Peak performance

Children crying from hunger; a death-bed relative seeking consolation; an anxiety-ridden father of four calculating his final unemployment check; a homeless family seeking direction and encouragement; an abused wife hiding the swollen eye in shame – do I have your attention yet?

Hopefully so; the list could go on and on.

The solutions, very complex and multi-faceted economic, psychological, sociological and spiritual ones at best. Maybe a simplistic beginning lies in our resolve and determination to make a difference. A journey begins with one step. As Mother Teresa said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”

To paraphrase an astounding statement from Robert Kennedy, “Some people see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say why not.” Indeed, why not? Why not reach out as an individual, a family, an organization or a community to change lives for the better?

Ideas are almost infinite. Tutor an adult struggling to read at a second grade level; sponsor a poverty-stricken child for less than many spend per month on junk food snacks; contribute as a workplace to needy families at Christmas; visit a friend struggling for health in the hospital; take that elderly relative for ice cream and conversation. Yes, I could go on and on.

Notice each of these ideas expressed begin with a verb – an action word.

Hats off to a daughter of a close friend of mine who is busy in Africa saving the lives of children or a couple who are friends that are exceptionally devoted to reducing the misery in Haiti. A salute to the military who have defended their country – I know, having had a son serve in Iraq. And, indeed, accolades to the many caring people who are making a difference transforming lives in the United States as well.

The result is lives saved, lives developed, lives improved. And those people and organizations who act and make that difference are also much better for their reaching out. We get closer to reaching God, given potential and attaining peak performance, when we provoke life-enhancing change. Don’t just ponder world issues, ACT. To quote Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Machamer is a human resources professional and college instructor who is working on authoring a book.