Every cause has its effect , and often we fail to see just how far the reach of the ripples of our actions go.
I had started going to my neighborhood bar with a book in hand. I was going through a difficult time and I needed to decompress. It felt a little strange the first time, but once I started turning pages and throwing back a beer, reading at the bar was incredibly relaxing.
Most people have trouble reading around music and people talking, but not me. Growing up in a small house with six other people, and you learn to be able to read through anything.
You didn’t need silence because there was no such thing. I hadn’t experienced the silence until I was a man, and by then it only deafened me. (Bane? Anyone?)
Anyways, I started doing it more often, perhaps as an excuse to down a brew or two, or three, and my habit started getting noticed.
Hey, what are you reading? That was the most common question I received from those who knew me from that bar or even from strangers. I’d give my answer and conversation would snowball into an avalanche, some of the time.
The result of that was that I was often torn away from my book, which could be frustrating, but I had many interesting conversations, shared great laughs, and made a couple friends at the end of it all.
The first ripples are easy to observe, being a sort of immediate feedback, but the later ones, being more subtle, you don’t see until much later.
I still sometimes post up on a bench in the patio of that bar and have myself a read and a drink. Sometimes I’ll read books on my phone now because it attracts less attention then the kind with pages and spines.
So there I was, deep into Starship Troopers, when a large figure planted itself on the bench next to me. I broke the connection of my gaze to my book and directed it to the person beside me, trying to act unphased .
It was a regular of the bar I knew and soon I was joined at my table by him, his girlfriend and another regular whom I often see there. In her hand she held a book, Your Erroneous Zones, by Dr. Wayne Dyer.
I knew then that I had inspired her to give reading a go. She would be one of those who would ask me what I was reading and I guess she saw something in what I was doing that she wanted for herself.
Another time I rode my bike to a friends apartment and I seemed to shock all whom were there. You rode your bike here? People looked at me as if I were crazy; I might as well have rode a horse to the get- together.
I told my peers I enjoyed riding my bike and that I didn’t have much of a choice at the time, being that I lacked motor transportation. And it was true, I did enjoy the wind rushing past me, the pump of my heart and the burn in my legs. I felt myself grow stronger over the months of relying on only my bike as a form of transportation.
Later that same night, one of our merry band left the party only to return on bicycle. Already I was seeming the ripples of effect I was having on my peers and a few days later, my friend who had invited me over to his apartment was riding a bike around. We even started riding places together just to hang out and do something active as friends should.
You may not notice very often but other people are watching what you do and your actions can have an influence on how that person decides to act. As a parent you are probably aware of this phenomenon and watch yourself because you know your kids are watching you.
We should all be aware of what we are doing and how our actions affect others. The stories above are examples of positive ripples of effect. Remember that its not just your positive actions that influence your peers and often it’s the negative actions that have a deeper impact on our fellow human beings.