A couple of years ago it dawned on me that my ranting and raving on social media wasn’t doing anything to positively impact the issues that I was so passionate about. I got tired of listening to myself complain and was exhausted from being disappointed in people because of the things they posted.
My finger came so close to unfriending many long-time acquaintances, friends and family. After months of going around in circles, trying to make my point and questioning how much longer we would remain friends, I realized that we all needed to chill out.
There was so much going on and too many issues that needed attention. You couldn’t turn on the television without hearing about people being detained at the airport, transgender people being threatened to be removed from the military or kids worried about being deported and sent to a place they have never been.
It was like we were in a never-ending Twilight Zone episode. Daily events playing out in some ethereal and fictional scene. Transfixed on my mobile screen, it was difficult to decide what to do and where to focus my energy. I decided that my current method of engagement was only causing me distress.
Ask yourself: What is the best I can do? And then do that.
Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough
One day I thought, what would happen if I pick one thing and do something active? It was during the holidays. I decided to send a request to all my friends and family to bring me new wool socks, gloves, hats, scarfs and feminine hygiene products. Sure, it wasn’t going to solve world hunger, but we might help some people feel more comfortable on a cold winter night.
I was pleasantly surprised by the response! So many people met up with me to hand off the winter items. Originally, I expected to fill one small box, but everyone wanted in on the action. The reactions on my post were encouraging and a break from all the angry and negative posts that had been exchanged over the past year.
We collected over 200 items! I dropped them off at the rescue mission right before Christmas. I didn’t care about the tax write-off because over fifty people helped me make that donation. It was inspiring to see the joy it brought others to be doing something active instead of being passive.
From that point on, a fire was lit inside of me. I researched several nonprofit organizations to see how I could be of service. I would often read other people’s posts about how they felt frozen and didn’t know where to start or how to contribute. People were feeling defeated. I decided to share my simple but effective concept.
It’s the people in the trenches doing small things that make impacts. If everyone picked one thing and gave their time, skills, funds or whatever they want to give, think of the cumulative changes we could make. We cannot rely on the rich and powerful to make the changes we want to see in the world. History is filled with stories of one person taking action and causing positive reactions. It’s the boots on the ground, the unsung heroes doing little things every day that bring about real change.
One good deed that you decide to do can have an influence on the trajectory of someone’s life. Inspired, I contacted my friend Laimah Osman to create a logo for Pick Something, Do Something. The universe pushed me to do it for no other reason than to spread hope and empower others to do what humans are meant to do: roll up our sleeves, dig in and help those in need.
It doesn’t matter how small the gesture is! You never know what the downstream impacts your kindness will create. Below are some ideas to get you started.
Taking the focus off myself put me in a positive mindset. Whenever I start to feel pessimistic, I revisit my list. Now, what are you going to pick? What are you going to do? Go ahead, Pick Something, Do Something!