They are probably not the words you are thinking.
We make life unnecessarily hard don’t we?
We see a problem and want to be part of the solution.
Then we realise the problem is much bigger than us and often before we’ve done a thing, we have given up.
We even do this with personal challenges.
How many of you have broken that diet before the first 24 hours are up? Or give up on a new, great daily routine before the week is finished?
Then we follow it up with justifications to help ease the feeling of failure.
There is a simple solution, often overlooked in our desire to do great things quickly.
THREE LITTLE WORDS
The secret lies in three little words – keep it easy.
We are bombarded with advice on what we should and shouldn’t do every day.
We are told we need to cut out sugar and bad fats, exercise more, be kinder, be creative (I’m always giving that bit of advice), challenge ourselves more, save the children, save the animals, save the world…..
The list is never-ending and can be daunting. In fact, it can be so intimidating that we give up before we have begun.
The advice often comes sprinkled with a special brand of judgement as well as the dire consequences of not taking it immediately.
There is little appreciation for the fact everyone has their own pace.
NEGATIVE PERSUASION DOES NOT EMBRACE THESE THREE LITTLE WORDS
This negative persuasion, bordering on manipulation in some cases, is designed to create enough fear and concern to push you into action.
It’s an overused technique that often ends up making people tune out – and give up.
I remember decades ago when we first ‘adopted’ a World Vision child, I would regularly receive phone calls asking me to adopt more. They always came with a tragic story that broke my heart. They made me feel horrible for not being able to adopt them all. The regular newsletter included many of these horrifying stories. You just couldn’t help thinking what you were doing was not enough and did not make a difference.
After one particularly stressful phone session of negative persuasion, I contacted the charity and told them how miserable I felt. Particularly since I was already trying to do my little bit. I told them I felt like pulling out of this commitment since it was clearly not doing enough.
To their credit, they got back to me with the message that others had expressed similar feelings and they would make changes. And they did. I was no longer harassed with calls that made me feel my contribution was useless. The newsletter morphed into a very positive magazine that outlined the beneficial changes our contributions made.
LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE, THEN BREAK IT DOWN
The point is, when the problem seemed insurmountable, I wanted to give up. It all seemed worthwhile again when I was reminded that, while I couldn’t save all children, I was making a big difference to one.
I’m all for looking at the big picture, but sometimes we need to break it down into easy steps in order to take action.
There is no doubt the world is facing some huge problems at the moment. Problems that seem insurmountable.
It’s easy to fall into a state of despair and adopt an all or nothing attitude that can stop you in your tracks. It can stop you from doing small things that make a big difference.
THREE LITTLE WORDS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
We don’t have to take drastic steps to make a big difference. It is easier to stay consistent when we take small, manageable steps.
On a personal level, when we decide to keep it easy we are happy to start by reducing the sugar we eat, instead of cutting it out entirely.
Instead of planning two-hour workout sessions at the gym, we could start with a 10 minute walk each day. Research has shown this can make a big difference to our mental and physical wellbeing.
While grand gestures of kindness are wonderful and amazing, the small ones – a gentle word, a sweet smile – can also make a big difference.
When it comes to creativity, we don’t need to make impressive artworks. We can keep it easy – a little doodling in a notebook has a lot of benefits and can make a big difference to our cognitive thinking and stress levels.
I sometimes think the advice about challenging ourselves and getting out of our comfort zones is a little redundant. Life is full of challenges that automatically take us out of our comfort zone. Whether we like it or not. If we keep it easy we can face those challenges without putting extra pressure on ourselves. Pressure that could cause us to give up entirely.
YOU CAN STILL DO AMAZING THINGS WHEN YOU KEEP IT EASY
When it comes to saving the children, the sad fact is no one person can save them all. However, each and every one of us can make a big difference in at least one child’s life. We can do this by caring for, teaching, loving and playing with them.
It’s the same with animals. We can keep it easy and still make a big difference to our local wildlife. Putting a little water in a container on a hot summer day can make a big difference. Or we can rescue an injured creature. Did you read my post, Saving Lives – Which One Will Make You a Hero?
I know many of us are feeling discouraged at the world leaders who consistently refuse to acknowledge what needs to be done to help our planet.
It makes the problem feel insurmountable and that the little we can do will not help. It can make us feel like giving up.
However, we can all make a big difference just by making considerate choices with what we buy and recycling everything we can.
The secret is those three little words – keep it easy. We don’t have to resist all temptations or deprive ourselves of everything. We don’t have to make it super hard in order to make a big difference.
That’s why I regularly share little tips, like the one below, on my Facebook page.
They recognise the big picture but give you the easy options for making your worthwhile contribution.
Keeping it easy doesn’t mean we are being lazy or careless. It is simply a way to ensure consistency.
It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.
Wishing you an easy and gleeful week, Tamuria.