The shriek shatters your daydream, causing your fists to clench. You spin, seeking the sound’s source. There, just 100 yards away, a helpless person is in danger! You’ll help, right? You’ll at least GET help, right? Of course you will … Right?
Apparently, it’s not that simple. The answer shouldn’t depend on how many other people are around, but it just may. There is a well-known psychology theory called the “Bystander Effect” that asserts:
The greater the number of people present, the LESS LIKELY they are to help someone in distress.
If the theory is true, it could mean that our self-preservation instincts discourage us from taking action when we see another in need. If this is indeed the case, the best way to ensure we’ll step up under pressure is to decide, in advance, that service is WHO we are and WHAT we do. I’ve had some help making that decision in 2010.
This year, I was privileged to find the #BeTheOne hashtag on Twitter, founded by Mark Sturgell and Bridget Haymond. Their efforts have inspired me to Be The One who makes a difference wherever I happen to be in 2011.
We are all stronger in some ways and weaker in others. We will each have opportunities in 2011 to use our strengths to make a difference. So I wanted to share the six things I plan to say to myself in 2011, in the hope that one or more will offer meaning to you:
- Be The One who lends a hand to those who’ve lost the strength to stand.
- Be The One whose words provide the fuel to reach the other side.
- Be The One who takes the time to show another how they shine.
- When many shudder, cloaked with doubt, Be The One to venture out.
- When others give in to their fear, Be The One who perseveres.
- When worries weigh the weary down, Be The One who sticks around.
I would be eager to know what you hope to become in the coming year. Any thoughts you can share about your goals would be welcome, appreciated and encouraging.