One Small Touch

“Each time someone stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy

Some, perhaps many, of us have learned: We did not have to do something amazing to initiate growth. A small action can go a long way. It doesn’t take a boulder to create a ripple effect in the water. A finger is enough. As everything is interconnected in life, we only need be brave enough to take the first, maybe very small step. Before we know it, we may realize that we are a ripple effect.

A ripple effect is a situation where, like the ever-expanding ripples across the water when an object is dropped into it, an effect from the initial state can be followed outward incrementally. Applied to our lives, everything we do and think affects people in our lives and their reactions in turn affect others. The choices you make have far reaching consequences. Not surprisingly then, each of us carries within us the capacity to change the world in small ways for better or worse.

Examples of ripple effect can be found in economics, social interactions, charitable activities, financial markets, political influence, compassionate action and so on. The concept helps to explain how individual and grassroots efforts can yield significant change.

Case in point: A Harvard University study was conducted on a large, real world social network. It used modern statistical methods to analyze data from the Framingham Heart Study. It found that if a friend of a person became happy, the person’s chance of becoming happy increased by about 15%. If a friend of a friend became happy it increased by about 10% and a friend of a friend of a friend by almost 6%. This event occurred even if the person had never met many of the people involved.

If we can synchronize our intentions and actions toward common goals, our independent waves will continue to add to each other as they travel out through energetic fields. The result will be much greater than we can manifest independently.

Here are three ways in which you can initiate ripple effect:

  1. I’m not promoting this; it’s simply an example: For just US$4 you can provide a child with clean water. Consider joining the Ripple Effect movement and invest US$4 every month to save and improve lives. You’ll contribute to a wave of positive change and watch as the waves get bigger and bigger, bringing clean water, better health, and new opportunities to countless in great need.
  2. Move forward so that you are in your best place possible including relationships, health, career, and spirituality. To effectively help others, you often have to have gone through difficult experiences in order to relate to others. But you also have to know how to grow from those experiences and to use them to benefit yourself and others. If you succeed and “walk your walk,” others can and will be more open to your insight and ways.
  3. Your influence and ability to effect change will grow as your ripples flow outward. Consider smiling at someone you don’t know, acting instead of just thinking, initiating a thoughtful gesture, or alleviating a stranger’s pain. Do good things. Small things. Humbly. For others.

69 thoughts on “One Small Touch

  1. Thank you for this thoughtful post Eric.
    I appreciate you for bringing the science behind this to our attention. I also believe that there is even more power in the “what is yet to be known” aspect of the ripple effect in a world of evolving consciousness.
    I also like your practical steps for us to consider as we move towards an awakened state of being!
    Val

    • Thanks, Val. One of my business taglines is “What can still be.” The ripple effect certainly speaks to that and your aligned perspective. And yes, some times we left brain-oriented need data to augment our thoughts, beliefs and/or actions. πŸ™‚

  2. Thanks for the ripple. Although, re the picture, it looks like the little ripple made on the West Coast of North America is going to tsunami all over New Zealand!

  3. I am absolutely enthralled by the idea of the ripple effect aka the butterfly effect. It think it is a much more powerful force than we can imagine. Very nice piece. I love a good article that gets “the wheels” churning. Yours never disappoint in this department, my friend.

  4. That was a great study done, and makes me think of Facebook and seeing so many friends and friends of friends sharing a lot of negative thoughts. Same ripple effect, but in the reverse to this study done. It would behoove us to go out there and spin the ripple back towards the positive. Good article.

    • Your Facebook comparison is poignant, Angeline. I’m not sure “spinning ripples back” or trying to counter something already set in motion is a best use of our energy but I get your point. πŸ™‚ If whatever we choose to act upon is positive, that’s what’s going to yield the solutions/outcomes that many of us seek. As always, thank you for adding to the conversation!

  5. Nice. I’ve become much more aware of this “ripple” effect you described so well as I’ve gotten older. Living mindfully and with intention with our words and actions. Children especially notice the little things.

    • “Living mindfully and with intention…” Beautifully and powerfully stated. And yes, children have amazing abilities to see and sense essence and matters of substance. Thank you for sharing that thought.

  6. Eric, it never ceases to impress upon me the timeliness and relevance of your posts in relation to my life. Thank you beyond words for a reminder about the power of the ripple effect.

  7. “…they send forth a tiny ripple of hope.” That is perfect… It is strange how long it took me to truly understand that this is what life is about, and happy that prior to fully understanding this it is how I lived and was brought up. It is pure giving of yourself and getting more in return. Great post Eric.

    • How fortunate you were and are, Randall, to have both an upbringing that instilled this and an evolved understanding. It matter little that it took many of us considerable time to realize. What’s of significance now, is what we choose to do with the wisdom. I warmly hear you about giving. Thanks for sharing here.

  8. Inspirational and encouraging piece of writing, Eric. It doesn’t take a great deal of effort to make positive change in our own lives as well as the lives of others. It not only makes us feel good to do nice deeds, but will benefit others as well. Cheers.

    • So true, Mike; it takes so little effort to effect change. The scale is less important than the fact that we’ve contributed positively/constructively. And if there is a discernible reward aligned with our effort, that’s just icing on the cake. The “feel good” is plenty for many. Appreciate your thoughtful comment.

    • Good question, Colleen. Why wouldn’t we? Perhaps people don’t realize the favorable impact their efforts/actions can and do have! Maybe a little more self-awareness around why we choose to do what we do and how it DOES affect others. It’s good to feel good about what we do. But what do I know? πŸ™‚

      • You know a lot Eric. πŸ™‚

        And I think you’re right. If there was more awareness of that positive ripple, actually seeing it exists may make people be more aware?

    • For every action there is a reaction… or consequence… or outcome. The momentum of a rolling snowball illustrates your building on another thought, Suzi. If we shift our mindset to one that believes our actions have meaning, than we may be even more likely to make the effort. πŸ™‚ Your comments are spot on!

  9. I like that – the “ripple effect”, the “butterfly effect” – a double edged sword, a change for the better or a change for the worse. With every thought that we think, with every word that we speak or write, with every action that we do, there is always an effect in the multiverse no matter how small we think it is. That is why we must all be conscientious of all our thoughts, words and actions. it may seem like a daunting task for anyone but it can be done.

    I like your #3 the most as we may seem too inundated with negative energies that we forget to counter it with something positive. To make things lighter. We forget to smile and love life πŸ˜€

    • Your comments are often thoughtful, Reggie, this one in particular. Your kindness shows through your words and your perspectives are very much on target. I have a sense that you know how to smile and love life… and you do. πŸ™‚ Yes to being conscientious — to our being acutely aware.

      • Thanks, Eric! Yes, I see beauty and get my happiness from the smallest of things. I just sometimes forget it when I read about the bad and the sad in the news so I look to nature for detoxifying my mind.

        I love the blogging community – how it survives despite the shift of the larger public towards the more popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter. I get to “meet” people like you who are so learned and put together yet so grounded. You use blogging as a medium to share your mind and we benefit a lot from you. May you continue to “touch” a lot of people’s lives, Eric πŸ˜€

  10. This post dovetails with my beliefs on many levels. As always, I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I hope that you don’t mind but I wanted to share with my (modest) viewership. Reblogged on Price is Truth.

    • Maxx, humbled and appreciative, knowing that you feel a message here is worthy of sharing with others. Thank you for reblogging and for you kind comment. It’s good to learn/have confirmation that we’re part of a belief sharing community.

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