A guide to help lazy people make a difference
I’ve always wanted to improve my life and the lives of those around me. However, laziness always cuts into my efforts. It doesn’t appear that a blanket of lazy coats me to most. 60 hour work weeks are the norm, plus hobbies on top of that. There is a problem though.
Add something to that schedule and it just doesn’t happen. Outside of working, hobbies, and exercise my energy level seems to drop dramatically. If the setting isn’t a gym or work, the inner driving motor in my brain slams on the brakes.
- You need a volunteer to help the community with something? Probably won’t be me.
- Attend a charity event? If it involves me getting in a car and going somewhere; not gonna happen.
- Work at a soup kitchen for the needy? Soup requires too much elbow grease, can’t help you there.
This laziness seems to build a wall in front of the general good I could be doing.
I began to think, “What could a lazy bastard like me do to make the world a better place and improve my life? Oh, and by the way, it shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds or I probably won’t get off my ass and do it.”
The answer to my question was a big bowl of nothing. It was actually less than nothing because the idea instantly slipped my mind a minute afterwards and my brain moved on.
A Crazy Story About Surviving Suicide
The second his hands left the bridge, Kevin Hines knew he made the biggest mistake in his life, literally. He didn’t want to die. He fell at 75 miles an hour towards the water and hit with terrible crash.
He broke multiple vertebrate in his back and couldn’t feel his legs. Miraculously his spine didn’t sever and he could still use his arms. He kept pulling with his arms and managed to bob up in down in the harbor while swallowing sea water.
A woman on the bridge just happened to see him go over the side. She also just happened to have a friend in the Coast Guard. She called him and a boat arrived quickly and pulled Kevin out of the water before hypothermia set in.
The man pulling Kevin out of the water told him he was a miracle. The Coast Guard member told Kevin they’d fished 56 dead bodies of jumpers out of the water and one live one. Kevin was that one.
The story is fantastic. It’s impossible to listen to that story and NOT get moved. But moved to what? The thing that really got me was the beginning of the story that was left out.
On his way to the Golden Gate Bridge, Kevin decided he would jump if nobody helped him on the way there. On the long trip Kevin looked distraught, visibly cried, and even talked out loud to himself.
Although he sat on a crowded bus and passed countless people on his trek, nobody said a kind word to him. He was alone despite being surrounded by people wherever he went.
A woman even asked him to take a picture of her on the bridge, not noticing the look on his face or the tears in his eyes. This confirmed everything the voices in his head were saying to him. He was worthless. There was no point to living. He would go on to jump.
What would it have taken to stop that? Maybe a hello? Are you okay? Even just looking into his eyes, making eye contact, and giving a smile?
What would that have taken….30 seconds?
A Ridiculous Idea
It would have only taken 30 seconds. That thought kept bouncing around in my head over and over.
Just 30 seconds.
What if there are more Kevins walking around out there? People just waiting for some kind of recognition that they deserve to exist. Even if they’re not on the level of Kevin, but still in similar pain. How much could that 30 seconds do for them?
According to the National Network Of Depression Centers, 1 in 5 Americans will suffer depression in the course of their lifetime. Also we lose as many Americans to suicide as we do to breast cancer in a year.
An article from the Washington Post in 2018 explained how suicide rates have gone up in all states except one in the U.S. between 1999 and 2016.
About 45,000 suicides occurred in 2016. In the age group between 15 and 34, this was the second leading cause of death. The number of suicides doubled the number of homicides committed in the country that year.
Just from quickly looking on the internet, it’s easy to see there are a lot more Kevins out there.
What if I could make it a daily ritual to do something about this? Even with my limited drive outside of my usual world of activities. I could devote 30 seconds a day to those around me. 30 seconds is easily doable.
I could make and hold eye contact with someone, say hello, and acknowledge them with a smile.
You’re probably getting ready to close this article right now. You’re probably thinking that’s the stupidest idea ever. What the hell would that do?
I can tell you for certain one time that would have prevented a suicide attempt. It would have taken just 30 seconds.
Compound The Good
“Good and evil both increase at compound interest.”
— C.S. Lewis
It sounds so crazy, but the idea just won’t leave my head. It would only take 30 seconds. As the thought of this idea expanded in my brain, for some reason the idea of compound interest came to me.
The idea of money sitting in an investment account and building off itself. That’s what this is, it’s an investment.
If I invested 30 seconds each day. Over the course of a year that would expand to 182 minutes. Near 200 minutes invested in the world around me, maybe allowing someone to know that they were worthwhile. In 5 years, it would compound to 910 minutes.
The idea of compounding that investment of good made me think more. If I invest 30 seconds in doing this, maybe the receiver will do the same. Now my 182 minutes during the course of the year will compound through the works of those who receive the acknowledgement.
I could compound the good this way, like C.S. Lewis says.
We’re social creatures. We crave acknowledgement. According to the statistics website Statista, in the fourth quarter of 2018, there were 2.32 billion monthly active Facebook users.
All of these people are more connected than ever in human history. Over 2 billion people logging in to make a connection; to be acknowledged.
But are they? According from the suicide and depression statistics, it would appear that’s far from likely.
This idea I’ve come up with sounds hokey and childlike. I’d be the first to bash it into the ground if I was randomly reading this. However, after hearing Kevin Hines’ story, there’s just something inside of me that tells me this dopey effort is an answer.
I have no scientific way to prove this to you. It’s just some strange gut feeling that won’t let me turn this thought off in my brain.
It’s an answer for my laziness. It’s an answer for the disconnect between ourselves and those around us. Maybe it’s some kind of small answer for the countless who are depressed and possibly suicidal.
Maybe even as my introverted ass gets better at it, I might even stretch it to a minute a day.….alright, let’s not get crazy just yet 😁. I still am lazy.
So I guess the final lines of this article are:
Can you spare 30 seconds out of your day? If you can, we can compound the good together.
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