Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Encouraging the Power of One

Do you wonder if what you say makes a difference to anyone else? Do you wonder if you could ever change the world with your words and actions?

I came across this great story that will encourage you to stand up and do the right thing. One person can make a difference!

"I was at a party, relaxed, enjoying myself when the joke telling began: “There were three ______ who went to the …” The joke progressed. It was clearly demeaning to a group of people.

The face of my close friend and colleague popped into my mind – he is a member of the group being debased. Two different voices – the proverbial angel and devil on my shoulder – filled my head.

“Leslie, say something! You know you don’t support this!”

“Relax it’s a party! Have fun…lighten up. People won’t like you if you can’t take a joke.”

“Speak up, you coward! You can’t talk about valuing diversity all day at work and then stereotype people for entertainment at night. Be true to yourself.”

In those long seconds while I twitched and struggled with what to do, the disk jockey, who was sitting with us on a break, simply said, “Whoa! I’m not going there. I think I'd rather get something to drink.” He got up and walked across the room. I hopped up and followed him: “Great idea.”

I’ll never forget what happened next. Others in the group joined us at the bar, leaving only two people to hear the joke’s punch line. I was amazed. Few of us wanted to hear the joke, but we went along anyway. It took just one voice – one person casually speaking up against disrespect – to shift the entire conversation."


1 comment:

Dennis Ritchie said...

I read a study about how significantly one person can affect a group and started experimenting. It's amazing how little it takes to change a room for the better. I started by learning the names of the barristas at Starbucks. The service got better. I looked cashiers and baggers in the eye and asked how they were doing and started having fun in lines. Now it's a habit. In small ways I can change the day for someone. Great post!