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You Can Do Something To Make A Difference!
by Marvin Kusmierz
February 13, 2005

In these times of a poor economy it’s easy to get distressed when confronted with higher costs and stagnant income. Seems like every time you turn around something essential is costing you more and your income, if you are fortunate to still have a job, isn’t keeping up and you fall further behind.

The vast majority of individuals feel impotent to doing anything about these external financial influences on their lives. We may complain a lot about them, but we seldom do anything to affect change in the things we complain about. Those not feeling a crunch in their personal budget lack a compulsion to change things.

So, its really up to you to do something that may improve your situation. You have the reason that should motivate you to at least give it try. Instead of complaining to your friends and family members about your situation who may also be in the same boat as you -- direct your complaints to someone who can make a difference. In doing so, make your complaint meaningful by being specific in your complaint and suggesting what you think needs to be done to solve it. Complaining that prices are too high has little impact on the reader who may agree you!

For example, you may feel the cost of natural gas to heat your home has risen too dramatically in the past few years. Your complaint might go this way, “I am concerned about the rapid increase in natural gas prices and the financial impact they have on me personally and the general economy by raising the cost of products that result in higher prices to consumers. I’m in favor of regulating the natural gas industry in order to eliminate such dramatic price increases in the future.”

Essentially what you are saying is that you realize that nothing can be done immediately about the matter, however, you want something done to eliminate this as a problem in the future.

There are some subjects that you can complain about where you can have an immediate impact. Unfortunately, the timing is critical, and only a few take the time to become aware of them. Every week there are things happening that will affect you financially or personally. We live in a society that is highly regulated at all levels of local, state and national governments.

It is important to know which level to direct your complaint to. Complaining to city or county government about heating bills won’t do much to change the situation. You need to direct your complaint to your state and national representatives that have the responsibility to affect the change you desire.

I know it takes time to do what I’m suggesting. But, we are always able to find time to complain to our friends and neighbors, and wouldn’t it be better to use this time to complain to someone who might be able do something about it?

The easiest way is to do so by email. You can write one email message that can be sent to several different representatives at the same time. Now, that’s a lot easier than writing a letter and mailing it through the postal service, or attempting to contact them by telephone. And, those who do not have a computer or are hooked up to the internet, you can use a computer at your local library to obtain a free email service on the internet. Your internet email service can be reached from any computer wherever you may be at the time, the home of a family member or a friend for example.

The point is that once you have email, you don’t need a lot of time to be an effective advocate for change that can improve your situation in the future. The first step to is change your own way of thinking, to take a positive position in understanding your own contribution to the problem. President Nixon coined the phrase “silent majority” as the group of individuals that can make a difference in the results of election. Imagine what they could do if they weren’t so silent.

One of the best examples for demonstrating the need “just do something” was the tragedy of September 11, 2001. There is hardly anyone that hasn’t been affected by this dramatic event imposed on this nation by a band of terrorists.

Its costs in lives and to our economy has impacted the lives of everyone. Living in the USA became more dangerous and expensive. And, most everyone looked to Washington D.C. to leadership that would somehow rise above the rancor of politics. Initially, emotions brought forth a consensus of unity, but that slowly eroded away in the days and months that followed.

By the time the presidential election rolled around, the two national parties did their best to totally divide the nation on issues of great importance. Nasty political tactics that undermined our national unity and divided its citizens along political lines. That’s a shame, but what is more of a shame is that as individuals we allowed it to happen.

It seems to be in the nature of human beings to be selfish and self-destructive. Far too often we are driven by emotions than by intelligence. It’s as if we are still living as prehistoric creatures in a world where our innate “fear or flight” survival response still dominates our actions today. Educated people that have knowledge to know better should act differently than our ancient ancestors that had good reasons to club each other for dominance in order to survive.

Unfortunately, many of us still have this deep hankering to blindly follow a group mentallity and set some terrible examples for our chidren to learn from:

  • Curse at little league umpires (When it effects only our team.)
  • Make a mess and leave it for someone else to clean up. (I'm not responsible for what I do.)
  • Chastise them for the same thing we do without explaining why. (I'm the boss.)
  • Demostrating an unsportsman like behavior by calling for the firing of a high school coach. (Winning is the only thing that matters even if it effects someone else's life.)
  • Talking negatively about some one behind their backs. (Avoid confrontation issues worth complaining about.)
  • Drinking and driving is wrong, but it’s okay if when mom and dad party. (You're never a part of the problem or solution.)

These are only a few examples of how you and I are educating our kids and reinforcing our own behavior that affects the world we live in. We may never be able to control the insanity that causes tragedies like September 11, but then, we will never know if we could have made a difference unless we are willing to change our own non-sensible behavior.

You or I alone may not make may not make a difference, but together, we have a better chance of influencing our lives in a more positive way that can lead to a better world and future for all of us.

The following are some inspirational quotes from different religious faiths that may help you get started:

  • Buddhism (Udana-Varga 5,1): "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."
  • Hinduism (Mahabharata 5,1517): "This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others that you would not have them do unto you."
  • Islam (Sunnah): "No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself."
  • Judaism (Talmud Shabbat 3id): "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law: All the rest is commentary."
  • Christianity (Ten Commandments of Moses): “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

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