It is better to light just one little candle
than to stumble in the dark.
In the books I’ve read, the audio books I’ve listened to and the trainings I’ve attended, one of the common teachings is to (1) take responsibility for my life and (2) to take action.
Responsibility is the acknowledgement that we can choose our response – we are “response-able”. Sure, we can respond by blaming, by picking out what is wrong, by pointing a finger and saying what “other people should do”.
But what is it that I CAN do about the situation? How will I respond to the situation? By choosing our response, we choose our action and we choose our destiny.
When we take action, we become less of a witness and take a more deliberate role in the situation. We take action and we create the destiny that we want.
I have a few shares to illustrate how action can be extremely empowering.
A small piece of paper to fix fear
Last week, I was in an elevator in our building along with 4 other employees. As the elevator was making its way, we heard a flapping sound, as if a metal panel cover wasn’t securely fastened. A few employees voiced out their fear that the elevator might conk out, but I was sure the reason for the flapping sound did not affect the elevator’s level of safety. The worst effect of the sound was the people’s perception of that the elevator was un-safe.
I could have ignored things. But the next day, there were two other instances where I heard the concerns of other employees – a perception of the elevator being un-safe.
I reported the situation to a maintenance personnel. He said they’ll look into it. Four hours later, I was in the same elevator, I heard the same sound, and I sensed the same fear among a few other passengers.
What else CAN I do? Here is the action I took. I got an old receipt from my wallet and folded it a few times. I reached up for the metal panel and slipped the piece of paper in the gap. It was just like putting a piece of paper under the foot of a wobbling table.
The noise stopped, the fear stopped. I took action on something that I CAN do. Action is empowering.
No ID, No Entry. No Action, No result.
Last week at Cory’s funeral mass, I was given the task of holding the gates of one entrance. It was a huge task considering the sheer number of *good* people who really just wanted to have a glimpse of Tita Cory and be one in the mass. But not everyone can be accommodated. There were limited seats, limited space and tickets were issued to control the number of people who would come in.
For instance, tickets were issued to Cory’s relatives. I saw how very respectful Cory’s family was. When asked for a ticket, they would patiently retrieve their tickets (one even had to go back to his car), present their tickets and graciously enter without taking issue of being asked for a ticket. They did not barge through the entrance just because they were family. They were respectful. Mapag-kumbaba. Taas kamay ako sa inyo!
On the other hand, some people would approach the entrance and insist on entering without a ticket saying that they know somebody, or that they are part of Mayor Cruz’s group or a hundred other reasons why they deserve to be inside even without a ticket. You know how it goes.
I told a couple of fellow-volunteers from the secretariat that it would be extremely helpful if we had a signage saying: “Pls. present your ticket. No ticket, no entry.” After half an hour, I still did not have a signage. I understood, everybody else was busy helping out.
I asked myself, “What CAN I do”? I walked over to the press room, found myself a piece of white cardboard (cover of a box) to make a sign. I searched for a thick marker to write the message. Not finding one, I settled for a ballpen.
One lady who I stopped at the gate (she didn’t have a ticket) was watching me. As I was writing with a ballpen “Pls present your tickets”, she tapped my shoulder and offered her thick marker. Thank you! In a few minutes, we had the sign up “Pls present your ticket.” Thank you, kaibigan.
I took action, I got results!
What CAN WE do for our country?
The stories I shared are but small ways that I help improve the situation. And the mindset behind it is one of acknowledging our response-ability. It is a mindset of discerning what I CAN do to improve the situation.
Sure, I can’t command a battalion or arrest a criminal. I can’t create executive orders or pass laws (not yet! :-) ). But there are things that I CAN do to help our country. Like the hundreds of volunteers at Cory’s wake and funeral. Hundreds of volunteers came to LSGH and to lend a hand in a time when a family and a country was mourning the death of a great leader and mother. It was overwhelming to be part of such unconditional outpouring of love. Love for Tita Cory, love for our country.
No matter how big or small, when we each help out and do our share, it adds up to something great. And our great country, the Philippines, will even be greater!
Let’s ask ourselves, “What CAN I do for our beloved country?”
And the Philippines shall be greater still!
Yes can do!