We are living during some difficult times. It is easy to become cynical.
On a near-daily basis, the news contains reports of terrorism, gun violence, political polarization, and an uncertain economy. Under these circumstances it is easy to say, “What’s the use of trying? How can I make a difference?”
It is precisely at times like this when you can make a difference by influencing those around you through positive attitudes and behavior. Positive, honest, fair-minded, hardworking people are almost never newsworthy but they are doing things the right way. And others are noticing.
Virtually all of us are in a position of exerting influence on others: children, neighbors, friends, co-workers, and even strangers whom may only encounter one time. They hear the same news we do, and they have reasons to be cynical – unless the news is counterbalanced by the good that people do and by the enthusiasm that people have about making this world a better place.
I like this quote from the Dalai Lama: “Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength”. Many of us display this strength on a daily basis without even thinking about it. Let’s commit to consciously work on being an influence for good.
We can’t control the terrible acts of others but we don’t have to let these acts distort the reality that the majority of us are good people. Let’s make certain that we use our majority status to display behaviors reflective of traits like compassion, tolerance, honesty, assertiveness, and a positive outlook on life.
When we are an influence for good, we not only do good but we inspire others to do good – including some who may not get that inspiration from many other people.