The scene: We’re walking along and see a bunch of helpless children drowning.
Instead of helping them, scientists study the situation, educators teach about what the scientists learn, journalists write stories about tragedy, politicians seek funding to solve, CEOs see all the activity and find ways to sell products about the situation, and activists protest that something like this shouldn’t happen.
But none help. As they study, teach, write, raise funds, market products, and chant, more children appear drowning. The tragedy worsens. It appears they’ve build a highway that leads cars off a cliff into the water. Everyone says, “governments and corporations caused this problem! They should fix it, not us!”, even while the children are drowning and more cars are driving off the cliff.
The politicians see the people drowning aren’t voters so don’t pay attention to them. They pay attention to the voters, who are all just watching, so they conclude their best way to be elected is to support people just watching, not helping.
The CEOs see the people watching make a great market so develop products and services to support people watching, not helping too.
Everyone reinforces each other watching and doing what their job title says, but no one helps the drowning children. No one is trained to help drowning children or to tear down roads leading off cliffs.
I go to help. Everyone says, “you can’t help them all, we need a permanent solution, what you do won’t matter. Stop acting yourself and vote. They want you to think you’re responsible, but you’re not. They should act, not you.” Still none help even as they see the problem grow.
What I’m doing
What I’m doing: First, I’m trying to help those I can.
Second, I’m showing people we can help, not passively watch and blame.
Third, I’m showing that as long as no one helps, government and corporations will serve people not acting.
Fourth, I’m showing that helping innocent suffering people is inherently rewarding. It’s effective for each child saved and if we all do it, we can save them all, which we’ll all find rewarding.
Fifth, I’m enjoying what I’m doing, showing saving lives isn’t deprivation or sacrifice. It’s the most human thing we can do. It’s not something we have to balance against what we really want to do in life. It’s what life is about.
How can you live without acting with love in service of innocent people your actions would hurt?
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees