I moved into this neighborhood a year ago. When I first moved in, I noticed someone had slapped a sticker on the city welcome sign.
Over the last year, driving in, I would see it was still there. Day after day, I wondered, “When is someone going to fix it?”
It’s easy to react and say, “Who’s responsible for this?” Looking for blame is easy, fixing things is much more difficult.
But why would it take someone so long to act? Surely, I wasn’t the only one who noticed the problem. That is because the clock compromises our values. The “busier” we are the less likely we are to intervene. And so we tell ourselves:
“This is someone else’s problem.”
Well, it turns out each of us is someone. We have more power than we like to imagine. The power to make a difference, to act, to make things better.
Pulling over, getting out of the car is an inconvenience. That is friction. When something is out of our way, we are less likely to do something about it. It’s easy to pick up a piece of trash that is right in front of us. Much more difficult when we have to walk across the street.
Problems are everywhere waiting to be solved. We don’t remember what kind of person we are trying to be unless we are reminded. Once I passed the sign, I would remember someone needs to do something about that sticker. And by the time I rounded the corner, I forgot all about it. Indeed, when something is out of sight it is out of mind.
Lot of lessons to pull here. But the key take away is this:
How long do we wait before we are going to clean up this mess?