How You Can Change the World in 5 Minutes a Day

time for change
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

What are you most outraged about at the moment? Gun violence? The prospect of women losing their reproductive freedom? The climate crisis? The attacks on transgendered persons? The erosion of church-state separation? The inability of our lawmakers to solve any of the problems confronting us today? Whatever your choice, I'm sure it is a good one.

The question I'd like you to consider is what you are doing about it on a daily basis. If you are like most of us, the answer is "not much." You may do all kinds of things to bring about change, but you aren't doing them every single day. I know I'm not.

What Can We Do?

My suggestion is a simple one. Suppose we were each to carve out 5 minutes a day to devote to our top priority. Each of us selects the thing we'd most like to see change. We then devote 5 minutes a day to working on it.

That would be a great start! And what if we weren't the only ones doing this? What if it caught on and more people joined us?

But what can one person do in 5 minutes? That's an excellent question, so here are some quick thoughts:

  • Write something to raise awareness about the importance of our cause
  • Use social media to share our thoughts and amplify those of others
  • Call the offices of our local, state, and federal lawmakers (or send emails or letters)
  • Learn more about our cause and how we can help
  • Connect with others who share our top priority and develop relationships
  • Express our gratitude to those who are doing more than we can

I could keep going, but you get the idea. There is a great deal we could do in 5 minutes a day. We could do the same thing every day, or we could pick and choose from a long list of options. The point is that we'd be doing something every day.

Demanding Change

Put yourself in the shoes of whoever represents you in Congress. Can you imagine hearing from the same constituent every single day about the same issue? It would be annoying, wouldn't it? Now imagine that it wasn't one person but 5, then 10, then 20. At some point, it would become harder to dismiss. At the least, you'd know that some of your constituents were paying attention.

I suspect that many lawmakers refuse to act because we continue to make that an option. What if we decided not to do so? Suppose we'd had enough. What if we decided that it was time to apply some real pressure?

We have been waiting a long time for Congress to fix itself. It hasn't happened yet, and the clock is running. Whatever issue you selected as your choice, we don't have forever. Congress is not going to change itself without considerable and sustained pressure. If we want change, we have to remove all other options. We have to make it clear that change is the only way anyone earns a second term.

Changing Ourselves

It is easy to blame our lawmakers for their inaction or to point to the flaws in the system. They are corrupt. They take legal bribes. We need term limits or campaign finance reform. They don't care. I don't disagree with any of that. But I'm not ready to absolve us of responsibility. We are too apathetic and distractible. These are the hurdles we must overcome.

Want to reduce the number of mass shootings? Overcome your apathy by investing 5 minutes a day to take action. That's the easy part. If we care as much about the issue as we say we do, we can do this.

The hard part will be to maintain our focus over time. We may get bored. Another outrage will come along, and this will make it hard to stick with our first priority. This is the challenge. If my issue is gun violence, I have to stick with that as long as it is necessary. I have to continue even if we find ourselves in the unusual situation of not having a mass shooting for a few days.

Can we do this? Yes, we can. If we decide that we are sick of the status quo and willing to do something to change it, we can change it. What can you do in 5 minutes a day? You can do a hell of a lot more than thoughts and prayers ever accomplished!