We are well-accustomed to the concept that if, for whatever reason, we went back in time, we would have to tread lightly and act carefully in order to prevent big, scary changes in the future because we swatted a mosquito or looked at a dog weird or whatever. This is a concept that we are familiar with because we’ve seen it in films and heard it in stories for years.
A very similar concept that is less easy to become accustomed to, however, is the idea that your actions, choices and behaviours – right now, the ones you make and do right now – have a massive impact on the future.
We are a society in love with innovation; the overhaul. We love make-overs and crash diets and big purchases. We love making big change and fast because it feels exciting and like we’re actively participating in our future. But, and here’s the clanger, we are actively participating in our future all the time. In the tiny moments; in our smiles, our thoughts, our gestures… These are under-appreciated as we turn our focus on the promotion, the lottery win and the move abroad.
We change the world for the better when we say hello to our neighbour; when we are kind to someone who was not expecting it and when we offer somebody a smile. And we can just as easily have a negative impact on the world with impatience, rudeness and a feeling of superiority. We are part of the weaving threads of this life and our influence matters.
Focussing on the small changes can have a massive impact on your own life too. My minimalist journey may not appear to be anything particularly dramatic but I am infinitely happier now than I ever was. Previously, I would have only thought this kind of contentment could come from the dream job, the dream house or that life-changing idea. The small things teach us to be aware of our actions, to be grateful and to be content.
So whether you choose to try and be kinder in your job, to meditate, to have a cup of tea and really taste and appreciate it or to spend thirty seconds focussed only on your love for your partner/pet/friend, take a small moment out of today to work on something tiny. Then do something similar again tomorrow. There may not be an immediate effect but, just like the great oak or the hurricane, you will find that big effects from these small actions will come in time.