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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 24, 2022 • Issue 22:01:02


Making a difference one small act at a time

Today, amid the setbacks brought on by the Omicron strain of COVID during what has become a cruel, ongoing pandemic, we are under more stress than ever before. That applies to payments professionals in all corners of the industry, as well as to the prospects and partners we interact with during the course of business.

As trying as these times are, I believe we can each make a difference. The positive things we do, those small actions that may seem insignificant at the time, can add up incrementally, and over time, can have a huge impact.

"The unnoticed things are the life-blood of the world," Philomon Sylvester wrote in "Little Things Make Big Things Happen" published on the Personal Growth blog on Medium. "In a great palace, we think of the marble and the stone, the cedar, and the iron, but who thinks of the mortar and the nails? And yet, in the architecture, mortar and nails are as important as pillars and columns and beams."

What are some of those positive things?

I expect some ideas have already come to your mind. And I know many of you already take positive actions in the world every day. I just think it's time to kick it up a notch. As philosopher, historian and psychologist William James said, "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."

So here are a few ideas:

  • Smile more: According to multiple studies conducted through the years, smiling has multiple benefits. Smiling can relieve stress, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, relieve pain, convey success, elevate your mood, help you stay positive, make you more attractive to others, and help you live longer. Plus, smiling is contagious. So simply smiling—even if you're bored during a long Zoom meeting or frustrated by a long wait at your pharmacy—will likely bring benefits not only to you but also to people who see your smile.
  • Be kind to others: Similar to smiling, acts of kindness, both when you are kind and when others are kind to you, bring many benefits. As discussed on happiness.com, research has shown that kindness releases feel-good hormones, reduces anxiety, alleviates certain illnesses and reduces stress levels.
  • Volunteer: Volunteering entails more than smiling and being kind as you go about your day, but it's well worth the effort. GVI, which runs sustainable development and experiential education programs around the world, lists on its website, gviusa.com, a whopping 17 reasons why it's great to volunteer. I won't list them all here, but some that struck a chord with me are that you'll make an impact, you'll make meaningful connections, you'll gain perspective, you'll be inspired, you'll have fun—and it's good for your health.

These are just three possibilities among many. Imagine if each of us made a point to smile several times every day, even on our most difficult days; called one person every week just to say a few kind words; and volunteered at a worthy organization of our choosing at least once a month. With these actions alone, we could make a huge positive impact on the world. end of article

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