My drive in life had been to make as big of an impact as possible. But it seemed the harder a pushed for this goal, the further I got from it. As I got older and learned more about this world and our relationship with it, I began to realize that to make a big impact meant making a small impact.
There are two parts to making a small impact. First, it is making as light of a impact on our environment as possible. It means being wise about your lifestyle and choices. It also means living by the Boy Scout principle of leaving any place you go better than how you found it. Humans are disruptors by nature. We need to harness this gift for repair and enhancement instead of destruction and extraction. We also need to craft spending and consumption habits to be in tune to the impact they have on the environment.
I recently watched "The Alpinist" movie about the remarkable rock climber, Marc-Andre Leclerc. His girlfriend, Brette Harrington, said an inspiring thing. All they cared about was rock climbing so they had everything they needed. That meant they could live as simply and cheaply as possible because that meant they could do more of what they loved most. They are living proof of my Personal Freedom vs Living Costs post where the lower you can get your living costs, the more personal freedom you can attain.
The second part to making a small impact is finding small ways to improve other people's lives. It is the culmination of lots of small acts that will turn into making a big impact. Whether it's an impact in your family circle, your community circle, or your business circle, that is the place to start. And it is usually small, simple acts that have a major impact. Mother Teresa and Gandhi are quintessential examples of this. And it is usually acts done over a lifetime that may not get noticed until decades of service (if at all). Most importantly, it is about treating people with decency and respect. As the wise saying goes, people may not remember what you do, but they will remember how you made them feel.
It is these two ways of making a small impact that will lead to making a big impact. If more and more people thought and lived this way, I have no doubt we would begin to solve our environmental crisis and our societal crisis together. We would begin to care for this earth and each other the way we should.