“All I was doing was trying to get home from work.”
– Rosa Parks.
At that moment, the fuse was lit.
To light a fire, you must apply energy to increase heat through friction or a spark. Energy is needed to release more energy. In physics we know that for a body to move or change its course, a force is needed to act on it. We also understand that at a cellular level an input is required to release stored energy and create activity. This shift of kinetic energy releases the potential within all of us and can not occur without a spark.
“The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
– Rosa Parks
One day in 1955, in Montgomery Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to be told what she should do, and chose not to give up her seat to a white man. She was on her way home from a long day at work, remained seated when directed otherwise, and was subsequently put into custody. This was not the origin of the movement by African Americans in the US to gain their entitled civil rights, but it was the event that energized the right people to act.
Notably, one of those “right” people was the Reverend, Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.. His involvement led to the year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott, ending when the U.S. Supreme Court determined bus segregation unconstitutional. In turn, those events gave rise to continued non-violent protests, culminating with Harry S. Truman instituting the Civil Rights act of 1957. For years following the legislation, the ripple continued, and the waves got bigger, inspired from the acts of civil disobedience by Mahatma Gandhi, which continued through sit-ins, the famous Freedom Rides, and the historic March on Washington in 1963.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
What we do is important, and what we dream has profound implications.
Big dreams = big impact.
All it takes is the right input at the right time. Energized people, leaders and entrepreneurs spark innovation, creation, and invention. They also inspire others to build upon their energy, expanding on and improving those dreams.
In my first book, “Philanthropy; An Inspired Process” published in 2010, I looked at how in 1984, Bob Geldof was watching a news report on the BBC with his one-year-old daughter, FifiTrixibelle, as a biblical sized famine in Ethiopia played out on the screen with thousands of helpless children starving to death. Over a million people would eventually succumb, but Geldof was inspired to reach out to others, like Midge Ure of the band, Ultravox, and form a group called Band Aid as a relief effort to create an album and raise money to help. The song they created “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, became the biggest selling charity single ever. Building on that momentum, Geldof organized Live Aid, the largest rock concert ever, outside of Woodstock, held on two continents raising over 150 million British pounds. The concert and funds raised were estimated to have contributed to saving millions of lives. Geldof received a knighthood in 2005 for his actions and impact.
Once lit, all fires continue to grow if given enough fuel. They extend rapidly and as far as they are nurtured. The result of this chain reaction transcends time and space, and the effects reverberate through generations. Thus, impact is interstellar.