Nothing is ever nothing. We all make an imprint on our world—on the big world, not just our own small world—every minute of every day—good or bad. Every time we have even a moment’s contact with another person we affect them in some way. Like a tiny pebble dropped in a calm pool or a raindrop splashing in a puddle, the ripples spread out and eventually affect the energy of the water all across the pond or puddle. But of course you know that.
When you smile at the person who hands you your morning coffee; when you say thank you to the person who takes your money for the morning paper; when you answer phone to someone who has dialed a wrong number and respond pleasantly; when you walk your dog at night and smile at a passerby—every small contact affects them for good or bad. But of course you know that.
Nothing is ever nothing. All day long you make life either better or worse for other people in some small way. If you work on an assembly line, how well you do your job affects the ability of the people down the line to do their job efficiently. It affects the safety of the people who ultimately use the product you are producing. When you buy your sandwich for lunch, you contribute to the income of the person serving you, the person who prepared the food, the person who delivered the ingredients to the restaurant, the person who picked the tomato or made the bread, and the person who built the equipment that plowed the field where the wheat was grown. Of course you know that.
We are all part of the miraculous web of life. Just like a spider’s web on a dewy morning, if you touch one silken thread the whole web quivers. But of course you know that. We all know that.
People you don’t know and have never heard of or met and never will are affected by your attitude and your action. Nothing is ever nothing.
Would you behave differently if you knew the person you smiled at and thanked was considering suicide and you, by that small action, stopped them? Or that a mother would go home and treat their child better because they had been affected by the respect and kindness you showed them? A smile is important. A thank you could make the difference between life and death. But of course you know that.
If you lived your life in full awareness that every action you take, no matter how tiny, could affect untold numbers of people as the ripples spread across the world—how would that change your choices and behaviour? What if you remembered that nothing if ever nothing? Because of course you know that. We all do.