In one of my anthropology classes, a girl made a great comment about the rescue-savior complex and trafficking of children.
“I just really respect the people who try to do something even if it’s not perfect if it helps someone.
And there’s something so great about what she said. Because I think that the way we achieve perfection is by trying something imperfect.
Our imperfect attempts are learning experiences. Certainly we have a responsibility to think long and hard about the actions we take to make them as safe and helpful as possible at our first attempt. Never the less we never know how to do something perfectly on our first attempt.
No one can predict the sudden changes of a moment nor the ripples that come out of our small stones.
Similarly, we receive criticism and feedback after we do something.
We can only see the effects of the ripples after the stone has dropped. Listening to the complaints of the whole river can allow us to engineer responsive designs that better meet the needs of the people we’re trying to help.
Really what I’m getting at is this:
You have to do something. Today.
So that you can improve something. Tomorrow.
Most people think that political and social change needs to come slow and steady, so it makes sense that starting a ball rolling would allow that slow steady progress to end up at it’s destination sooner. I tend to think that social change movements need to be radical in order to move us in the correct direction.
No matter what, people have do something – something powerful and courageous – in order for lasting change to occur. I think one of the unique things about the internet is that we never know what small action will be amplified by social media. GoFundMe and other fundraising sites have allowed us to find completely new sources of funding, beyond grants or large donors.
And part of the lasting change bit is that people have to really feel something in order for the change to remain. Feeling invested and helped by a change is what gets people, new people, engaged. Change and improvement in turn keeps them engaged and working on helping others (or even themselves)! Think of the difference between Stop Kony and Nerdfighter’s ongoing work with KIva.
So get started on changing something you’ve always thought was wrong.
Because who knows how far that change may eventually go once you get it rolling.