Revisiting despair and the butterfly effect

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This post has been rumbling around in my mind for a month now. I don’t usually let posts rumble like that but I needed to get a bit of clarity around my thoughts and the last couple of weeks have been a little hectic. Now that they have settled down a bit here is my clarity:

Sometimes I wish I was in a position to do big things

You know, fundraise lots of money for an amazing cause. Be an activist. Build an orphanage. Volunteer for a soup kitchen. Instead I find myself living in the bubble, protecting myself and my loved ones from all the bad stuff out there and essentially working just hard enough to make just enough money to lead a comfortable, stress free existence. That does not sound very noble does it?

This is where my capacity for overthinking goes into over-drive and before I know it I am in the shame spiral from hell.

Why can’t I do more?

Why can’t I be a better person?

Misery does love company though and the comments on this post tell me I am in good company. Which brings me back to this sentiment shared by Julie in those same comments:

It’s like the butterfly effect. Believe in the power of good and that everyone has the capacity to make a difference.

I definitely DO believe in the power of good and I definitely DO believe that everyone has the capacity to make a difference, big or small. I am not sure why I hold my own capacity to a higher standard than I expect from other people but today I shall attempt to lower that standard.

There is no standard

If everyone in the world just does what they can do, big or small, then the world will be a much better place don’t you think?

So what can I do?

Well first of all, each day I will try to be the best version of me I can be. Some days I will succeed and some days I will miss the mark. But each day I will TRY.

I will try to raise a child who is compassionate and kind and confident. I want him to ask questions and challenge the status quo and to be able to think for himself. But most of all I want him to be kind.

I will be kind and compassionate and confident myself.

I will smile at strangers.

I will learn patience.

I will try to only do one thing at a time.

I will practice random acts of kindness. And un-random acts.

In the immortal words of Gandhi, I will try to be the change I want to see in this world.


What about you? Are there small things you can do that will make a big difference to this world? I’d love to hear them as I am sure I will be inspired by them.

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  1. says

    Love this Kelly. I’m guilty of the same thing – wanting to make huge differences, but I’m not sure that’s my part to play in this world. Or at least, not right now. I think remembering that it’s okay to be a good person and make smaller differences. If everyone, or even a good percentage of people, did that the world would be a better place.

    • says

      Thanks Megan – that’s what I keep telling myself – if everyone does something small, the overall effect would be so powerful! We can’t ALL be activists – but we can ALL be NICE!!

  2. says

    Being kind is the best thing you can do, in my opinion. Approach life in a gentle and thoughtful way, and you’re already on your way to improving the lives of the people around you.

    • says

      I am feeling so much better that others agree with me. It feels like a bit of a cop out to ‘just be gentle and thoughtful’, but honestly, if everyone was like that wouldn’t the world be wonderful?!

  3. Zohra says

    Hi Kelly, call this coincidence or just amazing, but the quote from Gandhi at the end of your post is the exact quote at the end of my friend’s email, which i was reading just before i got to yours!
    Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something…..

    • says

      Whoah Zorah!! That is funny. I definitely believe the universe tries to tell us things sometimes so I reckon that is the case here!

  4. says

    You know what I think? I reckon you are WAAAY ahead of most of the world, just cos you THINK about these things.

    And you have a list.

    How many of us have that?! Good on you Kelly, your boys (big and small!) are in good hands :)

    PS And I really love your writing :) (but you know that!)

  5. says

    Kel, sometimes when I think about this, my head just about explodes!! I have to tell myself that if we can all do our best to look after the small things, big things will follow.

    Hopefully I’ve passed this onto Bella, and her generation will act in a positive way to make the world a better place for everyone.

    Thank you for always making me think.

    L xx

    • says

      Honestly I know EXACTLY what you mean (about the whole head exploding thing) as that is exactly how I feel most of the time when I start thinking about all of this stuff!

  6. says

    This is a great post and something that I contemplate often! I think it comes with getting a little more mature (not that I’m old! lol) but you begin to think about things in a different way. I am always thinking about these very things, about how I can be kinder and do more for others. I have come to the realiziation that not all jobs we do will have “meaning” but we can do so much more with our lives that does… great work… Judi

  7. Denyse Whelan says

    That is indeed food for thought and I understand exactly what you mean. In my recent years of almost enforced life without much financial recompense I despair of not being able to “do” or “give” as I might have in the past. But recently I also notice things and people more..i like to give a stranger a smile..or perhaps chat to an older person who looks a bit lonely. I think that there must be days for some people who never get to communicate via conversation with another human. So I try to be kindly and friendly when I can. I also smile & say hello to people walking by our house. Maybe I am the first person to say hi that day for them. That’s what I can do and it costs me nothing but a though. Denyse x

    • says

      Well you know what I remember most from Problogger last year? Your smiling face. Of course I was too shy to say hi, but on a day that was quite overwhelming and full on, your lovely smile went home with me :)

  8. says

    It’s like you have a superpower to read my thoughts sometimes, Kelly. I’ve been thinking such things of late too. Trying to wake up in the morning and be the best version of me I can be. And kindness… it’s all about kindness! x

  9. Michaela C says

    Well said.

    I make a difference by being different from my family. It’s very difficult but worth it.

    I also try to entertain. It’s a small thing but what I’m good at.

    I donate where I can but it never seems to be enough.

    We can’t heal the world but we can make thoughtful choices.


    • says

      I think just the bit about ‘being different from your family’ is a big one. I for one am going to try and raise a little boy (and little girl when she arrives!) who are caring and kind and compassionate. I figure that is a very small gift I can give to the world!