence”: “a learnable skill that combines: creative persistence, a smart-working effort rightly planned and rightly performed in a timely, efficient, and effective manner to attain a result that is pure and of the highest quality of excellence.” The author goes onto explain that if the definition sounds complicated, it’s because true diligence involves many qualities, and that is why it’s so rare. But, he says, before you dismiss the definition as something that’s “just not me”, you need to know that it can be you. Anyone can become this type of a person through the choice to learn, develop, and practice the necessary skills. The choice to develop new habits and rise above who you used to be, regardless of what the crowd – or your track record – says about you. That is a result of the Power of One.
It’s like the butterfly effect, which you may be familiar with. The butterfly effect is the supposed influence exerted on an entire system by one small change in initial conditions. That is the Power of One. One change. One decision. Getting started is always the hardest part. But that one decision, managed over time, can create the reality that you’re barely daring to dream right now.
And your story doesn’t have to involve money, fame, or recognition. Maybe your heart is burdened by a need you see around you. One by one, people do affect change in their own little corner of the world every day. Do you ever feel that with so much going on in the world, it would be nearly impossible to make a lasting impact? Awhile back, I spent some time working at a local Salvation Army. The hall was overflowing with several hundred people looking for a warm meal, and I was deeply humbled by what I witnessed. We were making a couple of trips to the grocery store to help them stock up on much-needed supplies, and I had a conversation with the Director to find out what they specifically needed. He shared with us that on an average day they fed 90 people who would otherwise have no food at all – and that was just in one station on one side of town.
This man went on to tell us a brief history of his particular center and the community it served. While he was talking, I couldn’t help but notice that he probably wasn’t more than a paycheck or two away from needing help himself. He had a very worn face with kind eyes, and he was neatly groomed even though his stained fingernails showed many years of hard labor. The three-piece suit that he wore with pride was at least one size too big and probably 25 years old. But he walked through that Salvation Army hall with his head held high and pride in his eyes – because he knew that he was making a difference. One meal at a time, one person at a time, his years of diligence showed the impact of the Power of One. As we loaded up our grocery carts and started counting quantities, it was at first disheartening to realize that all of that food was only enough to supply the center with a few days’ worth of meals. But as we delivered it back to the men who eagerly unloaded the bags from our car, we realized that it did make a difference to those 90 people who wouldn’t go hungry on those upcoming days.
You might be familiar with the law of compounding interest. And I don’t mean the compounding interest of money. I’m referring to the compounding interest of time and choices. You keep going even when no results are evident. When it’s easy to get tired, frustrated, emotional, disenchanted, lose focus, get distracted, get bored, grow weak, and throw in the towel. Instead, you simply choose to keep going. That one choice begins the butterfly effect in your life and the world around you – the Power of One.
You press ahead, even when it seems dull or pointless. And every time the rest of the world is starting back at zero with their “new commitment” to a “new idea”, you’re adding one more day of compounded interest, compounded effort to your endeavor. And with nothing more than a little discipline and a willingness to make some short-term sacrifices, a few years from now your dream world can be your reality. Maybe it will mean a change to your bank account, maybe it will mean a change in your family’s future, maybe it will mean a change in another person’s hunger, or another child’s education. But it all starts with your decision to apply the Power of One.