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Wednesday Wisdom – The Collective Responsibility of Change

Conversations about change, and making the world a better place, are commonplace. Yet many continue to succumb to the view that there is little an individual can do as merely ‘one person’, for a host of reasons.

These generally include the beliefs that one requires more power, money, time and or a specific kind of platform in order to have any meaningful impact.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Change is our collective responsibility, and if we all followed the DOT (Do One Thing) principle of my long time and much valued friend, Braam Malherbe, the global village could undergo a facelift virtually overnight.

Let me share a personal story to illustrate how simple and easy it is to institute change, drive action and create positive energy, with significant impact.

During an absolutely fabulous boat ride from Cat Ba to Ha Long Bay this week, while 28 tourists and a lively tour guide enjoyed kayaking, swimming, caving and jumping off the top deck of the cruise boat into the sea below, we shared so much more than just a fun-filled day.

All somewhat saddened by the litter, particularly plastic bottles, that covered the sandy island beaches to which we kayaked, it took one action by one person (from Chile) to be the first to pick up a couple of bottles. This singular act energised and galvanised everyone else to follow suit, each filling our kayaks to capacity, in our efforts to clean the beaches.

Nobody spoke, asked what to do or stood back. The moment the first bottles were picked up, everyone else joined in. It was as if a silent pact had been made, spanning many continents and cultures, without the need for any kind of explanation.

At the end of the day, 14 two man kayaks, laden with debris arrived back at the cruise boat, leaving two beautiful beaches absolutely clean.

This action created such a positive vibe with our captain and tour guide, who were so grateful for the respect shown to their country, a round of beers was offered to all at the personal cost of our guide, Bee

We do not speak the same languages, we did not swap names, and we will probably never see one another ever again – yet we will always be united in the collective change we made to two of the beaches of Vietnam in the summer of 2019.

It was a memorable day for so much more than the awesome adventures and special times shared with my daughter – and it left me with a feeling of gratitude and hope.

Gratitude for the reality that we are all able to Do One Thing, each day, to make the world a better place, and hope that this simple story will inspire others to lead the way in creating change.


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